- 1 Who is Jon Gries?
- 2 Early Life an Education: Growing Up in California
- 3 Career Beginnings: Working with Charlton Heston, More American Graffiti, Real Genius and More
- 4 Gaining Recognition: The Monster Squad, September Gun, Real Genius, TerrorVision and More
- 5 1990s and 2000s: Martin, Beverly Hills 90210, Men in Black, The Pretender, Napoleon Dynamite and More
- 6 Recent Works: Napoleon Dynamite (the series), The Bridge, Dream Corp LLC and More
- 7 Personal Life: Is Jon Gries Married? Does He Have Children?
- 8 Net Worth: How Rich is Jon Gries?
- 9 Online Presence
Who is Jon Gries?
Born in Glendale, California, on 17 June 1957, under the air sign of Gemini, Jonathan Francis Gries is a 62-year-old American actor, director and writer. He is sometimes credited as Jonathan/Jonathon Gries and Jon Francis, depending on the project he’s involved in. As he’s been acting for more than 50 years now, there’s no genre, situation or demand that’s too challenging for him. Jon is perhaps best known for being Uncle Rico in “Napoleon Dynamite”, and Roger Linus in “Lost”. We could also see him in seminal titles such as “Monster Squad”, “Martin”, “Real Genius” and, unbeknownst to most – “Seinfeld”. Coming from an art-obsessed family, he knew what he wanted to be from the get go and exceeded all expectations by becoming one of the most respected names in show business.
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Early Life an Education: Growing Up in California
Jon was raised in his birthplace by very famous parents – his mother, Mary Eleanor Munday, was a popular actress in the last century, amassing roles in cult classics such as “Ghost Dad”, “The Twilight Zone” and “The Golden Hawk”. Thomas Stephen Gries, a prominent producer, writer and director, was his father. A man respected throughout Hollywood, Gries Sr. introduced his son to the art of acting at a very young age. ‘Our house was not your average household’, Jon recalls. ‘There were movie scripts all over the place, and often my dad’s celebrity friends would stop by for a chat or a meeting.’ With exposure to such an artistic environment, he had little choice but to follow the footsteps of his influential parents. As for his education, Jon Gries attended an unspecified high school in his hometown, matriculating in 1975.
Given the fact that he devoted his life to acting, he forewent his college education and never looked back. Throughout the years, he attended several seminars and programs in France, Britain and other countries. His will to learn and improve as an actor have turned him into a living legend, with his peers having only kind words about him.
Career Beginnings: Working with Charlton Heston, More American Graffiti, Real Genius and More
While most actors need years of small-time roles to work with big names, Jon didn’t. At the tender age of 11, he was thrown into the fire by being cast as Horace in the hit Charlton Heston film “Will Penny”. Even though his father Thomas was both the writer and director, young Gries impressed Heston and the rest of the crew with his composure and maturity. Despite the success of his debut, he put acting aside in order to complete his education. In 1976, as a fresh high school graduate, he made appearances in “Helter Skelter” and “Born of Water”, followed by a series of roles in various popular TV shows and movies.
Hooooly shit look what I just found!! pic.twitter.com/gv2KwAQaym
— jon gries (@jongries) May 23, 2018
This was a rather interesting development, as he didn’t face any significant difficulties when it came to picking roles. “More American Graffiti”, “Swap Meet” and “Sunnyside” were the most important of the bunch. Critics began writing about him, which lead to more directors and producers wanting to work with him. While Jon wasn’t a star by any means, but his talent was evident.
Gaining Recognition: The Monster Squad, September Gun, Real Genius, TerrorVision and More
The 1980s were an important period for Gries. He started the decade off with supporting roles in “The White Shadow”, “The Texas Rangers” and “Joysticks”. People were wondering why he was silent in 1982, but they found out the answer when he caught everyone’s attention by having five critically praised roles, especially in “September Gun” and “High School U.S.A.” His jam-packed schedule stayed pretty much the same, with seminal parts in “The Monster Squad”, “Number One with a Bullet”, and even an appearance in “The Twilight Zone”.
In equal measure, Gries was in both films and series, slowly establishing himself as one of the premier supporting actors in the industry. In such a short period, he managed to build up his portfolio more than most actors manage over the course of several decades. It’s also worth noting his performances in “Kill Me Again”, “Pucker Up and Bark Like a Dog”, amongst the many credits he had in the 1980s. The first part of the 1990s decade included stints in “L.A. Law”, “Quantum Leap” and “Baskersfield P.D.”. At this time, he was finally handed the opportunity to showcase character development in a recurring role.
1990s and 2000s: Martin, Beverly Hills 90210, Men in Black, The Pretender, Napoleon Dynamite and More
In 1992, John Bowman and Martin Lawrence wanted to work with Jon on “Martin”, a cult 1990s sitcom in which Lawrence himself was the star. Initially, they wanted to feature him in a few episodes, but fans immediately took a liking to Shawn McDermott, so we got to seem him a lot in the next few seasons.
Appearing in over 50 episodes, Gries showcased that he can handle complex characters and implement changes in his approach to individual scenes. Hollywood took notice of his talents, as he went on to appear in “The X Files”, “Beverly Hills, 90210”, “Chicago Hope” and even “Seinfeld”. By the mid-1990s, the man was everywhere. His second big role was as Broots in “The Pretender”; the story features Michael T. Weiss as a man who escaped from a government testing facility and has the ability to master any skill. When his time on the show concluded after 82 episodes, he mostly focused on movies, the most important of which was “Napoleon Dynamite”. Throughout the 2000s, we would rarely see Jon performing in TV shows, but when he did – he was nothing short of impressive.
Recent Works: Napoleon Dynamite (the series), The Bridge, Dream Corp LLC and More
After highly praised performances in “Lost”, “Cold Case” and “CSI: NY”, Gries was ready to leave his mark on the 2010s. He reprised his role as Uncle Rico in the “Napoleon Dynamite” TV series, but only as a voice actor. Later on, he would make appearances in “Supernatural”, “Dr. Fubalous”, “Skinwalker Ranch” and other movies and shows. In “The Bridge”, he was Bob for eight episodes before moving onto “Dream Corp LLC”. As the lead star of this Daniel Stessen-created show, he played the quirky and absent-minded genius who records and analyzes dreams of various patients. Despite being in the sixth decade of his career, Gries is showing no signs of slowing down. He regularly hosts panels, gives speeches at Comic Cons and interacts with fans. According to multiple reports, he is always kind and never refuses to take a picture or give an autograph. With several projects in the making, who knows what this seemingly ageless man has in store for us?
Personal Life: Is Jon Gries Married? Does He Have Children?
Jon’s current love life is quite a mystery. In 2011, it became known that he was dating actress Kimberly Rose McConnell. They got together on 11 November that year and immediately set tabloids ablaze with frequent social media posts and public displays of affection. However, in late 2015, they seemingly dropped off the grid as a couple. Nobody knew what they were up to and they stopped showing up to events together. It’s obvious that they broke up at a certain point, but didn’t want to create a fuss around the whole thing. Because he’s never married and there wasn’t any controversy involving the opposite sex, there were rumors that he might, in fact, be gay. Gries himself stated that he is heterosexual, putting these allegations to rest. Still, he is a very private person, so don’t expect any of his relationships to be publicized. As for his siblings, Jon has one sister – actress Cary Gries.
Trivia and Fun Facts About Jon Gries
In 2004, fans noticed a strange parallel between two of Gries’ many roles. In 1989, he played a homeless guy in “Seinfeld”, and proceeded to steal Tupperware from another character. 15 years later, in “Napoleon Dynamite”, his character was a door-to-door Tupperware salesman! In “Lost”, his plays the father to Michael Emerson’s character. Unbeknownst to most, Emerson is three years older than him in real life. On multiple occasions, he tried to become a vegan, but was unable to completely get rid of meat and dairy. His dad’s stepfather is famous jazz virtuoso Muggsy Spanier. Also, he played a wolf-man hybrid on two separate occasions – in “The Monster Squad” and “Fright Night Part 2”.
Net Worth: How Rich is Jon Gries?
Have you ever wondered how affluent this famous actor really is? According to authoritative sources, Jon Gries has a net worth of approximately $2 million, as of October 2019. While this amount of money might not seem much for such a seasoned actor, Jon never prioritized big paydays. ‘It’s not about the money’, he said on the topic. ‘It’s not about the prestige or being recognized. It’s about doing work that you really think has integrity.’ Given the fact that he’s still active, we can expect this number to change in the following years.
When compared to most actors, Jon isn’t particularly active on social media. He has a Twitter profile and is followed by 1,400 people, but hasn’t posted anything since September 2018.