Dean Jones (actor)

Dean Jones

Dean Jones in 1966
Born Dean Carroll Jones
(1931-01-25)January 25, 1931
Decatur, Morgan County, Alabama, U.S.
Died September 1, 2015(2015-09-01) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Parkinson's disease
Occupation Actor, singer
Years active 1956–2009
  • Mae Inez Entwisle (m. 1954; div. 1971)
  • Lory Patrick (m. 1973)
Children 3
Parent(s) Andrew Guy and Nolia Elizabeth Wilhite Jones

Dean Carroll Jones (January 25, 1931 – September 1, 2015) was an American actor best known for his light-hearted leading roles in several Walt Disney films between 1965 and 1977, such as The Love Bug (1968). Jones also originated the role of Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company.

Early life

Jones was born in Decatur, near the larger neighboring city of Huntsville, Alabama, to Andrew Guy Jones (1901-1979), a traveling construction worker, and the former Nolia Elizabeth Wilhite (1902-1977). His parents are interred at Roselawn Gardens Of Memory in Decatur.[1][2]

As a student at Riverside High School in Decatur, Jones had his own local radio show, Dean Jones Sings.[3] 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 2002 awarded him an honorary degree. On March 4, 2011, he later addressed the ceremony for the dedication of Asbury's Andrew S. Miller Center for Communications Arts.[4]


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.[5] 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

Guest stars for the premiere episode of The Dick Powell Show, "Who Killed Julie Greer?" Standing, from left: Ronald Reagan, Nick Adams, Lloyd Bridges, Mickey Rooney, Edgar Bergen, Jack Carson, Ralph Bellamy, Kay Thompson, Dean Jones. Seated, from left, Carolyn Jones and Dick Powell.

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 had a major role in an episode of ABC's Stagecoach West ("Red Sand", 1960). He portrayed Joe Brady, one of two outlaws, with Harold J. Stone as Tanner. They are trapped during a sandstorm in a frontier house with series stars Robert Bray and Richard Eyer as Simon and Davey Kane, respectively. The outlaws are sought by the United States Army for armed robbery and the death of two guards. The young woman of the house, Martha Whitlock, played by Diana Millay, was recently deserted by her husband. She becomes attracted to Jones' character, who considers himself a failure since he had been orphaned at an early age. In the story line, it is determined that Brady is not guilty of the robbery and shooting of the guards, but is culpable as an accessory after the fact.[6]

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.[7] 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) 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 Herbie, the Love Bug (1982) television series and the made-for-TV movie The Love Bug (1997).

Away from Disney, Jones co-starred with Broadway-era co-star Jane Fonda in the romantic comedy, Any Wednesday (1966) and, in a dramatic turn, portrayed Ed Cooper in the NBC television movie When Every Day Was the Fourth of July (1978). In the later film, Jones played 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. The film received critical acclaim and 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, whom 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 whom had never seen him so immersed in a role. Jones' performance garnered widespread critical acclaim often being cited as one of the greatest villains from family films. 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 at least 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.

Personal life

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 had a history of suffering from 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."[3]

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", now translated into almost 300 languages.

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."[8]


Jones died from Parkinson's disease on September 1, 2015, aged 84.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
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 Rack Lieutenant Uncredited
1956 The Great American Pastime Buck Rivers
1957 Slander Newscaster Uncredited
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 Dave 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
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 aka L'inafferrabile invincibile Mr. Invisibile
1971 The Million Dollar Duck Professor Albert Dooley aka The $1,000,000 Duck
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 Queen Esther King Ahasuerus Voiuce, Animated short
1992 Beethoven Dr. Herman Varnick
1994 Clear and Present Danger Judge Moore
1994 The Visual Bible: Acts Luke the Evangelist Direct-to-video film
1996 A spasso nel tempo Professor Mortimer aka Getting Around in Time
1997 That Darn Cat Mr. Flint
1998 Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero Dean Arbagast Voice, Direct-to-video animated film
2007 Lavinia's Heist Tony Cavaletti Short film
2009 Mandie and the Secret Tunnel Jason Bond (Last appearance)
2009 God Provides Abraham Direct-to-video film


Year Title Role Notes
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 Main role (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 Episode: "The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show"
1969 What's It All About, World? Himself Host (13 episodes)
1971 The Chicago Teddy Bears Linc McCray Main role (13 episodes)
1972 The Great Man's Whiskers James E. Cooper Television film
1973 Guess Who's Sleeping in My Bed? George Gregory Television film
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 Television film
1978 When Every Day Was the Fourth of July Ed Cooper Television film
1980 The Long Days of Summer Ed Cooper Television film
1981 Aloha Paradise Alex Episode: "Alex and Annie"
1982 Herbie, the Love Bug Jim Douglas Main role (5 episodes)
1983 The Gospel According to Scrooge Narrator Television film
1984 Don't Ask Me, Ask God Future Father Television 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 Television film
1992 Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style Harry Bannister Television film
1994 Beethoven George Newton (voice) Main role (26 episodes)
1995 Nowhere Man Jonathan Crane Episode: "Father"
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Dean Webster Carlson Television film
1996 Special Report: Journey to Mars Dr. Scott Berlin Television film
1996 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Dr. Karel (voice) Episode: "DNA Doomsday"
1996 Superman: The Animated Series Col. Sam Lane (voice) Episode: "Monkey Fun"
1997 The Love Bug Jim Douglas Television film
1998 Adventures from the Book of Virtues Chauncey (voice) Episode: "Trustworthiness"
2001 Scrooge & Marley Ebenezer Scrooge Television special

Broadway appearances

Title Role Production dates Theatre
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


  1. 1 2 Flaherty, Mike (September 2, 2015). "Dean Jones, Star of Disney's 'The Love Bug,' Dies at 84". The New York Times. p. B19.
  2. "Nolia Elizabeth White Jones". Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Man at Work—Finally", People, November 11, 1991
  4. "Dean Jones '53 addresses Asbury community". Asbury University. 4 March 2011.
  5. "How Now, Dean Jones?",; accessed January 23, 2016.
  6. "Stagecoach West: "Red Sand"". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  7. A Conversation with Dean Jones Herbie Mania
  8. Disney Icon Dean Jones Dies at 84. Christianity Today (originally published as "At Home with Dean Jones", Jan/Feb 2004).

External links

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