A Life in the Shadows of Fame and a Dark Secret

A Life in the Shadows of Fame and a Dark Secret

Who is Jeffrey Jones?

Jeffrey Jones is an award-winning American actor, perhaps best known as Emperor Joseph II in the film “Amadeus” (1984), and as Edward R. Rooney in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986), in addition to many other roles he’s had in his career.

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Jeffrey Jones Wiki: Age, Childhood, and Education

Jeffrey Duncan Jones was born on 28 September 1946, in Buffalo, New York State, USA, the son of Douglas Bennett Jones and Ruth Jones. His father died when Jeffrey was an infant, and he was raised by his mother, an art historian, who instilled in him the desire to pursue acting.

He went to the Putney School from which he matriculated in 1964, then enrolled at Lawrence University as a premed student. However, he began appearing in university productions, which caught the eye of Tyrone Guthrie, who recruited him to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He subsequently enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in England in 1969, where he spent the next four years before he moved to work with the Stratford Theater, Ontario, Canada, for three more years.

Stage Career

Before making his on-screen debut, Jeffrey featured in over 125 stage productions, including in the three aforementioned locations, and in South America.

Moreover, he performed in New York Off-Broadway in “Cloud 9” and “Henry V”, then he even got to perform on Broadway in such plays as “Trelawny of the Wells” and “The Elephant Man”.

On-Screen Career Beginnings

Jeffrey made his on-screen debut in 1978, in a minor role in the political drama “The Revolutionary”, which starred Jon Voight, Seymour Cassel, Robert Duvall and others. Then it wasn’t until the ’80s that he returned to on-screen acting, as US Assistant Secretary of Defense in the action-thriller film “The Soldier”, with Ken Wahl, Alberta Watson and William Prince in the lead roles.


Rise to Prominence

Jones secured the role of Emperor Joseph II in the 1984 film “Amadeus” which was directed by Milos Forman, and tells the story of the talented composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and his rivalry with Antonio Salieri, a fellow composer jealous of Mozart’s genius.

Jones’s character, Emperor Joseph II, is a music enthusiast intrigued and puzzled by Mozart’s talent. “Amadeus” starred Tom Hulce as Mozart and F. Murray Abraham as Salieri, with Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice and Simon Callow in supporting roles. The movie was a critical and commercial success, winning eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Forman, and Best Actor for Abraham.

Two years later, he secured the role of Dean Ed Rooney in what would become one of many coming-of-age classics of the ’80s, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, which tells the story of a high school student who decides to skip school for a day and have an adventure with his girlfriend and best friend, all while trying to avoid getting caught by his school’s principal, Dean Ed Rooney, starring Matthew Broderick and Mia Sara.

The same year, he was Thomas Jefferson in the television film “George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation”, the sequel to the 1984 miniseries “George Washington”, starring Barry Bostwick and Patty Duke Astin, chronicling the life of George Washington, based on the biography by James Thomas.

He continued rather successfully into the second half of the decade and the ’90s, with a bunch of prominent roles. He was Charles Deetz in the fantasy horror-comedy film “Beetlejuice” (1988), directed by Tim Burton and co-starring Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, and Geena Davis, among others, and before the ’80s ended, he was Elliot Draison in the comedy film “Who’s Harry Crumb?”, directed by Paul Flaherty and starring John Candy, which tells the story of a hapless private detective hired to solve the kidnapping of a wealthy heiress.

He started the ’90s with the role of Dr. Skip Tyler in the thriller film “The Hunt for Red October”, directed by John McTiernan, with Sean Connery in the lead role, and based on the best-selling novel by Tom Clancy. It tells the story of a Soviet submarine captain who attempts to defect to the US, and the race to prevent a nuclear war that ensues.

Jones’s portrayal of Dr. Skip Tyler, a naval analyst and expert on underwater acoustics, was a minor role in the film, but an important one in the plot – Tyler is one of the key figures who helped CIA analyst Jack Ryan, played by Alec Baldwin, decipher the Soviet submarine’s movements and intentions and ultimately prevent a catastrophic war.

Jeffrey teamed up with Broderick again when they worked on the comedy film “Out on a Limb”, directed by Francis Veber in 1992.

Two years later, Jeffrey played the role of The Amazing Criswell, a real-life television psychic and performer known for his flamboyant style and outlandish predictions in the biopic comedy-drama film “Ed Wood”. Jones studied old footage of The Amazing Criswell to prepare for the role, and worked closely with the film’s director, Tim Burton, to develop the character’s mannerisms and speech patterns. He starred alongside Johnny Depp, who played the titular director, Edward D. Wood Jr., and a talented ensemble cast including Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Bill Murray. The film tells the story of Wood’s struggle to make low-budget films in Hollywood during the 1950s and ‘60s, and his friendship with Bela Lugosi (played by Landau), a fading horror movie star.

Continued Success

In 1996 Jeffrey appeared as Thomas Putnam, a wealthy and influential landowner in 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts, in the film adaption of Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible”. The film was directed by Nicholas Hytner and starred Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor, a farmer embroiled in the witch trials after his wife was accused of witchcraft. Winona Ryder played Abigail Williams, the chief accuser who sets the events in motion. Jones’s character, Thomas Putnam, is one of the main instigators of the witch trials, using his wealth and influence to fuel the hysteria and advance his agenda.

Before the decade ended, he was Reverend Steenwyck in the supernatural horror film “Sleepy Hollow”, directed by Burton, who offered the role to Jeffrey which he accepted, joining the talented cast of actors including Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci and Miranda Richardson, among others. The film is set in 1799 and follows Ichabod Crane (played by Johnny Depp), a police constable from New York City who is sent to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders. Along the way, Crane becomes embroiled in a web of supernatural intrigue, and encounters various eccentric and menacing characters, including Steenwyck.

The 2000s and Later Career

He had a slow start to the new millennium, but managed to secure the role of Vice President in the comedy film “How High” in 2001.

In 2004 he was embroiled in a sex scandal, which hindered his future career. From 2004 to 2006, he was A.W. Merrick in the HBO western drama series “Deadwood”, which tells the story of a lawless 1800s town in South Dakot,a and its historical characters such as Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock and others.

Since then, he’s had only a few credits, including the part of Marcus Gladstone in the film “10.0 Earthquake”, co-starring Ian Cusick, and returned as A.W. Merrick in the television movie “Deadwood: The Movie”, a continuation and conclusion of the critically acclaimed series “Deadwood” which was abruptly canceled in 2006 after three seasons.

Sex Scandal, Arrest, and Outcome

In 2002, Jeffrey Jones was arrested for possession of child pornography, and solicitation of a minor to pose for nude photographs. He pleaded no contest to the solicitation charge, and was sentenced to five years probation, counseling, and the requirement to register as a sex offender; he was also arrested twice for failing to update his sex offender status. His criminal record became public following the release of “Deadwood: The Movie”.

Net Worth

According to authoritative sources, Jeffrey Jones’s net worth is estimated at $2 million, as of early 2023.

Personal Life, Dating, Married, Single, Children

While in Ontario, he met voice coach Lloy Coutts, with whom he has a son Julian Coutts, who is now an actor and producer. They never married, and he’s never talked of any other relationship.

Appearance and Body Measurements

Jeffrey Jons has blonde hair and blue eyes. He is known for his towering height, standing at 6ft 4ins (1.94m), while he weighs approximately 255lbs (115kgs).

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