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Dean Jones in 1966
Dean Carroll Jones
January 25, 1931
Decatur, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||September 1, 2015 (aged 84)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Dean Carroll Jones (January 25, 1931 – September 1, 2015) was an American actor best known for his roles as Agent Zeke Kelso in That Darn Cat! (1965), Jim Douglas in The Love Bug (1968) and Dr. Herman Varnick in Beethoven (1992). He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as Albert Dooley in The Million Dollar Duck (1971).
As a student at Riverside High School in Decatur, Jones had his own local radio show, Dean Jones Sings. Jones served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, and after his discharge worked at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.
Jones attended Asbury University in Wilmore near Lexington, Kentucky. A member of its Class of 1953, he did not graduate, but the university in 2003 awarded him an honorary degree. On March 4, 2011, he addressed the community during the dedication ceremony of Asbury's Andrew S. Miller Center for Communications Arts.
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After appearing in minor film and television roles, Jones made his Broadway debut (along with Jane Fonda) in the 1960 play There Was a Little Girl. He stepped into the role in Boston, Massachusetts, at only one day's notice. In 1960 he also played Dave Manning in the Broadway comedy Under the Yum-Yum Tree, a role which he repeated in the 1963 movie version starring Jack Lemmon.
After achieving success in film and television, Jones was set to return to Broadway as the star of Stephen Sondheim's musical Company in 1970. Shortly after opening night, Jones withdrew from the show, due to stress that he was undergoing from ongoing divorce proceedings. Director Harold Prince agreed to replace him with Larry Kert if Jones would open the show and record the cast album. Jones agreed, and his performance is preserved on the original cast album (although it was Kert who received the Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical).
In 1986, Jones, by then having become a Christian, starred in Into the Light, a musical about scientists and the Shroud of Turin, which closed four days after it opened. He had far more success touring in the one-man show St. John in Exile as the last surviving Apostle of Jesus Christ, reminiscing about his life while imprisoned on the Greek island of Patmos. A performance was filmed in 1986. He made one more Broadway appearance, in 1993, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, in a special two-day concert staging of Company featuring most of the original Broadway cast.
Television and film
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Jones started his film career by signing a contract at MGM, beginning with a small role as a soldier in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) and he later played disc jockey Teddy Talbot in the Elvis Presley film Jailhouse Rock (1957). He portrayed a soldier in both Imitation General (also 1957) with Glenn Ford and Never So Few (1959) with Frank Sinatra.
Jones subsequently starred in the NBC television sitcom Ensign O'Toole (1962–63), produced by Four Star Television, portraying an easy-going and inexperienced officer on a U.S. Navy destroyer. His co-stars included Jack Mullaney, Jack Albertson, Jay C. Flippen, Harvey Lembeck, and Beau Bridges. Jones also recorded a singing album, Introducing Dean Jones, for Valiant Records.
As Ensign O'Toole was the lead-in show on NBC to Walt Disney's The Wonderful World of Color, Disney ordered a print of Jones' latest film Under the Yum Yum Tree to study. Disney signed Jones on for a string of Disney films in the 1960s and 1970s, beginning with That Darn Cat!. His performance was so well-received that Disney used him for future movies including The Ugly Dachshund (1966), Blackbeard's Ghost (1968), The Million Dollar Duck, (1971) and Snowball Express (1972).
Jones' signature Disney role would be as race car driver Jim Douglas in the highly successful The Love Bug series: he appeared in two feature films, The Love Bug (1968) and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), as well as the short-lived television series Herbie, the Love Bug (1982) and the made-for-TV movie The Love Bug (1997). In 1969, Jones also was the host of a short-lived sketch-comedy hour on ABC-TV titled What's It All About, World? that became a variety show midway into its run, when the title was changed to The Dean Jones Variety Hour.
Away from Disney, Jones co-starred with Broadway-era co-star Jane Fonda in the romantic comedy, Any Wednesday (1966). In a dramatic turn, in the NBC television movie When Every Day Was the Fourth of July (1978) he portrayed Ed Cooper, an attorney in the 1930s who agrees to defend a man who has been accused of murder, accepting the case only after urging from his daughter. Jones reprised the role of Ed Cooper in the ABC television sequel The Long Days of Summer (1980). He appeared with Gregory Peck and Danny DeVito as Bill Coles, the president of Peck's company, which was fighting a hostile takeover by DeVito, in Other People's Money (1991).
Jones, who was always famous for playing nice characters, took on the role as Dr. Herman Varnick, the evil veterinarian, in the family film Beethoven (1992). Jones employed method acting for the first time in his prolific career and didn't break character off set throughout the film's shooting period much to the surprise of cast members as well as family and friends who had never seen him so immersed in a role. He maintained his relationship to the Beethoven franchise by providing the voice of George Newton in the television version of Beethoven. He also appeared in a small role as Director of Central Intelligence Judge Arthur Moore in the film adaptation of Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger (1994), which stars Harrison Ford.
Jones also appeared in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote, which starred Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a crime writer who also solves murders. On July 25, 1994, Jones was a guest on 100 Huntley Street.
Jones' first marriage to Mae Inez Entwisle ended in divorce in 1970. They had two daughters. He was married to actress Lory Patrick from 1973 until his death in 2015. Lory had a son, Michael Patrick, who was Jones' stepson.
Jones became a devout born-again Christian in 1973 or 1974. His book Under Running Laughter (1982) recounts his experience of Christianity. He had previously suffered from bouts of depression. His wife, Lory, said, "One night he got down on his knees and prayed that God would free him from the miserable moods that he had always suffered. He told me that in an instant it was gone and he felt peace and joy flood into his heart."
Jones appeared in several Christian films. He also voiced the narrator in Birdwing Records' 1979 studio album, Nathaniel the Grublet, as well as voicing the standard English narration for the 80 minute Bible overview, God's Story: From Creation to Eternity. In 1998, Jones founded the Christian Rescue Committee (CRC), an organization that helps provide a "way of escape to Jews, Christians, and others persecuted for their faith."
|1956||Somebody Up There Likes Me||Private in Rocky's Tent||Uncredited|
|1956||These Wilder Years||Hardware Clerk|
|1956||Tea and Sympathy||Ollie|
|1956||The Opposite Sex||Assistant Stage Manager||Uncredited|
|1956||The Great American Pastime||Buck Rivers|
|1957||Ten Thousand Bedrooms||Dan|
|1957||Designing Woman||Assistant Stage Manager (Boston)||Uncredited|
|1957||Until They Sail||US Marine Lt.||Uncredited|
|1957||Jailhouse Rock||Teddy Talbot|
|1958||Handle with Care||Zachary Davis|
|1958||Imitation General||Cpl. Terry Sellers|
|1958||Torpedo Run||Lt. Jake "Fuzz" Foley|
|1959||Night of the Quarter Moon||Lexington Nelson|
|1959||Never So Few||Sgt. Jim Norby|
|1963||Under the Yum Yum Tree||David Manning|
|1964||The New Interns||Dr. Lew Worship|
|1965||Two on a Guillotine||Val Henderson|
|1965||That Darn Cat!||FBI Agent Zeke Kelso|
|1966||The Ugly Dachshund||Mark Garrison|
|1966||Any Wednesday||Cass Henderson||Alternate title: Bachelor Girl Apartment|
|1967||Monkeys, Go Home!||Hank Dussard|
|1968||Blackbeard's Ghost||Steve Walker|
|1968||The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit||Fred Bolton|
|1968||The Love Bug||Jim Douglas|
|1970||Mr. Superinvisible||Peter Denwell||Alternate title: The Unseizable Invincible Mr. Invisible|
|1971||The Million Dollar Duck||Professor Albert Dooley|
|1972||Snowball Express||Johnny Baxter|
|1974||The Sugarland Express||Policeman at Football Game||Uncredited|
|1976||The Shaggy D.A.||Wilby Daniels|
|1977||Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo||Jim Douglas|
|1978||Born Again||Charles W. Colson|
|1986||St. John in Exile||St. John|
|1991||Other People's Money||Bill Coles|
|1992||The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible||King Ahasuerus (voice)||Direct-to-video ("Queen Esther" episode)|
|1992||Beethoven||Dr. Herman Varnick|
|1994||Clear and Present Danger||Judge Arthur Moore|
|1994||The Visual Bible: Acts||Luke the Evangelist|
|1996||God's Story: From Creation to Eternity||The Storyteller (voice)||Direct-to-video, documentary|
|1996||A spasso nel tempo||Professor Mortimer / Joe||English title: Getting Around in Time|
|1997||That Darn Cat||Mr. Flint|
|1998||Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero||Dean Arbagast (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|2007||Lavinia's Heist||Tony Cavaletti||Short film|
|2009||Mandie and the Secret Tunnel||Jason Bond|
|2009||God Provides||Abraham||Direct-to-video (final film role)|
|1960||Zane Grey Theatre||Deputy Bill Devlin||Episode: "The Sunday Man"|
|1960||The Aquanauts||John Anderson||Episode: "The Stowaway"|
|1960||Outlaws||Danny Cannon||Episode: "Beat the Drum Slowly"|
|1960||Stagecoach West||Joe Brady||Episode: "Red Sand"|
|1961||The Dick Powell Show||Detective Phil Winslow||Episode: "Who Killed Julie Greer?"|
|1961||Bonanza||Danny Kidd||Episode: "The Friendship"|
|1961||Tales of Wells Fargo||Jamie Coburn||Episode: "A Killing in Calico"|
|1962||Target: The Corruptors!||Barry Steele||Episode: "Play It Blue"|
|1962||Wagon Train||Lt. Burton||Episode: "The Lieutenant Burton Story"|
|1962–63||Ensign O'Toole||Ensign O'Toole||TV series, 32 episodes|
|1963||Ben Casey||Dr. Richard Connell||Episode: "Fire in a Sacred Fruit Tree"|
|1963||Burke's Law||Rudy Davis||Episode: "Who Killed Eleanora Davis?"|
|1965||Kraft Suspense Theatre||Eddie Carew||Episode: "The Rise and Fall of Eddie Carew"|
|1965||Vacation Playhouse||Alec Tate||Episode: "Alec Tate"|
|1968||Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color||Narrator (voice)||Episode: "The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show"|
|1971||The Chicago Teddy Bears||Linc McCray||TV series, 13 episodes|
|1972||The Great Man's Whiskers||James E. Cooper||TV movie|
|1973||Walt Disney: A Golden Anniversary Salute||Himself (Host)||TV special|
|1973||Guess Who's Sleeping in My Bed?||George Gregory||TV movie|
|1974||Medical Center||Dr. Ronston||Episode: "Spectre"|
|1976||Good Heavens||Brad||Episode: "Coffee, Tea, or Gloria"|
|1977||Once Upon a Brothers Grimm||Jacob Grimm, Grandmother||TV movie|
|1978||When Every Day Was the Fourth of July||Ed Cooper||TV movie|
|1978||The Wonderful World of Disney||Himself||Episode: "Mickey's 50"|
|1980||The Long Days of Summer||Ed Cooper||TV movie|
|1981||Aloha Paradise||Alex||Episode: "Alex and Annie"|
|1982||Kraft Salutes Walt Disney World's 10th Anniversary||Mr. Lane||TV special|
|1982||Herbie, the Love Bug||Jim Douglas||TV series, 5 episodes|
|1983||The Gospel According to Scrooge||Narrator (voice)||TV movie|
|1984||Don't Ask Me, Ask God||Future Father||TV special|
|1984||The Love Boat||Marty Chenault||Episode: "Julie and the Producer" (Parts 1 & 2)|
|1984||Finder of Lost Loves||Steve Marsh||Episode: "Yesterday's Child"|
|1984||Murder, She Wrote||Marcus Boswell||Episode: "It's a Dog's Life"|
|1988||Murder, She Wrote||Leonard Palmer||Episode: "Harbinger of Death"|
|1989||Fire and Rain||Jack Ayers||TV movie|
|1992||Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style||Harry Bannister||TV movie|
|1994||Beethoven||George Newton (voice)||TV series, 26 episodes|
|1995||The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes||Dean Webster Carlson||TV movie|
|1995||Nowhere Man||Jonathan Crane||Episode: "Father"|
|1996||Special Report: Journey to Mars||Dr. Scott Berlin||TV movie|
|1996||The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||Dr. Karel (voice)||Episode: "DNA Doomsday"|
|1997||Superman: The Animated Series||Col. Sam Lane (voice)||Episode: "Monkey Fun"|
|1997||The Love Bug||Jim Douglas||TV movie|
|1998||Adventures from the Book of Virtues||Chauncey (voice)||Episode: "Trustworthiness"|
|2001||Scrooge & Marley||Ebenezer Scrooge||TV movie (final TV role)|
|There Was a Little Girl||Stan Walters||February 29 – March 12, 1960||Cort Theatre|
|Under the Yum Yum Tree||Dave Manning||November 16, 1960 – April 15, 1961||Henry Miller's Theatre|
|Company||Robert||April 26 – May 28, 1970||Alvin Theatre|
|Into the Light||James Prescott||October 22 – October 26, 1986||Neil Simon Theatre|
|Company||Robert||April 11 – April 12, 1993||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
- Flaherty, Mike (September 2, 2015). "Dean Jones, Affable Star in 'Love Bug' and a Disney Fixture, Dies at 84". The New York Times. p. B19.
- "Man at Work—Finally", People, November 11, 1991
- "Dean Jones '53 addresses Asbury community". Asbury University. 4 March 2011.
- theatermania.com "How Now, Dean Jones?" Archived 2007-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, theatermania.com; accessed January 23, 2016.
- A Conversation with Dean Jones Herbie Mania
- Disney Icon Dean Jones Dies at 84. Christianity Today (originally published as "At Home with Dean Jones", Jan/Feb 2004); accessed December 10, 2017.