Actor Ron Cephas Jones, famously known for his outstanding roles in This Is Us and Luke Cage, has died at age 66.
PEOPLE Magazine reported the actor passed away on August 19. A statement via Jones’ publicist read, “Beloved and award-winning actor Ron Cephas Jones has passed away at the age of 66 due to a long-standing pulmonary issue.”
“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. 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.”
The multi-award-winning actor won two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2018 and 2020 for his poignant portrayal of William H. Hill (Randall’s biological father, portrayed by Sterling K. Brown) on NBC’s groundbreaking drama This is Us. Jones’ most recent role was Leander “Shreve” Scoville on Truth Be Told. His acting career began in 1994.
Nuyorican Poets Cafe honored Jones on its Instagram page on August 20. The longstanding New York staple for artists’ Chairman of the Board of Directors, Rome Neal, shared his condolences and experiences with the veteran actor.
“It is with a sad heart that I write this… The Nuyorican Poets Cafe family of thespians and poets who have known and loved my dear ‘Bro- Super Star,’ Ron Cephas Jones in the early ’90s will never forget the many superb performances he shared with us on stage as the character ‘Lee Morgan’ in the Samuel Harps play ‘Don’t Explain,’ which I directed,” the caption continued. “Ron and I would attest with pride that this production was where he launched his career as an actor. Receiving critical reviews in all the major newspapers and garnishing his very first acting award (an AUDELCO Award as lead actor in a dramatic play.”
“Ron was on his way to becoming one of the most respected actors in the business, Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and TV (winning two EMMY Awards… NBC’s This Is Us). I say all this not to overshadow Ron’s ability, after his performances on a Friday night, to come downstairs from the dressing room to intrigue the SLAM audience with his exquisite poetry. King Ron’s love for jazz was also heightened as he spent many nights enjoying our jazz and Latin jazz sets, even performing his poetry with his own jazz trio of fine musicians on our stage .”
“On the behalf of the Nuyorican, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Ron’s ‘Bird,’ his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones and her mother Kim Lesley Hartman, as well as all who came to know and love him for his artistry and “cool” spirit. Heaven High to my Bro-Super Star Ron Cephas Jones… Love you!”
His friend and co-star, actress Octavia Spencer, also expressed her condolences and praised Jones for his outstanding skill as an actor and dedication to his craft via Instagram. The actress admitted to being “heartbroken” after hearing about Jones’ death.
Spencer wrote, “I’m heartbroken to lose my dear friend and colleague Ron Cephas Jones @cephasjaz. Ron was an incredibly talented actor and, most importantly, a wonderfully kind human being. Every day on set with Ron was a good day. I’m sending all my love to his daughter Jasmine, family, friends and fans 🤍🕊️ Update: this one is hitting very hard. I learned so much from Ron in every single scene we had together. Whenever I saw his name on the call sheet, I would get excited because I knew I’d be getting a year’s worth of technique in that 8-hour day. For those pursuing acting as a living, let Emmy Award Winner, Ron Cephas Jones, be the type of perfection you strive to achieve. That man could break down a scene. Jasmine gets it honestly.”
Brown also shared a post expressing his love for Jones following his death.
“Life imitated art today, and one of the most wonderful people the world has ever seen is no longer with us. @cephasjaz has passed away, and the world is a little less bright. Brother, you are loved. And you will be missed,” Brown continued. “Keep them laughing in the next phase of existence, and I’ll see you when I get there. ❤️✌🏿✊🏿”
The beloved actor and New Jersey native is survived by his daughter and fellow actress, Jasmine.
Rest in peace, Ron!
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