Ron Cephas Jones, who received a 2022 Tony nomination for his performance as Montrellous in Lynn Nottage's Tony-nominated Clyde's, passed away following a long-standing pulmonary issue, according to People. He was 66.
Jones, who may best be known for his Emmy-winning work as William Hill on the NBC drama This Is Us, was born January 8, 1957, in Paterson, New Jersey.
A star of stage and screen, Mr. Jones' Off-Broadway credits were numerous and included roles in Holiday Heart, Everybody's Ruby, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, Our Lady of 121st Street, Richard III, The Wooden Breeks, Satellites, Two Trains Running, The Overwhelming, Wildflower, Titus Andronicus, Hurt Village, Storefront Church, and Between Riverside and Crazy. He received Lucille Lortel nominations for his performances in Two Trains Running and Our Lady of 121st Street and an Audelco Award nomination for his work in the former.
Mr. Jones also received a 1991 Audelco Best Actor Award for Don't Explain at Nuyorican Poets Café and a 1997 Critics Circle Award for his work in the Yale Rep staging of Thunder Knocking on the Door.
The actor made his Broadway debut in the 2004 production of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean as a standby for several roles. He understudied the role of Ralph D in the 2011 Broadway debut of The Motherfucker with the Hat, and played Crooks in the 2014 staging of Of Mice and Men. For his work in Clyde's, he not only earned a Tony nomination but a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.
Jones' screen credits were many and included Sweet and Lowdown, White, He Got Game, Paid in Full, Naked Acts, NYPD Blue, FEDS, Law & Order, Luke Cage, Half Nelson, Across the Universe, and NY Undercover. He won Emmy Awards in 2018 and 2020 for his performance in the aforementioned This Is Us, playing the biological father of the character played by actor Sterling K. Brown.
Mr. Jones, who had received a double lung transplant in 2020, was also an acclaimed poet.
“Throughout the course of his career, his warmth, beauty, generosity, kindness and heart were felt by anyone who had the good fortune of knowing him,” according to a statement from his representative. “He began his career at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and his 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.”
Mr. Jones is survived by his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones, who also won an Emmy the same year as her dad (2020), the first father and daughter ever to do so in the same season.