Jeffrey Jones

Jeffrey Jones is a character actor best recognized for his roles in “Beetlejuice” and “The Devil’s Advocate”. Born in Buffalo, New York State USA, on 28th September 1946, Jeffrey’s career began in Minnesota’s Guthrie Theater, before moving on to London and Broadway.

The Golden Globe nominee fell from grace in 2003, after being accused of soliciting a minor to pose for nude photographs. Since then, the once-revered actor has also been arrested for failing to update his sex offender status.

Childhood & Stage Career

Jeffrey was raised by his mother, Ruth Schooley, who encouraged him to begin acting. Little is known of the actor’s father, Douglas Bennett Jones, who died during his son’s infancy.

In 1964, Jeffrey matriculated from The Putney School and began studying at Lawrence University as a premed student, however, his performances in university productions led to him being recruited by Tyrone Guthrie for the Guthrie Theater. Five years later, Jeffrey travelled to London and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, (LAMDA) before spending three years with Ontario’s Stratford Theatre.

Jeffrey’s impressive stage career includes over 120 productions, starting with the Guthrie Theater, and including international productions in Canada, London, and South America. After a successful stint On Broadway, Jeffrey began transitioning from stage plays to film productions in 1970.

Film & TV Career

Jeffrey’s film and TV career got off to a slow start with a number of small roles. Later, the acting heavyweight would become known for his deadpan expression and distinctive physical features, which led to him often being typecasted as a villain.

Jeffrey’s work in the Lucille Lortel Theatre play “Cloud 9” saw him cast in a supporting role in “Easy Money”; Milos Forman, the director of “Amadeus”, was also impressed by Jeffrey’s performance in the theatre production and cast him as Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor in “Amadeus”, which turned out to be one of the highlights in Jeffrey’s career, as he was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture category.

In 1986, Jeffrey become something of a cultural icon thanks to his portrayal of Edward R. Rooney in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. A self-important and obsessive character, Edward became the poster child for pompous and authoritarian figures; however, Jeffrey was worried about his role in the movie eclipsing his “Amadeus” performance.

Two years later, Jeffrey starred opposite Catherine O’Hara in the cult classic “Beetlejuice”. The actors played Charles and Delia Deetz, a hapless husband and wife who unwittingly move into a haunted mansion. Jeffrey worked with director Tim Burton two more times over the course of his career, with roles in “Sleepy Hollow” and “Ed Wood”; the pair were believed to have a good working relationship, as both spoke positively about the other in interviews.

Jeffrey’s less memorable projects include his portrayal of Dr. Walter Jenning in “Howard the Duck”, and his role as Inspector Lestrade in “Without a Clue”. In 1990, he played Skip Tyler in “The Hunt for Red October”, then from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, the New York native explored other genres, with roles as Thomas Putnam in “The Crucible”, Uncle Crenshaw Little in “Stuart Little”, and business tycoon Joe Potter in “Dr. Dolittle 2”.

Jeffrey’s TV career has also been long and fruitful, with one of his first small-screen roles coming in 1976, when he appeared in an episode of “Sara”. In 1986, he played Mister Acme in the comedy miniseries “Fresno”, showcasing his villain talents and working alongside Charles Grodin, Carol Burnett and Dabney Coleman.

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The Guthrie Theater alum has also had various guest roles in “Tales From the Crypt”, “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Amazing Stories” among other TV series. He briefly starred in the CBS series “The People Next Door”, stepping out of his comfort zone to portray a cartoonist capable of making things come alive with his wild imagination.

Without a doubt, Jeffrey’s most prominent TV role was playing A. W. Merrick in the HBO series “Deadwood” from 2004 to 2006. Despite the show being cancelled, Jeffrey and the rest of the cast were nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Child Pornography Scandal & Personal Life

Jeffrey made headlines around the world in 2002, when he was arrested for possession of child pornography and accused of soliciting a minor to pose for nude photographs. Jeffrey’s accuser was 14 when the offense took place; the actor pleaded no contest to a charge of soliciting a minor, whereas the possession of child pornography charge was dropped. Jeffrey was sentenced to five years of probation with counseling sessions, and was also required to register as a sex offender.

Although the “Beetlejuice” star remains on the national sex offender database two decades later, he’s been arrested twice over the years for failing to update his sex offender status, once in Florida in 2004, and a second time in California in 2010. Understandably, the actor’s sex offender status had a hugely negatively impact on his career, especially during the filming of “Who’s Your Caddy?” in 2006. As families with young children had been invited to visit the set of the sports comedy, locals insisted that they should’ve been made aware of Jeffrey’s criminal history.

Jeffrey’s past also came back to haunt him in 2019, when media outlets revisited his sleazy past following the premiere of “Deadwood: The Movie”. Since reprising his role as A. W. Merrick in the TV movie, the actor has yet to appear in, or promote, any new projects. Nevertheless, with a reported net worth of close to $10 million, it’s possible that the disgraced celebrity is considering a quiet retirement.

The actor’s last interview took place in October 2020, when he discussed his early theater career and notable roles with Suzanna Bowling of the Times Square Chronicles. As for his personal life, he has a son named Julian who has decided to follow in his famous father’s footsteps with an acting career. Julian’s mother, Lloy Coutts, passed away in 2008.

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