Orlando Jones

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Orlando Jones
Orlando Jones cropped.jpg
Jones in 2010
Born (1968-04-10) April 10, 1968 (age 53)
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
Mediumcharacter actor, sketch comedy
Years active1987–present
Genresfilm, television, stand-up
Jacqueline Staph
(m. 2009; div. 2021)

Orlando Jones (born April 10, 1968) is an American actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for being one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy series MADtv, for his role as the 7 Up spokesman from 1999 to 2002, and for his role as the African god Anansi on Starz's American Gods.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Mobile, Alabama, on April 10, 1968. His father was a professional baseball player in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.[1] He moved to Mauldin, South Carolina, when he was a teen and graduated from Mauldin High School in 1985. One of his early acting experiences involved playing a werewolf in a haunted house to help raise money for the junior/senior prom. Jones enrolled in the College of Charleston, South Carolina. He left in 1990 without finishing his degree.

To pursue his interest in the entertainment industry, Jones, together with comedian Michael Fechter, formed a production company, Homeboy's Productions and Advertising. Together Jones and Fechter worked on several projects including a McDonald's commercial with basketball superstar Michael Jordan for the McDonald's specialty sandwich the "McJordan".

He scored his first Hollywood job in 1987, writing for the NBC comedy A Different World, on which he had a small guest role in the season five finale. During 1991-92, Jones penned the Fox series Roc and, in 1993, he co-produced The Sinbad Show. He also made a brief appearance on the FOX sitcom Herman's Head in 1992.



After hosting Fox's music series Sound FX, in 1994, Jones became one of the original nine cast members of MADtv. Unlike some of his fellow original repertory performers on MADtv, Jones came to the show with limited sketch comedy experience.

Throughout the first two seasons of MADtv, Jones produced characters like the Cabana Chat band leader Dexter St. Croix and Reverend LaMont Nixon Fatback, the vocal follower of Christopher Walken. He was also noted for his impressions of Thomas Mikal Ford, Temuera Morrison, Warwick Davis, Danny DeVito, Michael Jai White, Eddie Griffin, and Ice Cube.

After two seasons on MADtv, Jones left the show to pursue a movie career. However, Jones returned to MADtv in 2004 to celebrate its 200th episode.

Other television projects[edit]

Aside from MADtv, Jones made many other television appearances. Perhaps his most popular and enduring television appearance was in a series of humorous commercials as the spokesperson for 7 Up where he gained wide recognition. Notably, one commercial had him wear a t-shirt that had 7 Up's then-slogan Make 7 Up Yours divided between the front and back with the double entendre on the back that featured the Up Yours part; 7 Up would sell the shirt through specialty retailer Spencer Gifts for many years.[2]

This exposure led to a plethora of opportunities for Jones. First, he hosted an HBO First Look special in 2000 and then, in 2003, was given his own late night talk show on FX called The Orlando Jones Show. Although his talk show was short lived, Jones continued to make additional television appearances. In 2003, he appeared on The Bernie Mac Show and on Girlfriends. In 2006, Jones decided to return to television as one of the lead characters of ABC's crime drama The Evidence, as Cayman Bishop. He has also appeared in two episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, the first in 2007 as Chris's substitute teacher and the second in 2008 as Clint Huckstable, an allusion to the character Cliff Huxtable played by Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show.

In 2018, he appeared as Harold Wilcox, a violent veteran with PTSD, on New Amsterdam. In the first season of the show, Jones also starred on Wild 'N Out. Jones was the first guest star on the show. Jones was the co-host of ABC's Crash Course (which was canceled after 4 episodes). On November 16, 2009, it was announced on TV Guide that Jones had been cast as Marcus Foreman, Eric Foreman's brother on House,[3] appearing in the season six episode "Moving the Chains". In 2013, he was hired as a principal actor in the FOX television series Sleepy Hollow. The freshman drama opened to FOX's highest fall drama premiere numbers since the premiere of '24' in 2001.

From 2016 through 2019, Jones portrayed Mr. Nancy, aka the African god Anansi, in the Starz series American Gods.[4]

Film projects[edit]

After leaving MADtv, Jones expanded his cinema résumé. He appeared in a bit part in his first big screen film, In Harm's Way (1991), then joined Larry David in the feature Sour Grapes (1998), playing the character of an itinerant man. Subsequently, he appeared in Woo (1998), Mike Judge's Office Space (1999), alongside fellow MADtv alumnus David Herman, and in Barry Levinson's praised drama, Liberty Heights (1999). Since then, Jones has appeared in Magnolia (1999), New Jersey Turnpikes (1999) and in Harold Ramis' Bedazzled (2000).

During the 2000s, Jones' career began to branch out. In addition to his witty appearances in the 7-Up campaigns, Jones played the role of Clifford Franklin in The Replacements (2000) and the horror film From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2003). In 2002, Jones landed the lead role of Daryl Chase in the action-dramedy Double Take (2001), alongside Eddie Griffin, and worked with David Duchovny, Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore in Ivan Reitman's sci-fi comedy, Evolution (2001). Jones was also in the 2009 film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant and he appeared as the computer Vox 114 in The Time Machine (2002). His other more recent films includes Biker Boyz (2003), Godzilla (2005), Runaway Jury (2003) and Primeval (2004). Jones appeared in an uncredited cameo and played in Grindhouse Planet Terror (2007 film).

In 2011 Jones appeared in the documentary film Looking for Lenny, in which he talks about Lenny Bruce and freedom of speech.[5] In 2012, Jones starred in Joe Penna's original interactive thriller series Meridian created in conjunction with Fourth Wall Studios.[6]

Voice acting[edit]

Jones has been featured in many voice acting projects over the years. In 1993, Jones appeared in Yuletide in the 'hood and in 1998, he made a guest appearance in the animated comedy TV Series, King Of The Hill. He lent his voice to the TV series Father of the Pride and the video games Halo 2 as the marine Sergeant Banks as well as other black marines and L.A. Rush. In 2006, he co-created, produced and voice acted for the MTV2 animated series The Adventures of Chico and Guapo.

In early April 2013, it was largely thought that Jones would be taking Tyler Perry's place as Madea. This stemmed from Jones's own report that he would be taking over the role, and photography of himself impersonating Madea. This led to public outcry from fans. Perry later revealed, however, that this was an elaborate prank played by Jones, stating, "That was an April Fools' joke that HE did. Not true. And not funny. When I’m done with Madea, she is done."[7]

Personal life[edit]

Jones married former model Jacqueline Staph in 2009.[8] They have a daughter. In October 2011, Jones provoked controversy when he joked on Twitter that someone should kill former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.[9][10] He apologized for the comment several days later.[11] In March 2021 he divorced Jacqueline Staph citing irreconcilable differences.



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Sour Grapes Digby
1997 In Harm's Way Andre
1998 Woo Sticky Fingas
1999 New Jersey Turnpikes N/A
1999 Office Space Steve
1999 Liberty Heights Little Melvin
1999 Magnolia Worm Deleted scenes
2000 Waterproof Natty Battle
2000 The Replacements Clifford Franklin
2000 From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter Ezra Traylor
2000 Chain of Fools Miss Cocoa
2000 Bedazzled Various
2001 Evolution Professor Harry Block
2001 Double Take Daryl Chase
2001 Say It Isn't So Dig McCaffrey
2002 Drumline Dr. Lee
2002 The Time Machine Vox 114
2003 Biker Boyz Soul Train
2003 Runaway Jury Russell
2006 Looking for Sunday Einstein Steinberg
2007 I Think I Love My Wife Nelson Uncredited
2007 Primeval Steve Johnson
2009 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Alexander Ribs
2009 Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Detective Ben Nickerson
2011 The Chicago 8 Bobby Seal
2011 Seconds Apart Detective Lampkin
2012 Meridian Jeff Meyers
2013 Enemies Closer Clay
2016 The Book of Love Cornelius "Dumbass" Thibadeaux


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Herman's Head Cop Episode: "Guns 'n Neurosis"
1992 A Different World Troy Douglas 2 episodes
1994 Sound fX Himself Unknown episodes
1995–1997 MADtv Various 41 episodes
1998 King of the Hill Kidd Mookie Episode: "Traffic Jam"
2003 Girlfriends Dr. Darren Lucas Episode: "Sex, Lies, and Books"
2003 The Bernie Mac Show Max Trotter Episode: "For a Few Dollars More"
2003 The Orlando Jones Show Himself 8 episodes
2004–2005 Father of the Pride Snack 14 episodes
2005 Wild 'n Out Himself Episode: "Orlando Jones"
2006 The Evidence Inspector Cayman Bishop 8 episodes
2006 The Adventures of Chico and Guapo Concepcion 8 episodes
2007 Everybody Hates Chris Mr. Newton Episode: "Everybody Hates the Substitute"
2007 Men in Trees George 3 episodes
2007 Ghost Whisperer Casey Edgars Episode: "Unhappy Medium"
2008 New Amsterdam Harold Wilcox Episode: "Soldier's Heart"
2008 Everybody Hates Chris Dr. Clint Huckstable Episode: "Everybody Hates Homecoming"
2008 Pushing Daisies Magnus Olsdatter Episode: "The Norwegians"
2009 Rules of Engagement Brad 4 episodes
2010 House Marcus Foreman Episode: "Moving the Chains"
2011 Necessary Roughness Lazarus Rollins 2 episodes
2011 CSI: Miami Lawrence Kingman Episode: "By the Book"
2012–2015 Black Dynamite Basehead 9 episodes
2013–2015 Sleepy Hollow Captain Frank Irving 28 episodes
2015 The Haunting of... Himself Episode: "The Haunting of Orlando Jones"
2017 Madiba Oliver Tambo 6 episodes
2017–2019 American Gods Mr. Nancy 9 episodes
2017 Room 104 Samuel Episode: "The Knockandoo"
2019 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Snake Episode: "Exchange"
2020 The Good Lord Bird The Rail Man 2 episodes


  1. ^ Pearlman, Cindy (August 13, 2000). "Orlando Jones". Chicago Sun-Times.
  2. ^ https://www.youtube.com/QIICQemjmNc
  3. ^ Abrams, Natalie (November 16, 2009). "House: Orlando Jones to Play Foreman's Brother". TV Guide.
  4. ^ Petski, Denise (15 June 2016). "'American Gods': Orlando Jones Cast In Starz Adaptation". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  5. ^ Sullivan, James (March 10, 2012). "Lenny Bruce Legacy Reexamined". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Gutelle, Sam (November 14, 2012). "MysteryGuitarMan Joe Penna Brings Interactive Thriller To Rides.tv". Tubefilter. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  7. ^ Scott, Tracy (April 15, 2013). "Tyler Perry calls Orlando Jones' news 'not true and not funny'". S2SMagazine. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  8. ^ "Celebrity Wedding: Orlando Jones & Jacqueline Staph". InStyle. January 2009.
  9. ^ Hughes, Sarah Anne (October 25, 2011). "Orlando Jones defends 'kill Sarah Palin' tweet joke as not 'a call to action,' 'artistic expression'". Washington Post.
  10. ^ Rathe, Adam (October 25, 2011). "Orlando Jones under fire for tweets urging liberals to 'kill Sarah Palin'". New York Daily News.
  11. ^ Gayathri, Amrutha (27 October 2011). "Actor Orlando Jones Asks Liberals to Kill Sarah Palin; Apologizes for 'Joke'". International Business Times. Retrieved 5 November 2013.

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