US actor Ron Cephas Jones has died at the age of 66.
A veteran stage actor, he was best known for the series This Is Us – his role as a long-lost father who finds redemption earned him two Emmy Awards.
Jones had a “long-standing pulmonary issue”, his manager told US outlets. He had a double lung transplant in 2020, according to media reports.
His “kindness and heart were felt by anyone who had the good fortune of knowing him”, his manager said.
Jones’s love for the stage “was present throughout his entire career, including his recent Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning performance for his role in Clyde’s on Broadway”, the statement added.
Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, who played alongside Jones in the series Truth Be Told, was among the co-stars remembering the late actor.
She wrote on Instagram that she was “heartbroken” by the news.
“Ron was an incredibly talented actor and, most importantly, a wonderfully kind human being,” Spencer said. “Every day on set with Ron was a good day.”
In This Is Us, Jones played William “Shakespeare” Hill, a father who abandoned his child at birth before connecting with his son’s adoptive family in later life.
Sterling K Brown, who plays Hill’s son, Randall Pearson, paid tribute to Jones on Instagram: “Life imitated art today, and one of the most wonderful people the world has ever seen is no longer with us.”
‘I knew William’
New Jersey-born Jones, a jazz aficionado, once worked as a California bus driver before returning to New York in the mid-1980s where he pursued his acting career.
Speaking about his celebrated role with content platform Build Series, Jones said: “I knew William, I grew up with men like him. A large part of him is inside me already, so it was more about reaching inside and remembering the men I grew up with like him.”
Jones won the Emmy for best guest actor in a drama series for the role in 2018 and 2020.
US actress Mandy Moore, who played Rebecca Pearson on the show, said getting to know and work with him was the “greatest gift”.
“He was pure magic as a human and an artist… I will treasure all of the moments forever,” she wrote on Instagram.
The show’s creator Dan Fogelman described Jones as “the best of the best – on screen, on stage, and in real life”.
“A massive loss… The coolest,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The easiest hang and laugh. And my God: what an actor.”
Jones spent most of his career in the theatre before and after This is Us. He worked with Oscar-winning director Sir Sam Mendes on productions of As You Like It and The Tempest.
Sir Sam told the PA news agency he was “beyond sad” at the news of his death.
“An absolutely wonderful actor, and the gentlest, wisest, most soulful man,” he said.
Source : BBC