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Ron Cephas Jones, Emmy-winning ‘This Is Us’ actor, dies at 66

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Ron Cephas Jones, who won two Emmy Awards for his role as a long-lost father who finds redemption on the NBC television drama series “This Is Us,” has died at 66.

His manager, Dan Spilo, confirmed the death and said the cause was a “long-standing pulmonary issue.” Mr. Jones had a double lung transplant in 2020 because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. No other information was immediately available.

On “This Is Us,” which aired from 2016 to 2022, Mr. Jones played William “Shakespeare” Hill, whose life is renewed through his relationship with the family of his son Randall Pearson, played by Sterling K. Brown.

Mr. Jones played a more central role in the series’ early seasons but appeared in some form in all six seasons of the show, which included time-jumping narratives offering recurring opportunities for its actors even after their characters’ deaths.

Mr. Jones, who won Emmys for best guest actor in a drama series in 2018 and 2020, spent most of his career in the theater before and after “This Is Us.”

On Broadway in 2021, he played a truck-stop cook in playwright Lynn Nottage’s “Clyde’s” — a role that brought him a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award nomination for best actor in a featured role in a play.

Mr. Jones was born in Paterson, N.J., on Jan. 8, 1957. He graduated in 1978 from nearby Ramapo College and struggled to find work in theater.

His career got a jump-start in the mid-1980s when he began hanging out and collaborating at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a vital creative hub for poetry, hip-hop and the performing arts.

A breakout role came in 1994 when he played a drug dealer in playwright Cheryl L. West’s drama “Holiday Heart.”

He would spend the ensuing decades constantly in the theater, often in off-Broadway plays in New York, including a title turn as Shakespeare’s “Richard III” at the Public Theater and in roles with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.

His film appearances included “Half Nelson” (2006) with Ryan Gosling and “Dolemite Is My Name” (2019) with Eddie Murphy.

Survivors include a daughter, actress Jasmine Cephas Jones. No other information on survivors was immediately available.



POST AUTHOR: Associated Press

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