Dean Jones, legendary Disney actor (1931-2015) in 2013

On September 1, 2015, Hollywood cinema lost another legend. Dean Jones, a legendary actor known for his starring roles in many Disney live-action movies, passed away at the age of 84 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease.

Dean Carroll Jones was born in Decatur, Alabama on January 25, 1931. He started his career after serving in the Navy during the Korean War. He started in theater, but in 1963, after appearing in a film adaptation of the stage production The Yum-Yum Tree, Jones’ life changed when Disney signed him as their lead actor in a series of live-action films.

Jones will be perhaps best known as Jim Douglas, a race car driver who ends up driving a famous Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie in two films, The Love Bug (1968) and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977). However, when his career at Disney started, he was known for saying three specific words…”That Darn Cat“, in the 1965 film of the same name. He would also have lead roles in The Ugly Dachshund (1966), Monkeys, Go Home! (1967)Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968), and The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit (1968) to name a few. Jones was known in these films for not only his witty style talking, but his sense of physical comedy also helped.

In 1976, he took over for Tommy Kirk in the role of Wilby Daniels, the ill-fated human who with the power of a ring’s inscription, turns into a sheepdog in the sequel, The Shaggy D.A. This film would be the basis for The Shaggy Dog  remake in 2006 that starred Tim Allen as an assistant D.A. who suffers the same fate but is bitten by a magical dog instead of a ring.

After a slow down in the 1980’s, Jones returned with an appearance as Kelly Kapowski’s grandfather in the TV-movie Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style and played an evil doctor in the first installment of the Beethoven film series, He even appeared in the remakes of two of his best known films That Darn Cat and The Love Bug, both released in 1997. HIs final film appearance was in 2008’s Mandie and the Secret Tunnel.

He is survived by his second wife, Lory Patrick, and two children from his first marriage.

He will be forever known as a legendary Disney actor who graced us with his quick witty style and at times, very physical comedy. Rest in Peace, Dean Jones.