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Duane Jones

Jones in Night of the Living Dead
Born February 2, 1936(1936-02-02)
New York City, New York
Died July 22, 1988 (aged 52)
Mineola, New York
Other name(s) Duane L. Jones
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968-1988

Duane L. Jones (February 2, 1936 – July 22, 1988) was an American actor, best known for his role in the 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead.


A graduate of the Sorbonne, Jones studied acting in New York City. His role in Night of the Living Dead marked the first time a black actor was cast as a non-ethnic lead in a major motion picture in America, and the first time a black actor had a starring role in a horror film. He taught acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As executive director of the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art (RACCA), he promoted African-American theater. After leaving the American Academy of Dramatic Arts he taught a select group of students privately in Manhattan, by invitation only. His hand-selected students were of diverse ethnic backgrounds.

He spent his later years as a professor of theatre at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, where the Duane L. Jones Recital Hall is named for him.

He died of cardiopulmonary arrest in 1988. Up until his death, he proclaimed that he had never watched any of the other 'dead' films, nor any other George Romero picture, claiming that Night of the Living Dead was 'his' time.


Year Film Role Notes
1968 Night of the Living Dead Ben
1973 Ganja and Hess Doctor Hess Green Also released as "Blood Couple"
1982 Losing Ground Unknown
1984 Beat Street Robert
1986 Vampires Charles Harmon
1988 Negatives Paul
Fright House Charles Harmon
1989 To Die For Simon Little

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