Jeffrey Duncan Jones
September 28, 1946
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Lawrence University|
|Notable work||Amadeus, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Beetlejuice, Howard the Duck, The Crucible, Deadwood, Stuart Little|
Jeffrey Duncan Jones (born September 28, 1946) is an American character actor, best known for his roles as Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus (1984), Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice (1988), Dr. Skip Tyler in The Hunt for Red October (1990), Eddie Barzoon in The Devil's Advocate (1997), and A. W. Merrick in both Deadwood (2004–2006) and Deadwood: The Movie (2019). His career started in Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and advanced to London and Broadway. In film and television, Jones has had many roles which capitalized on his deadpan portrayal of characters in unusual situations, often to comic effect. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance in Amadeus and a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble cast of Deadwood.
In 2003, Jones pleaded no contest to a charge of soliciting a minor to pose for nude photographs and had subsequent arrests for failing to update his sex offender status.
Jones was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Ruth (née Schooley) and Douglas Bennett Jones. His mother was an art historian, who urged him towards a career in acting. His father died when Jones was an infant.
After graduating from The Putney School in 1964, Jones enrolled in Lawrence University as a premed student, where his performances in university productions brought him to the attention of Tyrone Guthrie, who recruited him for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He then went to London in 1969 to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, followed by a three-year stint with the Stratford Theatre in Stratford, Ontario.
His stage career included more than 125 productions, starting with the Guthrie Theater, then internationally in South America, Canada, and London, and in New York Off-Broadway in Cloud 9 and Henry V, among other productions, as well as on Broadway in productions including Trelawny of the 'Wells' and The Elephant Man. His transition from stage to film began in 1970.
Film and television career
Jones began acting in small parts in film and television in the 1970s. In his best-known roles as Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus, Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice, and Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, his dead-pan expression and distinctive face bring a comic flavor to his characters through their reactions to the situations in which they find themselves, more so than the wit in their scripted lines. The New York Times' biographic profile says of Jones, "Although he has tried to steer clear of playing only sinister roles, the actor's imposing height, bugged-out eyes, easy sneer, and shock of reddish-blond hair give him vaguely devilish features that have prompted villain typecasting. However, the actor is also widely respected and considered a boon wherever he appears." The profile describes his portrayals variously as a "hissable, cartoonish high school principal" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a "good-natured father" in Beetlejuice, "an interplanetary freedom fighter" in Mom and Dad Save the World, a "demon stand-in" in Stay Tuned, and "evil bespectacled twins" in Out on a Limb.
Jones' work in the Lucille Lortel Theatre production of Cloud 9 was noticed by the casting team of Easy Money (1983), earning Jones a supporting role opposite Rodney Dangerfield.
Cloud 9 further attracted the attention of director Miloš Forman, who cast Jones as Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor in Amadeus (1984), an adaptation of the Peter Shaffer play of the same name. Critic James Berardinelli noted that Jones portrayed the Emperor "as a superficial and self-absorbed ruler who can't tell the difference between a great opera and a mediocre one". Vincent Canby of The New York Times praised Jones's performance, citing the film's most memorable line, when the Emperor complains of Die Entführung aus dem Serail that "there are too many notes". Jones' work earned him a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Jones' performance as Edward R. Rooney in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) made him a cultural icon. Rooney, self-important and obsessed with catching the chronic truant Ferris Bueller, became a symbol of pomposity and authoritarian hatefulness. The New York Times' review characterized Jones' performance as having "fine cartoon like ferocity", wherein his character "gets scratched, bitten, attacked by ferocious dogs and covered with mud while pursuing his weaker, but craftier prey, and emerges each time bruised but undaunted, thinking up some new (and futile) plan." The review likened Jones' role as akin to that of Wile E. Coyote as a character who is fated to be unable to catch The Road Runner (Ferris Bueller). Jones expressed concern about being remembered more for this role than for Amadeus. He further said, regarding the film's premise, "What's amazing about Ferris Bueller, is that we're asked to, and do, sympathise with a kid whose only complaint in life is that his sister got a car for her birthday and he got a computer."
Beetlejuice and Tim Burton
In the horror comedy film Beetlejuice (1988), Jones and Catherine O'Hara portrayed a married couple (Charles and Delia Deetz) who unwittingly become co-owners of a haunted house. To highlight this couple's status as boors, director Tim Burton cast Dick Cavett and Robert Goulet to appear as their guests at a dinner party, at which the ghosts of the previous owners cause everyone to sing "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)".
Jones collaborated with Burton again on the films Ed Wood (1994), in which he portrays The Amazing Criswell, and Sleepy Hollow (1999). Shortly prior to the release of Sleepy Hollow, Jones said of Burton, "I've known Tim now for quite some time and really enjoy working with him. I like his sensibility, and he's great fun."
Jones played Dr. Walter Jenning in the George Lucas film Howard the Duck (1986). He portrayed Inspector Lestrade in the Sherlock Holmes spoof film Without a Clue (1988). In The Hunt for Red October (1990), he played ex-submarine commander Skip Tyler, who identifies the Red October's propulsion system to Alec Baldwin's Jack Ryan. He also appeared as real-life figure Thomas Putnam in The Crucible (1996). He also played Uncle Crenshaw Little in Stuart Little (1999). As lumber mogul Joe Potter, Jones was the primary antagonist of the Eddie Murphy comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001).
One of Jones' earliest television roles was in an episode of the short-lived CBS series Sara (1976). He showcased his villain persona as the sinister Mister Acme (owner of Acme Toxic Waste) in the satirical comedy miniseries Fresno (1986), starring Carol Burnett, Charles Grodin and Dabney Coleman. For Disney, Jones hosted the 1987 D-TV Monster Hits musical special (as the Magic Mirror) and later co-starred with Tyra Banks, Kathy Najimy and Kevin Pollak in the video storyline portion of the Walt Disney World attraction ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, a staple of Tomorrowland from 1995 to 2003. He has had guest roles on a number of television series, including Amazing Stories, Tales from the Crypt and Batman: The Animated Series. He was the star of another short-lived CBS program: sitcom The People Next Door (1989), portraying a cartoonist whose imagination could make things come to life.
Jones' most prominent television role is that of newspaper publisher A. W. Merrick on the acclaimed HBO drama series Deadwood (2004–2006). Keith Uhlich of Slant Magazine referred to both Jones and the character of Merrick as "perversely appropriate additions" to the program, further citing Merrick as its "secular soul". Along with the ensemble cast, Jones was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Subsequent to his legal troubles, Jones has become progressively less active as a performer. Following his appearance in the golf comedy Who's Your Caddy? (2007), he was absent from film and television for several years. He returned with an uncredited cameo as Collier's editor Charles Colebaugh in the Emmy-nominated HBO original film Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012), followed by the supporting role of scientist Gladstone in the independent disaster film 10.0 Earthquake (2014). Jones went on to play a fictional version of himself in the short film 7 Days (2016) and reprised the role of A. W. Merrick in Deadwood: The Movie.
In May 2015, Jones returned to the stage with the New American Theatre production of 63 Trillion, directed by Steve Zuckerman. The Los Angeles Times praised his portrayal of financial adviser Dick as having "malevolent gusto that Satan himself might envy." Beginning in March 2018, Jones portrayed ailing patriarch Bradley in a production of the A. R. Gurney play The Cocktail Hour, staged at the Annenberg Theater in the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Jones has one son, actor Julian Coutts, whose mother was Lloy Coutts (1941–2008), a Canadian voice coach. She and Jones met in Stratford, Ontario.
One interviewer found Jones to value anonymity and the enjoyment of everyday tasks, like home repairs, and found him to be uninterested in status symbols and fan adulation. In that 1989 interview, Jones pointed out that greater public recognition actually makes it more difficult to transition between roles and allow the character to come to the fore and the actor to recede from view.[dead link]
On October 13, 2020, Jones spoke virtually with Suzanna Bowling of the Times Square Chronicles, in an interview for The Lambs. Topics of discussion included Jones' path to acting and early theater career, as well as projects including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Beetlejuice, Howard the Duck and Deadwood.
In 2002, Jones was arrested for possession of child pornography and accused by a 17-year-old boy of solicitation to pose for nude photographs. He pleaded no contest to a charge of soliciting a minor, as the accuser was 14 when the offense first occurred. At the same time, the misdemeanor charge of possession of child pornography was dropped. His attorney emphasized that there was no allegation of improper physical contact. His punishment was five years' probation, counseling, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. As of 2023, Jones was listed on the U.S. Department of Justice national sex offender database.
Jones was arrested twice for failing to update his sex offender status, first in Florida in 2004, and then six years later in California. In 2006, Jones' record became the subject of community complaint during production of Who's Your Caddy? in Aiken, South Carolina. Upon learning of his involvement, locals insisted that the public should have been alerted, considering that families were being invited to visit the set. Surrounding the release of Deadwood: The Movie, Jones' crime was noted by the media.
|1970||The Revolutionary||Red-Haired Radical Committee Member||Credited as Jeff Jones|
|1982||The Soldier||U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense|
|1983||Easy Money||Clive Barlow|
|1984||Amadeus||Emperor Joseph II|
|1985||Transylvania 6-5000||Mayor Lepescu|
|1986||Ferris Bueller's Day Off||Dean Ed Rooney|
|Howard the Duck||Dr. Walter Jenning / The Dark Overlord of the Universe|
|1987||The Hanoi Hilton||Major Fischer|
|Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues||Buffalo Bill|
|Without a Clue||Inspector George Lestrade|
|1989||Who's Harry Crumb?||Elliot Draison|
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Dr. Skip Tyler|
|1992||Out on a Limb||Matt Skearns / Peter Van Der Haven|
|Mom and Dad Save the World||Dick Nelson|
|1993||Heaven & Earth||Minister||Uncredited|
|1994||Ed Wood||The Amazing Criswell|
|1996||The Crucible||Thomas Putnam|
|1997||The Devil's Advocate||Eddie Barzoon|
|The Pest||Gustav Shank|
|Santa Fe||Dr. Raskin||Uncredited|
|1999||Stuart Little||Uncle Crenshaw Little|
|Sleepy Hollow||Reverend Steenwyck|
|2000||Company Man||Senator Biggs|
|Dr. Dolittle 2||Joe Potter|
|How High||Vice President|
|2002||Par 6||Lloyd Bator Jenkins|
|2007||Who's Your Caddy?||Cummings|
|2014||10.0 Earthquake||Marcus Gladstone|
|1976||The Adams Chronicles||Miniseries|
|Sara||Episode: "Sod House Woman"|
|1977||Great Performances||Sergeant Wilson||Episode: "Secret Service"|
|Kojak||Attendant||Episode: "Lady in the Squadroom"|
|1978||Interrogation in Budapest||TV film|
|1983||A Fine Romance||Harr||TV film|
|Remington Steele||Clifford Conant||Episode: "A Steele at Any Price"|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Carl Wilkerson||Episode: "Opening Day"|
|1986||If Tomorrow Comes||Budge Hollander||Miniseries; 1 episode|
|George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation||Thomas Jefferson||TV film|
|Fresno||Mr. Acme||Miniseries; 2 episodes|
|Amazing Stories||John Baldwin||Episode: "The Eternal Mind"|
|1987||Disney's DTV Monster Hits||Magic Mirror||TV special|
|1989||The People Next Door||Walter Kellogg||10 episodes|
|1993||Tales from the Crypt||Professor Finley||Episode: "Creep Course"|
|1994||Duckman||The Warden||Voice, episode: "I, Duckman"|
|Eek! The Cat||Sloth||Voice, episode: "Honey, I Shrunk the Cat/Chariots of Fur"|
|1995||Batman: The Animated Series||Nivens||Voice, episode: "A Bullet for Bullock"|
|Aaahh!!! Real Monsters||Nurse, Man In White||Voice, episode: "Monsters Are Real/This Is Your Brain on Ickis"|
|The Avenging Angel||Brother Milton Long||TV film|
|1998||The Outer Limits||Dr. Scott Perkins||Episode: "The Joining"|
|2001||Till Dad Do Us Part||Brady||TV film|
|2001–2006||Invader Zim||Various Voices||4 episodes|
|2002||The Zeta Project||Detective Marcus||Voice, episode: "The Wrong Morph"|
|Justice League||Sir Swami||Voice, episode: "Legends"|
|2003||Stuart Little||Uncle Crenshaw Little||Voice, 2 episodes|
|2004–2006||Deadwood||A.W. Merrick||33 episodes|
|2012||Hemingway & Gellhorn||Charles Colebaugh||TV film; uncredited|
|2019||Deadwood: The Movie||A.W. Merrick||TV film|
|1995||Bombmeister||The Bombmeister||Interactive movie (unreleased)|
|ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter||L.C. Clench||Theme park attraction|
|1998||Fallout 2||Dick Richardson||Video game|
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- ^ "13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®: Nominations". SAGAwards.com. Screen Actors Guild. Archived from the original on October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "Jeffrey Jones Biography". FilmReference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
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- ^ a b c d e Shindler, Merrill (September 1989). "Keeping Up with the Jones". Los Angeles. pp. 189–192. ISSN 1522-9149. Archived from the original on August 2, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ a b Bowman, Alex G. "Jeffrey Jones: Biography". IMDb.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
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- ^ "Jeffrey Jones" on the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- ^ "Jeffrey Jones" on the Internet Broadway Database
- ^ "Cloud 9". Lortel.org. Lortel Archives. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- ^ Coozer, Adam. "Jeffrey Jones". ReadJunk.com. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- ^ Champlin, Charles (January 10, 1985). "Jeffrey Jones Rising On A Musical Note". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Berardinelli, James (2003). "Amadeus". Reelviews. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Canby, Vincent (September 19, 1984). "'Amadeus,' Directed by Forman". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "Winners & Nominees 1985". GoldenGlobes.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Marikar, Sheila (July 2, 2010). "The Cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Where Are They Now?". ABC News. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Darnton, Nina (June 11, 1986). "Screen: A Youth's Day Off". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
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- ^ Uhlich, Keith (June 6, 2006). "Deadweek: The Wordsmith's Credo—A Portrait of A.W. Merrick". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "The 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". SAGAwards.org. SAG-AFTRA. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "'Ferris Bueller' actor faces felony charge". Today. Associated Press. June 30, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Bowman, Donna (May 8, 2012). "Hemingway & Gellhorn". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- ^ Kroll, Justin (April 1, 2014). "Henry Ian Cusick and Jeffrey Jones to Star in '10.0 The Big One'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 21, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2019 – via henryiancusick.com.
- ^ "7 Days (2016)". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
- ^ Schager, Nick (May 31, 2019). "HBO's 'Deadwood: The Movie' Is the Perfect End to Television's Best Show". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- ^ Gray, Margaret (May 14, 2015). "A one-note aria of the financial world in '63 Trillion'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Hume, Valerie-Jean (VJ) (March 24, 2018). "Not Quite Ready for Drinks: Due to an Illness, Coyote StageWorks' 'The Cocktail Hour' Opened Before It Should Have". CV Independent. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Liebross, Audrey (March 26, 2018). "BWW Review: A Qualified Yes to THE COCKTAIL HOUR". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ TóCsa (May 16, 2016). "Így néznek ki most az idén harmincéves Meglógtam a Ferrarival sztárjai" [This is what this year's thirty-year-old Hangover Ferrari stars look like now]. NLCafe (in Hungarian). Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "Who is Julian Coutts?". Omnilexica.com. Archived from the original on October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "Lloy Coutts". Toronto Globe and Mail. Deaths. July 5, 2008. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "Lloy Jones (Coutts)". Geni.com. Geni.com. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
- ^ "Virtual Conversation: Jeffrey Jones". The Lambs. October 14, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
- ^ Susman, Gary (November 1, 2002). "Actor Jeffrey Jones is busted on child porn charges". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ "Actor Hit With Teen Sex Suit". TheSmokingGun.com. The Smoking Gun. June 12, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- ^ WENN (July 9, 2003). "Jeffrey Jones Pleads No Contest To Porn Charges". ContactMusic.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
Jones, 56, says, "This concludes a really painful chapter in my life. I'm sorry that this incident was allowed to occur. Such an event has never happened before and it will never happen again."
- ^ "Jeffrey Duncan Jones". Search Conditions - The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website. Archived from the original on April 19, 2021. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
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- ^ Cho, Diane (October 23, 2006). "Cast of movie filming in Aiken includes registered sex offender". WRDW.com. WRDW-TV. Retrieved October 10, 2018.[permanent dead link][permanent dead link]
- ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (May 31, 2019). "Deadwood: The Movie is a fitting capstone to one of TV's greatest shows". Vox. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- ^ Silver, Stephen (May 16, 2019). "Jeffrey Jones, 'Ferris Bueller' Actor And Convicted Sex Offender, Has Part In New 'Deadwood' Movie". Inquisitr. Archived from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- ^ "Jeffrey Jones biography". Tribute. Tribute Entertainment Media Group. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- ^ Wilson, F. Paul (March 31, 2009). Aftershock & Others: 16 Oddities. Tom Doherty Associates. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-4299-6817-1. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
- 1946 births
- Living people
- 20th-century American male actors
- 21st-century American male actors
- Alumni of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
- American expatriates in England
- American male film actors
- American male television actors
- American male voice actors
- Lawrence University alumni
- Male actors from Buffalo, New York
- Male actors from Los Angeles
- The Putney School alumni