Dean Jones (actor)

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Dean Jones
Dean Jones 1966.JPG
Dean Jones in 1966
Dean Carroll Jones

(1931-01-25)January 25, 1931
DiedSeptember 1, 2015(2015-09-01) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1956–2009
  • Mae Inez Entwisle
    (m. 1954;div. 1971)
  • Loretta Basham(m. 1973)

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).

<i>That Darn Cat!</i> 1965 film directed by Robert Stevenson

That Darn Cat! is a 1965 American Walt Disney Productions thriller comedy film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Hayley Mills and Dean Jones in a story about bank robbers, a kidnapping and a mischievous cat. The film was based on the 1963 novel Undercover Cat by Gordon and Mildred Gordon. The title song was written by the Sherman Brothers and sung by Bobby Darin. The 1997 remake includes a cameo appearance by Dean Jones.

<i>The Love Bug</i> 1968 film directed by Robert Stevenson

The Love Bug is a 1968 American comedy film directed by Robert Stevenson and the first in a series of films made by Walt Disney Productions and distributed by Buena Vista Distribution that starred an anthropomorphic pearl-white, fabric-sunroofed 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie. It was based on the 1961 book Car, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford.

<i>Beethoven</i> (film) 1992 film by Brian Levant

Beethoven is a 1992 family comedy film, directed by Brian Levant and starring Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt as George and Alice Newton. It is the first installment of the Beethoven film series.


Early life

Jones was born in Decatur, Alabama, to Andrew Guy Jones (1901-1979), a traveling construction worker, and the former Nolia Elizabeth Wilhite (1902-1977). [1]

Decatur, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Decatur is a city in Morgan and Limestone counties in the State of Alabama. The city, nicknamed "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County. The population in 2010 was 55,683.

As a student at Riverside High School in Decatur, Jones had his own local radio show, Dean Jones Sings. [2] 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.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

Korean War 1950–1953 war between North Korea and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Knotts Berry Farm Amusement park in Buena Park, California, United States

Knott's Berry Farm is a 57-acre (23 ha) theme park located in Buena Park, California, and owned by Cedar Fair. In 2017, it was the tenth-most-visited theme park in North America. Knott's Berry Farm is also the most-visited theme park in the Cedar Fair chain. On the Cedar Fair Q4 2018 Earnings Call, President & CEO Richard Zimmerman said "Knott's has grown, as we've said, to over 6 million people a year, probably the most attended regional theme park in the world now." The park features 40 rides including roller coasters, family rides, dark rides and water rides, and it employs approximately 10,000 people. Unlike the rest of the Cedar Fair parks which are amusement parks, Knott's Berry Farm is the only theme park in the Cedar Fair chain.

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 later addressed the ceremony for the dedication of Asbury's Andrew S. Miller Center for Communications Arts. [3]

Asbury University Christian liberal arts university in Wilmore, Kentucky

Asbury University, formerly Asbury College, is a Christian liberal arts institution located in Wilmore, Kentucky, United States. Although it is a nondenominational school, the college's foundation stems from a Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. The school offers 50 majors across 17 departments. Primarily a four-year college, Asbury was ranked in the third tier of liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report in 2008. Approximately 34 percent of incoming freshmen are in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and more than 80 percent of current faculty are full-time. In the fall of 2016, Asbury University had a total enrollment of 1,854: 1,640 traditional undergraduate students and 214 graduate students. Asbury University is a member of the Christian College Consortium and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The campus of Asbury Theological Seminary, which became a separate institution in 1940, is located across the street from Asbury University. The college's mission statement is, "Asbury University, a Christian Liberal Arts University in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, equips students, through academic excellence and spiritual vitality, for lifelong learning, leadership and service to the professions, society, the family and the Church, preparing them to engage their cultures and advance the cause of Christ around the world."

Wilmore, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Wilmore is a home rule-class city in Jessamine County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 5,920 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Lexington–Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), all of it land.

Lexington, Kentucky Consolidated city-county in Kentucky, United States

Lexington, consolidated with Fayette County and often denoted as Lexington-Fayette, is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 60th-largest city in the United States. By land area, Lexington is the 28th largest city in the United States. Known as the "Horse Capital of the World," it is the heart of the state's Bluegrass region. It has a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government, with 12 council districts and three members elected at large, with the highest vote-getter designated vice mayor. In the 2018 U.S. Census Estimate, the city's population was 323,780 anchoring a metropolitan area of 516,697 people and a combined statistical area of 760,528 people.


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. [4] 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.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Jane Fonda American actress

Jane Seymour Fonda is an American actress, writer, producer, political activist, fitness guru, and former fashion model. She is the recipient of various accolades including two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Honorary Golden Lion.

Boston State capital of Massachusetts, U.S.

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 694,583 in 2018, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth most populous in the United States.

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).

Stephen Sondheim American composer and lyricist

Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater". His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990), and Passion (1994). He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965).

<i>Company</i> (musical) musical comedy

Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six.

Harold Smith Prince is an American theatrical producer and director associated with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the 20th century. He has garnered twenty-one Tony Awards, more than any other individual, including eight for directing, eight for producing the year's Best Musical, two as Best Producer of a Musical, and three special awards.

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. Dick Powell Show Premiere Episode 1961.JPG
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 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.[ citation needed ]

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. [5] 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), "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 Herbie, the Love Bug (1982) television series 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.[ citation needed ]

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. 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 whom 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 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.[ citation needed ]

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." [2]

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." [6]


Jones died from Parkinson's disease in Los Angeles, California on September 1, 2015, aged 84. His body was cremated. [1]


1956 Somebody Up There Likes Me Private in Rocky's TentUncredited
1956 These Wilder Years Hardware Clerk
1956 Tea and Sympathy Ollie
1956 The Opposite Sex Assistant Stage ManagerUncredited
1956 The Rack LieutenantUncredited
1956 The Great American Pastime Buck Rivers
1957 Slander NewscasterUncredited
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 HendersonAlternate 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 DenwellAlternate 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 GameUncredited
1976 The Shaggy D.A. Wilby Daniels
1977 Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo Jim Douglas
1978 Born Again Charles W. Colson
1986St. John in ExileSt. 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 Moore
1994 The Visual Bible: Acts Luke the Evangelist
1996God's Story: From Creation to EternityThe Storyteller (voice)Direct-to-video, documentary
1996 A spasso nel tempo Professor Mortimer / JoeEnglish title: Getting Around in Time
1997 That Darn Cat Mr. Flint
1998 Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero Dean Arbagast (voice)Direct-to-video
2007Lavinia's HeistTony CavalettiShort film
2009 Mandie and the Secret Tunnel Jason Bond
2009God Provides Abraham Direct-to-video (final film role)
1960 Zane Grey Theatre Deputy Bill DevlinEpisode: "The Sunday Man"
1960 The Aquanauts John AndersonEpisode: "The Stowaway"
1960 Outlaws Danny CannonEpisode: "Beat the Drum Slowly"
1960 Stagecoach West Joe BradyEpisode: "Red Sand"
1961 The Dick Powell Show Detective Phil WinslowEpisode: "Who Killed Julie Greer?"
1961 Bonanza Danny KiddEpisode: "The Friendship"
1961 Tales of Wells Fargo Jamie CoburnEpisode: "A Killing in Calico"
1962 Target: The Corruptors! Barry SteeleEpisode: "Play It Blue"
1962 Wagon Train Lt. BurtonEpisode: "The Lieutenant Burton Story"
1962–63 Ensign O'Toole Ensign O'Toole32 episodes
1963 Ben Casey Dr. Richard ConnellEpisode: "Fire in a Sacred Fruit Tree"
1963 Burke's Law Rudy DavisEpisode: "Who Killed Eleanora Davis?"
1965 Kraft Suspense Theatre Eddie CarewEpisode: "The Rise and Fall of Eddie Carew"
1965 Vacation Playhouse Alec TateEpisode: "Alec Tate"
1968 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Narrator (voice)Episode: "The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show"
1971 The Chicago Teddy Bears Linc McCray13 episodes
1972 The Great Man's Whiskers James E. CooperTV movie
1973Walt Disney: A Golden Anniversary SaluteHimself (Host)TV special
1973 Guess Who's Sleeping in My Bed? George GregoryTV movie
1974 Medical Center Dr. RonstonEpisode: "Spectre"
1976 Good Heavens BradEpisode: "Coffee, Tea, or Gloria"
1977 Once Upon a Brothers Grimm Jacob Grimm, GrandmotherTV movie
1978 When Every Day Was the Fourth of July Ed CooperTV movie
1978 The Wonderful World of Disney HimselfEpisode: "Mickey's 50"
1980 The Long Days of Summer Ed CooperTV movie
1981 Aloha Paradise AlexEpisode: "Alex and Annie"
1982Kraft Salutes Walt Disney World's 10th AnniversaryMr. LaneTV special
1982 Herbie, the Love Bug Jim Douglas5 episodes
1983The Gospel According to ScroogeNarrator (voice)TV movie
1984Don't Ask Me, Ask GodFuture FatherTV special
1984 The Love Boat Marty ChenaultEpisode: "Julie and the Producer" (Parts 1 & 2)
1984 Finder of Lost Loves Steve MarshEpisode: "Yesterday's Child"
1984 Murder, She Wrote Marcus BoswellEpisode: "It's a Dog's Life"
1988 Murder, She Wrote Leonard PalmerEpisode: "Harbinger of Death"
1989 Fire and Rain Jack AyersTV movie
1992 Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style Harry BannisterTV movie
1994 Beethoven George Newton (voice)26 episodes
1995 The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Dean Webster CarlsonTV movie
1995 Nowhere Man Jonathan CraneEpisode: "Father"
1996Special Report: Journey to MarsDr. Scott BerlinTV 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 DouglasTV movie
1998 Adventures from the Book of Virtues Chauncey (voice)Episode: "Trustworthiness"
2001Scrooge & Marley Ebenezer Scrooge TV movie (final TV role)

Broadway appearances

There Was a Little GirlStan WaltersFebruary 29 – March 12, 1960 Cort Theatre
Under the Yum Yum Tree Dave ManningNovember 16, 1960 – April 15, 1961 Henry Miller's Theatre
Company RobertApril 26 – May 28, 1970 Alvin Theatre
Into the Light James PrescottOctober 22 – October 26, 1986 Neil Simon Theatre
Company RobertApril 11 – April 12, 1993 Vivian Beaumont Theater

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  1. 1 2 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.
  2. 1 2 "Man at Work—Finally", People , November 11, 1991
  3. "Dean Jones '53 addresses Asbury community". Asbury University . 4 March 2011.
  4. "How Now, Dean Jones?",; accessed January 23, 2016.
  5. A Conversation with Dean Jones Herbie Mania
  6. Disney Icon Dean Jones Dies at 84. Christianity Today (originally published as "At Home with Dean Jones", Jan/Feb 2004); accessed December 10, 2017.