Ron Cephas Jones Emmy-winning star of “This Is Us,” dies at 66

Ron Cephas Jones Emmy-winning star deis at 66. A seasoned stage actor renowned for his portrayal of a reformed long-lost father in the NBC television drama series “This Is Us,” has passed away at the age of 66, according to a statement from a representative on Saturday. Jones had earned two Emmy Awards for his compelling performance on the show.

“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,” the statement continued. “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.”

Ron Cephas Jones’ manager, Dan Spilo, conveyed through an emailed statement that the actor passed away as a result of a longstanding pulmonary ailment. Spilo further mentioned, “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.”

Jones had undergone a double lung transplant in 2020 due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which led to an approximately two-month-long hospitalization in Los Angeles.

Ron Cephas Jones portrayed William “Shakespeare” Hill on the television drama series “This Is Us,” a character whose life finds renewal through his connection with the Pearson family, particularly his son Randall Pearson, played by Sterling K. Brown.

After Jones’ passing, Sterling K. Brown expressed his sentiments in an Instagram post, saying, “One of the most wonderful people the world has ever seen is no longer with us. The world is a little less bright. Brother, you are loved. And you will be missed.”

Jones played a prominent role in the earlier seasons of the show and maintained a presence throughout its six-season run. The series employed time-jumping narratives, allowing actors continued appearances even after their characters’ deaths.

Jones earned Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2018 and 2020, with two additional nominations.

“This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman shared his thoughts on X (formerly Twitter), stating, “Ron was the best of the best — on screen, on stage, and in real life. My God: what an actor. I don’t think I ever changed a single take of his in a cut because everything he did was perfect.”

Jones primarily built his career in the theater, a path he pursued before and after “This Is Us.” Despite facing health challenges after his transplant, he returned to Broadway and maintained his passion for performing.

Speaking to The New York Times in a late 2021 interview, Jones revealed he had been quietly dealing with respiratory issues since he began working on “This Is Us.” He remarked, “The idea of not performing again seemed worse to me than death.”

His dedication to the stage led to a Tony Award nomination and a 2022 Drama Desk Award win for his role as a truck-stop cook in the Broadway play “Clyde’s,” written by Lynn Nottage.

A native of Paterson, New Jersey, Jones shifted his focus from studying jazz to theater during his time at Ramapo College. He embarked on various roles, including a period as a bus driver in Southern California.

Jones’ career found a significant breakthrough in 1994 when he starred in playwright Cheryl West’s drama, “Holiday Heart.” He remained committed to theater throughout his life, participating in Off-Broadway productions in New York and collaborating with creative hubs like the Nuyorican Poets Café.

He also appeared in various TV shows such as “Mr. Robot,” “Luke Cage,” and “Lisey’s Story,” in addition to film roles including “Half Nelson” (2006) with Ryan Gosling and “Dolemite Is My Name” (2019) with Eddie Murphy.

Ron Cephas Jones is survived by his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones.

Ron Cephas Jones Emmy-winning star

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