|Born||Dean Carroll Jones
January 25, 1931
Decatur, Alabama, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Mae Entwisle Jones (1954-1970) (divorced)
Lory Patrick Jones (1973-present)
Jones was born in Decatur, Alabama. His parents were the former Nolia Elizabeth White (1902–1977) and Andrew Guy Jones (1901–1979), who was a traveling construction worker. Dean Jones served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, after which he worked at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.
After having appeared in a string of minor film and television roles, Jones made his Broadway debut (along with Jane Fonda) in the short-lived 1960 play There Was a Little Girl. He had stepped into the role in Boston with only one day's notice. Later that year, he played Dave Manning in the Broadway comedy Under the Yum-Yum Tree, a role he would repeat 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 and George Furth's new musical Company. But during out-of-town previews, Jones was uncomfortable with the negative reaction to his character he received from the audience and asked to withdraw from the show. 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 Larry 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. In this production, Jones portrayed St. John, 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.
Jones starred in the NBC television sitcom Ensign O'Toole from 1962–63, produced by Four Star Television, portraying an easy-going naval officer aboard a destroyer. His co-stars included Jack Mullaney, Jack Albertson, Jay C. Flippen, Harvey Lembeck, and Beau Bridges. During this time he recorded an album, Introducing Dean Jones for Valiant Records.
Previously, he had appeared in a number of films. Jones played disc jockey Teddy Talbot in the 1957 Elvis Presley smash hit, Jailhouse Rock. He portrayed soldiers in 1957's Imitation General with Glenn Ford and 1959's Never So Few with Frank Sinatra.
He became best known for a string of Disney films he made in the 1960s and 1970s, starting with That Darn Cat! (actress Hayley Mills' last film at Disney). Jones' performance was so well-received that Disney continued to utilize him for such future movies as The Ugly Dachshund, Blackbeard's Ghost and Snowball Express. Jones' signature Disney role would be that of race car driver "Jim Douglas" in the highly successful Love Bug series. Jones appeared in two feature films (The Love Bug and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo) and in a short-lived television series produced in 1982 and a made-for-TV movie in 1997.
Jones' first marriage to Mae Entwisle ended in divorce in the 1970s. He has two children from that union. He has been married since 1973 to actress Lory Patrick Jones and has a third child from that marriage.
Dean Jones became a devout born-again Christian in 1973–1974, before his father's death in 1979. He has since appeared in several Christian films. A noted conservative, Jones also testified in favor of an amendment to the United States Constitution that would define marriage between one man and one woman.
He is semi-retired and currently lives in California.