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first_img View Comments Dean Jones, a Broadway alum who created the role of Bobby in Company, died on September 1, Variety reports. His death at his Los Angeles home, following copmlications from Parkinson’s disease, was confirmed by Richard Hoffmann. Jones was 84.Jones was born on January 25, 1931 in Decatur, Alabama to Andrew and Nolia Jones. Following his service in the navy during the Korean War, he joined the Bird Cage Theater at the California amusement park Knott’s Berry Farm. It was the same stage that launched the careers of Steve Martin and Lauren Tewes.After stepping in last-minute during an out-of-town tryout in Boston, Jones made his Broadway debut in 1960 opposite Jane Fonda in There Was a Little Girl. Later that year, he appeared in Under the Yum-Yum Tree. He would go on to reprise his performance as Dave Manning in the 1963 film adaptation.In 1962, Jones starred in the NBC series Ensign O’Toole, drawing from his military experience to play the titular officer aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Pacific Ocean. He went on to appear in numerous Disney films over the course of his career, including That Darn Cat!, The Ugly Dachshund, and what has become his signature screen performance: The Love Bug, in which he played Herbie’s driver Jim Douglas. He reprised his performance in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo and the TV series Herbie, the Love Bug. He was named a Disney Legend in 1995.Following a string of on-screen appearances, including the romantic comedy Any Wednesday opposite his former Broadway co-star Fonda, Jones returned to the stage in Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company. He created the leading role of Bobby, a bachelor who navigates the various marriages of his friends as he searches for —and perhaps flees from—a relationship of his own.Jones played the role in Boston before the Broadway bow and originated it on the Great White Way, though withdrew shortly after opening night. He cited his departure to stress, as the role was perhaps too close to home while he went through a divorce with his first wife, Mae Entwisle. Jones was replaced by Larry Kert, who received a Tony nomination for his performance: a rare occurrence for a replacement.After Company, Jones married actress Lory Patrick. It was around that time that he became a devout Christian. He took on many roles in projects with religious themes, including Into the Light on Broadway and the Visual Bible series. In 1998, he founded the Christian Rescue Fund, an organization aimed to provide relief for people persecuted for their religion.Jones is survived by his wife Lory, their son Michael Pastick, his two daughters from his marriage with Entwisle, Caroline Jones and Deanna Demaree, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.last_img read more

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