Character actor LK Jones, who often starred as a “tough guy” in movies and TV westerns, has died of natural causes at the age of 94.
This was reported by his grandson Erte de Garce Diversitysaying Jones was surrounded by family at his Hollywood Hills home when he died.
Jones’ career spanned more than half a century and included a series of films by famed director Sam Peckinpah, who specialized in gritty, unflinching Westerns.
In the 1970s, Jones also directed the cult black comedy The Boy and His Dog, based on the novel by Harlan Ellison and starring a young Don Johnson.
Dearly departed: Character actor LK Jones, who appeared in a number of films and TV westerns often as a “difficult,” has died of natural causes at the age of 94; in a 2006 picture
Jones was born Justus Ellis McQueen Jr. in 1927 in the southeastern Texas town of Beaumont and was named after his father, a railroad worker.
When he was a very small boy, he lost his mother Jessie in a car accident and bounced from town to town under the care of his relatives.
“I had a horse when I was 8 or 9, and I grew up around tough people at the rodeo — my uncle was into roping — so Westerns were light and fun,” he said. Spectrum.
A stint in the Navy was followed by college, where his roommate was Fess Parker, himself a Hollywood actor.
Remember when: It was 1962 when he embarked on what would become his five-film collaboration with Sam Peckinpah, starting with Ride The High Country (pictured)
It was Parker who gave Jones the idea to become an actor and star in Raoul Walsh’s film based on the war novel Battle Cry.
“Fez encouraged me to come out and drew me a map on the back of my shirt showing how to get to the studio,” Jones recalled decades later.
He made his film debut in 1955’s Battle Cry under the name Justus McQueen, but his character’s name was LK Jones, which was the inspiration for his stage name.
As his acting career progressed, he made several appearances in Westerns, from the 1955 television series Cheyenne to the 1960 Elvis Presley film Starburst.
Remember When: In the 1970s, Jones also directed the cult black comedy A Boy and His Dog, based on the novel by Harlan Ellison, starring a young Don Johnson.
During the 1950s, he worked with noted directors Mervyn Leroy and Don Siegel on Into the Unknown and The Annapolis Story, respectively.
In 1962, however, he embarked on what would become his five-film collaboration with Sam Peckinpah, beginning with Ride The High Country.
Jones went on to play supporting roles in Peckinpah’s westerns such as Major Dundee, the classic The Wild Bunch, and The Battle of Cable Hog.
His last picture with the infamous director was “Pat Garrett and Baby Billy”, which was released in 1973.
Back: He made his film debut in 1955’s Battle Cry under the name Justus McQueen, but his character’s name was LK Jones, which was the inspiration for his stage name.
A few years later, Jones told Roger Ebert he and Peckinpah were best friends “for about five or six years before I stopped talking to him.”
“Sam was a genius and I loved him, but he was ridiculous. He drove everyone crazy,” Jones noted a few years ago.
“Most people give up after one show and can’t do it anymore. I’ve done 13 deals with Sam, so you can see where that puts me,” he told the site Blondie’s focus.
“You must be crazy, but I liked him because he’s so good at what he does. He will make you look good. He can’t help it and a lot of people think Sam had it easy, but Sam didn’t have it easy,” Jones added.
Early life: As his acting career progressed, he made several appearances in westerns, including the 1955 television series Cheyenne, opposite Clint Walker (right)
He occasionally turned to directing, beginning with the 1964 urban drama The Devil’s Bedroom, for which he reverted to his birth name.
His most famous directorial venture was the 1975 post-apocalyptic dark comedy The Boy and His Dog, which flopped at the box office but has since become a cult classic.
Jones only returned to direct once after that, for a television episode, and has since said that being at the helm of the project was “too much work”.
Acting, however, continued apace, including on television with Westerns such as Rawhide, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley and Wagon Train.
What a career: In the 1950s, he worked with acclaimed directors Mervyn Leroy and Don Siegel on Into the Unknown and The Annapolis Story (pictured), respectively.
Later in life, he continued to work with top-tier directors, even landing a small role in Martin Scorsese’s 1990s classic, Casino.
In the early 21st century, he appeared in films such as The Patriot with Mel Gibson and his last feature film, Robert Altman’s The Companion in Prairie House in 2006.
About ten years later, his answering machine cheekily informed callers: “I’m somewhere around, probably just counting my money. When I get through, if I’m not too tired, I’ll call back.’
Swan song: At the turn of the 21st century, he appeared in films such as The Patriot with Mel Gibson and his last feature film The Prairie House Companion in 2006 (pictured)
However, as recently as three years ago, he refused to admit that he had retired, claiming that he would take on the project if it was up to his standards.
“I am poor on my own. I can do what I want, so we keep looking and if something comes up, we’ll grab it,” he said.
On the personal front, Jones was married to his college sweetheart, Sue Lewis, for more than 20 years before their divorce in the 1970s.
He is now survived by one daughter, Mindy McQueen, and two sons, Steve Marshall and Randy McQueen.
Joie de vivre: However, as recently as three years ago, he refused to admit that he had retired, claiming that he would take on a project if it met his standards; in a 2005 picture