Oscar Actors: Jones, Tommy Lee–Background, Career, Awards (Cum Advantage)

December 15, 2020
Tommy Lee Jones Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Social Class: Middle; mother, police officer, school teacher, beauty shop owner, father, oil field worker.





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Stage Debut:

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Film Debut:

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Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image: character actor

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Tommy Lee Jones (born September 15, 1946) is an American actor and filmmaker.

He has received four Oscar Award nominations, winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in the 1993 thriller The Fugitive.

His other notable starring roles include Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove, Agent K in the Men in Black film series, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in No Country for Old Men, the villain Two-Face in Batman Forever, terrorist William “Bill” Strannix in Under Siege, Texas Ranger Roland Sharp in Man of the House, rancher Pete Perkins in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which he also directed, Colonel Chester Phillips in Captain America: The First Avenger, CIA Director Robert Dewey in Jason Bourne, and Warden Dwight McClusky in Natural Born Killers.

Jones has also portrayed real-life figures such as businessman Howard Hughes in The Amazing Howard Hughes, Radical Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln, executed murderer Gary Gilmore in The Executioner’s Song, U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur in Emperor, businessman Clay Shaw, the only person prosecuted in connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in JFK, Oliver Lynn, Doolittle, in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and baseball player Ty Cobb in Cobb.

Jones was born on September 15, 1946, in San Saba, Texas. His mother, Lucille Marie (née Scott, born 1928), was a police officer, school teacher, and beauty shop owner, and his father, Clyde C. Jones (1926–1986), was an oil field worker.

The two were married and divorced twice. He has said that he is of part Cherokee descent.[3] He was raised in Midland, Texas,[4] and attended Robert E. Lee High School.

Jones soon moved to Dallas and graduated from the St. Mark’s School of Texas in 1965, which he attended on scholarship.

He attended Harvard College on a need-based scholarship. He was the roommate of future Vice President Al Gore. As an upperclassman, he stayed in Dunster House with roommates Gore and Bob Somerby, who later became editor of the media criticism site The Daily Howler. Jones graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1969; his senior thesis was on “the mechanics of Catholicism” in the works of Flannery O’Connor.

Jones played guard on Harvard’s undefeated 1968 football team. He was named as a first-team All-Ivy League selection, and played in the 1968 Game. The game featured a memorable and last-minute Harvard 16-point comeback to tie Yale. He recounted his memory of “the most famous football game in Ivy League history” in the documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.

Jones moved to New York to become an actor, making his Broadway debut in 1969’s A Patriot for Me in a number of supporting roles. In 1970, he landed his first film role, coincidentally playing a Harvard student in Love Story (Erich Segal, the author of Love Story, said that he based the lead character of Oliver on aspects of two undergraduate roommates he knew while on a sabbatical at Harvard, Jones and Al Gore.

In early 1971, he returned to Broadway in Abe Burrows’ Four on a Garden where he shared the stage with Carol Channing and Sid Caesar. Between 1971 and 1975 he portrayed Dr. Mark Toland on the ABC soap opera, One Life to Live. He returned to the stage for a short-lived 1974 production of Ulysses in Nighttown with Zero Mostel, directed by Burgess Meredith.[11] It was followed by the acclaimed TV movie The Amazing Howard Hughes, where he played the lead role.

In films, he played an escaped convict hunted in Jackson County Jail (1976), a Vietnam veteran in Rolling Thunder (1977), an automobile mogul, co-starring with Laurence Olivier in the Harold Robbins drama The Betsy, and Police Detective ‘John Neville’ opposite Faye Dunaway in the 1978 thriller Eyes of Laura Mars.

In 1980, Jones earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of country singer Loretta Lynn’s husband, Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn, in the popular Coal Miner’s Daughter. In 1981, he played a drifter opposite Sally Field in Back Roads, a comedy that received middling reviews.

In 1983, he received an Emmy for Best Actor for his performance as murderer Gary Gilmore in a TV adaptation of Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song. That same year he starred in a pirate adventure, Nate and Hayes, playing the heavily bearded pirate Captain Bully Hayes.

In 1989, he earned another Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the acclaimed television mini-series Lonesome Dove, based on the best-seller by Larry McMurtry.

In the 1990s, blockbuster hits such as The Fugitive co-starring Harrison Ford, Batman Forever co-starring Val Kilmer, and Men in Black with Will Smith made Jones one of the highest paid and most in-demand actors in Hollywood. His performance as Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive received broad acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a sequel. When he accepted his Oscar, his head was shaved for his role in the film Cobb, which he made light of in his speech: “The only thing a man can say at a time like this is ‘I am not really bald’. Actually I’m lucky to be working”.

Among his other well-known performances during the 1990s were those of the accused conspirator Clay Shaw/Clay Bertrand in the 1991 film JFK (which earned him another Oscar nomination), as a terrorist who hijacks a U.S. Navy battleship in Under Siege and as a maximum-security prison warden who’s in way over his head in Natural Born Killers. He also played the role of “Reverend” Roy Foltrigg in the 1994 film The Client.

Jones co-starred with director Clint Eastwood as astronauts in the 2000 film Space Cowboys, in which both played retired pilots and friends/rivals leading a space rescue mission together.

In 2005, the first feature Jones directed, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, was presented at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Jones’s character speaks both English and Spanish in the film. His performance won him the Best Actor Award at Cannes. His first film as a director had been The Good Old Boys in 1995, a made-for-television movie.

Two strong performances in 2007 marked a resurgence in Jones’s career, one as a beleaguered father investigating the disappearance of his soldier son in In the Valley of Elah, the other as a Texas sheriff hunting an assassin in the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men. For the former, he was nominated for an Academy Award.

Jones has been a spokesman for Japanese brewing company Suntory since 2006. He can be seen in various Japanese TV commercials of Suntory’s Coffee brand Boss as a character called “Alien Jones,” an extraterrestrial who takes the form of a human being to check on the world of humans. Many of these commercials can be seen on YouTube.[14] In 2011, Jones appeared in public service announcements on Japanese television, joining a number of other popular figures who sang two sentimental songs in remembrance of those lost in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

In 2010, Jones appeared alongside Ben Affleck in the recession drama The Company Men. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where early reviews praised Jones’s performance as “pitch-perfect.”[15] Jones had a role in the Marvel Studios film, Captain America: The First Avenger.[16] He also directed, produced and co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson in an adaptation of The Sunset Limited.

In 2012, there was another turning point in Jones’s career, starting with a reprisal of his role as Agent K in Men in Black 3, the romantic dramedy Hope Springs, and co-starring as Thaddeus Stevens in Spielberg’s Lincoln. Jones’s performance in Lincoln received wide critical acclaim, and he was Oscar nominated for the fourth time, for Best Supporting Actor.

Jones was married to Kate Lardner, the niece of screenwriter and journalist Ring Lardner Jr., from 1971 to 1978. He has two children from his second marriage to Kimberlea Cloughley, the daughter of Phil Hardberger, former mayor of San Antonio: Austin Leonard (born 1982) and Victoria Kafka (born 1991).

On March 19, 2001, he married his third wife, Dawn Laurel.

Jones resides in Terrell Hills, Texas, a city just outside of downtown San Antonio, and speaks fluent Spanish, which he used to good effect in Men in Black.

He owns a 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) cattle ranch in San Saba County, Texas,[18] and a ranch near Van Horn, Texas, which served as the set for his film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. He also owns a home and farm in Wellington, Florida. Jones is a polo player and he has a house in a polo country club in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a supporter of the Polo Training Foundation.[19] He is an avid San Antonio Spurs fan; he is often seen court-side at Spurs games.[20][21] At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, he gave the nominating speech for his college roommate, Al Gore, as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States.[22]


1970 Love Story Hank Simpson Arthur Hiller
1973 Life Study Gus Michael Nebbia
1975 Eliza’s Horoscope Tommy Lee Gordon Sheppard
1976 Jackson County Jail Coley Blake Michael Miller
1977 Rolling Thunder Corporal Johnny Vohden John Flynn
1978 The Betsy Angelo Perino Daniel Petrie
Eyes of Laura Mars John Neville Irvin Kershner
1980 Coal Miner’s Daughter Doolittle “Mooney” Lynn Michael Apted
Barn Burning Ab Snopes Peter Werner Short film
1981 Back Roads Elmore Pratt Martin Ritt
1982 The Executioner’s Song Gary Gilmore Lawrence Schiller
1983 Nate and Hayes Captain Bully Hayes Ferdinand Fairfax
1984 The River Rat Billy Thomas Rickman
1986 The Park Is Mine Mitch Steven Hilliard Stern
Black Moon Rising Sam Quint Harley Cokliss
1987 The Big Town George Cole Ben Bolt & Harold Becker
1988 Stormy Monday Cosmo Mike Figgis
Gotham Eddie Mallard Lloyd Fonvielle
1989 The Package Thomas Boyette Andrew Davis
1990 Fire Birds Brad Little David Green
1991 JFK Clay Shaw / Clay Bertrand Oliver Stone
1992 Under Siege William Strannix Andrew Davis
1993 House of Cards Jake Beerlander Michael Lessac
The Fugitive Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard Andrew Davis
Heaven & Earth Steve Butler Oliver Stone
1994 Blown Away Ryan Gaerity Stephen Hopkins
The Client “Reverend” Roy Foltrigg Joel Schumacher
Natural Born Killers Warden Dwight McClusky Oliver Stone
Blue Sky Maj. Henry “Hank” Marshall Tony Richardson
Cobb Ty Cobb Ron Shelton
1995 Batman Forever Harvey Dent / Two-Face Joel Schumacher
1997 Volcano Michael Roark Mick Jackson
Men in Black Kevin Brown / Agent K Barry Sonnenfeld
1998 U.S. Marshals Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard Stuart Baird
Small Soldiers Chip Hazard Joe Dante Voice
1999 Double Jeopardy Travis Lehman Bruce Beresford
2000 Rules of Engagement Col. Hayes “Hodge” Hodges William Friedkin
Space Cowboys William “Hawk” Hawkins Clint Eastwood
2002 Men in Black II Kevin Brown / Agent K Barry Sonnenfeld
2003 The Hunted L. T. Bonham William Friedkin
The Missing Samuel Jones Ron Howard
2005 Man of the House Roland Sharp Stephen Herek Also executive producer
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Pete Perkins Himself Also producer/director
Feature directorial debut
Selected for the main competition section at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival
2006 A Prairie Home Companion Axeman Robert Altman
2007 No Country for Old Men Ed Tom Bell Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
In the Valley of Elah Hank Deerfield Paul Haggis
2009 In the Electric Mist Dave Robicheaux Bertrand Tavernier
2010 The Company Men Gene McClary John Wells
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Colonel Chester Phillips Joe Johnston
2012 Men in Black 3 Kevin Brown / Agent K Barry Sonnenfeld
Hope Springs Arnold Soames David Frankel
Lincoln Thaddeus Stevens Steven Spielberg
Emperor General Douglas MacArthur Peter Webber
2013 The Family[23] Robert Stansfield Luc Besson
2014 The Homesman George Briggs Himself Also writer/executive producer/director
Selected for the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival[24]
2016 Criminal Dr. Micah Franks Ariel Vromen
Jason Bourne Robert Dewey Paul Greengrass
Mechanic: Resurrection Max Adams Dennis Gansel
2017 Shock and Awe Joseph L. Galloway Rob Reiner
Just Getting Started Leo McKay Ron Shelton
2019 Ad Astra Clifford McBride James Gray
2020 The Comeback Trail, Duke Montana George Gallo; post-production; Wander Jimmy Cleats April Mullen