Born in San Saba, Texas, the son of Clyde C. and Lucille Marie (Scott) Jones, Tommy Lee Jones worked in underwater construction and on an oil rig. He attended St. Mark's School of Texas, a prestigious prep school for boys in Dallas, on a scholarship, and went to Harvard on another scholarship.He roomed with future Vice President Al Gore and played offensive guard in the famous 29-29 Harvard-Yale football game of '68 known as "The Tie." He received a B.A. in English literature and graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1969.
Following college, he moved to New York and began his theatrical career on Broadway in "A Patriot for Me" (1969). In 1970, he made his film debut in Love Story (1970). While living in New York, he continued to appear in various plays, both on- and off-Broadway: "Fortune and Men's Eyes" (1969); "Four on a Garden" (1971); "Blue Boys" (1972); "Ulysses in Nighttown" (1974). During this time, he also appeared on a daytime soap opera, "One Life to Live" (1968) as Dr. Mark Toland from 1971-75. He moved with wife Kate Lardner, granddaughter of short-story writer/columnist Ring Lardner, and her two children from a previous marriage, to Los Angeles.
There he began to get some roles on television: "Charlie's Angels" (1976) (pilot episode); Smash-Up on Interstate 5 (1976) (TV); and The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) (TV). While working on the movie Back Roads (1981), he met and fell in love with Kimberlea Cloughley, whom he later married. More roles in television--both on network and cable--stage and film garnered him a reputation as a strong, explosive, thoughtful actor who could handle supporting as well as leading roles. He made his directorial debut in The Good Old Boys (1995) (TV) on TNT. In addition to directing and starring in the film, he co-wrote the teleplay (with J.T. Allen). The film, based on Elmer Kelton's novel, is set in west Texas where Jones has strong family ties. Consequently, this story of a cowboy facing the end of an era has special meaning for him.
|Dawn Jones||(19 March 2001 - present)|
|Kimberlea Cloughley||(30 May 1981 - 23 March 1996) (divorced) 2 children|
|Kate Lardner||(31 December 1971 - 9 February 1978) (divorced)|
He frequently plays hard-edged but sarcastic law enforcement and military officers.
He is known both on-screen and off for his crusty, cranky persona
His films are often set in Texas
Often plays real-life historical figures (Thaddeus Stevens, Howard Hughes, Gary Gilmore, Ty Cobb, Oliver Lynn, Clay Shaw)
Gravelly, deep voice with thick Texas accent
Never took an acting class.
He and Al Gore were roommates while the two were students at Harvard University. The two remain close friends.
Part time cattle rancher, owns 3,000-acre ranch near San Antonio, TX.
Plays polo and raises polo ponies. His team won the U.S. Polo Association's Western Challenge Cup in 1993. Invites Harvard University's best polo players to his ranch to practice each fall.
Father's name was Clyde C. Jones -- he did not have a middle name, just an initial.
Injured after falling from horse during polo match. [30 October 1998]
Writes most of his own most memorable lines in films: The Fugitive (1993)... when Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) tells Marshal Gerard, "I didn't kill my wife," Gerard replies, "I don't care!" Under Siege (1992)... William Strannix's speech after he loses his mind: "Saturday morning cartoons... This little piggy... " Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) ... John Neville's revealing speech at the end of the movie.
Ten days after graduating from Harvard, he landed his first role in the Broadway production of "A Patriot for Me" (with Maximilian Schell), which closed after 49 performances. He got his agent after giving a letter of introduction to actress Jane Alexander. His story of how he found an agent and a Broadway job so quickly was written about in an issue of "Ripley's Believe It or Not".
Speaks Spanish fluently.
He is a first cousin of Boxcar Willie, a famous country singer.
Owns the movie rights to Cormac McCarthy's controversial novel "Blood Meridian," which many consider unfilmable.
Born on the exact same day as filmmaker and good friend Oliver Stone.
Was the studio's original (and preferred) choice to play Snake Plisken in John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981). The studio was reluctant to cast Kurt Russell, who ultimately got the part, because of his previous work.
Has worked twice with actresses playing Katharine Hepburn. In The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) (TV), he played Howard Hughes opposite Tovah Feldshuh as Hepburn. In The Missing (2003/I), his daughter is played by Cate Blanchett, who played Hepburn in The Aviator (2004)--another biopic about Hughes.
Is the only Texan to have played fellow Texan Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator (2004)), Jason Robards (Melvin and Howard (1980)) and Terry O'Quinn (The Rocketeer (1991)) were born in California, Illinois and Michigan, respectively.
Is an avid San Antonio Spurs fan.
Jones was also a resident of Midland, Texas, and attended the same high school as the former First Lady Laura Bush.
An eighth-generation Texan, he has a Cherokee Native American grandparent, and is mostly of Welsh ancestry.
An animated caricature of him appeared in an episode of the animated series adaptation of Men in Black (1997) alongside an animated caricature of his MIB co-star Will Smith, set against a scene parodying another hit film starring Smith, Independence Day (1996).
Is an avid polo player. He even bought a house in a polo country club in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In Batman Forever (1995), his character of "Two-Face" flips a coin to see if his victims should live or die. Twelve years later he played a sheriff in No Country for Old Men (2007) pursuing an assassin who kills random victims by asking them to call a coin toss.
Mother was Lucille Marie Scott.
Had a younger brother, born 3 years after the actor, who died in infancy.
Became friends with Al Gore when they were roommates at Harvard University, and he was asked to host the Nobel Peace Prize concert for Gore.
At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, he presented the nominating speech for Al Gore as the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States.
Was set to star in Everybody's All-American (1988) in 1982, but the studio backed out partly because they did not believe that Jones was leading man material. Jones has said that he found it all amusing. Dennis Quaid got the part when Taylor Hackford took over the project.
Was set to star in Savior (1998), but had to back out due to other commitments.
Somebody's gonna give you some money to perform a job, you do your best to make 'em a good hand...
It's no mean calling to bring fun into the afternoons of large numbers of people. That too is part of my job, and I'm happy to serve when called on.
My thanks to the Academy for the very finest, greatest award that any actor can ever receive. The only thing a man can say at a time like this is -- I am not really bald.
I do not have a sense of humor of any recognizable sort.
[on how he learned to direct] I've worked with more than 50 directors and I've paid attention since day one. That's pretty much been my education, apart from studying art history and shooting with my own cameras. I've seen 50 different sets of mistakes and 50 different ways of achieving. You just leave the bad part out.
I really enjoyed a remark that Howard Hawks once made. He said the most important thing is not to ask an actor to do anything he can't do. Same thing goes for horses.
[on working with famous movie stars] I feel pretty lucky. Those guys, they know my name. They know who I am. Not bad for a little Indian boy. Not bad.
You just look for good parts and good stories and a good company to work with. Characters with no integrity are just as interesting as characters with lots of integrity.
I love cinema, and I love agriculture.
[regarding the furor over the violence in Natural Born Killers (1994)] Those who say that a work of art is an invitation to violent anti-social behavior are not very bright.
It's been said, truthfully, that every actor has a moment in every year, at least, when he knows for sure that he'll never work again. That's a more or less humorous way to point to the insecurity that comes with the job. I think that's why [Laurence Olivier] said, "If you have any choice at all, don't be an actor".
I bear no resemblance to Douglas MacArthur whatsoever. But a campaign hat, some aviator glasses and a corncob pipe go a long way.
[on Will Smith] Will is more generous than anyone, and he spreads joy. He walks into a studio, walks onto a set, and he makes certain that everybody's happy. He can't help himself.
|Men in Black (1997)||$7,000,000|
|U.S. Marshals (1998)||$10,000,000|
|Men in Black II (2002)||$20,000,000+ gross %|
|No Country for Old Men (2007)||$10,000,000|
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