Theatre News

Award-winning actor Ron Cephas Jones has died aged 66

The performer appeared on both sides of the Atlantic

Ron Cephas Jones
Ron Cephas Jones, © David Gordon

Emmy and Drama Desk Award-winning actor Ron Cephas Jones has died following a struggle with “a long-standing pulmonary issue.” The cause of death was confirmed by a representative for the actor speaking to People. Jones was 66.

Jones was a fixture of the New York stage, having appeared in the Broadway productions of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Motherfucker with the Hat, the most recent revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (the piece was also broadcast via NT Live), and Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s, for which he was nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award, winning the latter.

A member of LAByrinth Theater Company, Jones appeared in the original productions of several plays by that troupe’s most celebrated playwright, Stephen Adly Guirgis: Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (2000), Our Lady of 121st Street (2003), and the return engagement of Between Riverside and Crazy (2015).

He performed on UK stages – in the likes of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at the Donmar Warehouse, as well as Sam Mendes’s Bridge Project shows at the Old Vic.

Jones was best known to television audiences for his portrayal of William Hill on the NBC series This Is Us. He won two Emmy Awards for his performance, in 2018 and 2020. That year, he and his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, became the first father-daughter duo to win Emmy Awards in the same year. She survives her father.

Jones also appeared in the television series Truth Be Told, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Luke Cage, The Get Down, and Mr. Robot. His final television role will be Nation of Islam leader

Ron Cephas Jones was born on January 8, 1957 in Paterson, New Jersey, where his parents owned a corner store. In a 2021 interview with TheaterMania, he discussed the experience and how it prepared him to play the sandwich guru Montrellous in Clyde’s. He also mentioned his version of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, which he performed via streaming for the Old Globe during the pandemic.