Jones was born in Toulminville, Alabama, a neighborhood of Mobile, on April 10, 1968. His father was a professional baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies. He moved to Mauldin, South Carolina, when he was a teen and graduated from Mauldin High School in 1985. One of his early acting experiences involved playing a werewolf in a haunted house to help raise money for the junior/senior prom. Jones enrolled in the College of Charleston, South Carolina. He left in 1990 without finishing his degree.
To pursue his interest in the entertainment industry, Jones, together with comedian Michael Fechter, formed a production company, Homeboy's Productions and Advertising. Together Jones and Fechter worked on several projects including a McDonald's commercial with basketball superstar Michael Jordan for the McDonald's specialty sandwich the "McJordan".
He scored his first Hollywood job in 1987, writing for the NBC comedy A Different World, on which he had a small guest role in the season five finale. During 1991-92, Jones penned the Fox series Roc and, in 1993, he co-produced The Sinbad Show. He also made a brief appearance on the FOX sitcom Herman's Head in 1992.
After hosting Fox's music series Sound FX, in 1994, Jones became one of the original nine cast members of MADtv. Unlike some of his fellow original repertory performers on MADtv, Jones came to the show with limited sketch comedy experience. However, his comedy writing and television producing skills proved to be valuable to the early success of the show.
Throughout Seasons One and Two of MADtv, Jones produced characters like the Cabana Chat band leader Dexter St. Croix and Reverend LaMont Nixon Fatback, the vocal follower of Christopher Walken. He was also noted for his impressions of Thomas Mikal Ford, Temuera Morrison, Warwick Davis, Danny DeVito, Michael Jai White, Eddie Griffin, and Ice Cube.
After two seasons on MADtv, Jones left the show at the end of its second season to pursue a movie career. However, Jones returned to MADtv in 2004 to celebrate its 200th episode.
Other television projectsEdit
Aside from MADtv, Jones made many other television appearances. Perhaps his most popular and enduring television appearance was not in the form of a sitcom or television drama, but rather in a series of humorous commercials for a soda company. In 2000, Jones became the spokesperson for 7 Up and he gained wide recognition.
This exposure led to a plethora of opportunities for Jones. First, he hosted an HBO First Look special in 2000 and then, in 2003, Jones was given his own late night talk show on FX called The Orlando Jones Show. Although his talk show was short lived, Jones continued to make additional television appearances. In 2003, he appeared on The Bernie Mac Show and on Girlfriends. In 2006, Jones decided to return to television as one of the lead characters of ABC's crime drama The Evidence, as Cayman Bishop. He has also appeared in two episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, (with Tyler James Williams, who is often mistaken for Jones' son) the first in 2007 as Chris's substitute teacher and the second in 2008 as Clint Huckstable, an allusion to the character Cliff Huxtable played by Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show.
In 2008, he appeared as Harold Wilcox, a violent veteran with PTSD, on New Amsterdam. In the first season of the show, Jones also starred on Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out. Jones was the first guest star on the show. Jones was the co-host of ABC's Crash Course (which was canceled after 4 episodes). On November 16, 2009, it was announced on TV Guide that Orlando has been cast as Marcus Foreman, Eric Foreman's brother on House, M.D. appearing in the season six episode Moving the Chains. In 2013, he was hired as a principal actor in the FOX television series Sleepy Hollow. The freshman drama opened to FOX's highest fall drama premiere numbers since the premiere of '24' in 2001. In 2016, Jones was cast as Mr. Nancy in American Gods.
After leaving MADtv, Jones expanded his cinema resume. He appeared in a bit part in his first big screen film, In Harm's Way (1991), Jones then joined Larry David in the feature Sour Grapes (1998), playing the character of an itinerant man. Subsequently, he appeared in Woo (1990), Mike Judge's Office Space (1999), alongside fellow MADtv alumnus David Herman, and in Barry Levinson's praised drama, Liberty Heights (1999). Since then, Jones has appeared in Magnolia (1999), New Jersey Turnpikes (1999) and in Harold Ramis's Bedazzled (2000).
During the 2000s, Jones' career began to branch out. In addition to his witty appearances in the 7-Up campaigns, Jones played the role of Clifford Franklin in The Replacements (2000) and the horror film From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2003). In 2002, Jones landed the lead role of Daryl Chase in the action-dramedy Double Take (2001), alongside Eddie Griffin, and worked with David Duchovny, Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore in Ivan Reitman's sci-fi comedy, Evolution (2001). Jones was also in the 2009 film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant and he appeared as the computer Vox 114 in The Time Machine (2002). His other more recent films includes Biker Boyz (2003), Godzilla (2005), Runaway Jury (2003) and Primeval (2004). Jones appeared in an uncredited cameo and played in Grindhouse Planet Terror (2007 film).
In 2011 Jones appeared in the documentary film Looking for Lenny in which he talks about Lenny Bruce and freedom of speech. In 2012, Jones starred in Joe Penna's original interactive thriller series Meridian created in conjunction with Fourth Wall Studios.
Jones has been featured in many voice acting projects over the years. In 1993, Jones appeared in Yuletide in the 'hood and in 1998, he made a guest appearance in the animated comedy TV Series, King Of The Hill. More recently, he lent his voice to the TV series Father of the Pride and the video games Halo 2 as the marine Sergeant Banks as well as other black marines and L.A. Rush. In 2006, he co-created, produced and voice acted for the MTV2 animated series The Adventures of Chico and Guapo.
In early April 2013, it was largely thought that Jones would be taking Tyler Perry's place as Madea. This stemmed from Jones's own report that he would be taking over the role, and photography of himself impersonating Madea. This led to public outcry from fans. Perry later revealed, however, that this was an elaborate prank played by Jones, stating, "That was an April Fools' joke that HE did. Not true. And not funny. When I’m done with Madea, she is done.
Jones married former model Jacqueline Staph in 2009. They have a daughter. In October 2011, Jones provoked controversy when he joked on Twitter that someone should kill former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. He apologized for the comment several days later.
Filmography and Connections Edit
- American Gods (2017-2019) - 3 episodes
- Room 104 (2017)
- Madiba (2017)
- Planting Seeds of Mindfulness Animated Movie (2016)
- It's My Shout: Short Films from Wales (2016) - 1 episode
- The Book of Love (2016)
- Guns for Hire (2015) with Ever Carradine and Ivana Milicevic
- Sleepy Hollow (2013-2017) - 31 episodes
- Black Dynamite (2011-2015) - 9 episodes
- With Liz Benoit (Taxes and Death or Get Him to the Sunset Strip)
- Noches con Platanito (2013) - 1 episode
- Enemies Closer (2013)
- Save Me (2013) with Madison Davenport
- Tainted Love (2013) - 6 episodes
- Meridian (2012)
- Identity (2011)
- CSI: Miami (2011) - 1 episode
- Necessary Roughness (2011) - 2 episodes with Marc Blucas
- The Chicago 8 (2011) with Meta Golding
- Seconds Apart (2011)
- Tax Man (2010) with Judy Greer
- House (2010) in Moving the Chains as Marcus Foreman
- Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009) with Patrick Fugit and Colleen Camp
- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) with Amber Tamblyn and Joel Moore
- 8Dazeaweakend (2009)
- Untitled Victoria Pile Project (2008)
- Pushing Daisies (2008) - 1 episode with Chi McBride and Ivana Milicevic
- Everybody Hates Chris (2007-2008) - 2 episodes with Tyler James Williams
- Misconceptions (2008)
- New Amsterdam (2008) - 1 episode with Alexie Gilmore
- Ghost Whisperer (2007) - 1 episode
- Men in Trees (2007) - 3 episodes with Derek Richardson
- With Currie Graham (No Man is an Iceland)
- I Think I Love My Wife (2007) with Christina Vidal
- Primeval (2007) with Dominic Purcell
- Looking for Sunday (2006) with Michael Weston
- The Adventures of Chico and Guapo (2006) - 8 episodes
- The Evidence (2006) - 8 episodes
- Father of the Pride (2004-2005) - 14 episodes with Carl Reiner
- House of D (2004)
- Runaway Jury (2003)
- The Bernie Mac Show (2003) - 1 episode
- Girlfriends (2003) - 1 episode
- Biker Boyz (2003) with Salli Richardson-Whitfield
- Drumline (2002)
- The Time Machine (2002) with Josh Stamberg and Myndy Crist
- Unbakeable (2001)
- Evolution (2001)
- Say It Isn't So (2001) with Jack Plotnick and Brent Briscoe
- Double Take (2001) with Brent Briscoe
- Bedazzled (2000)
- Chain of Fools (2000) with Myndy Crist
- The Replacements (2000) with Art LaFleur
- Waterproof (2000)
- New Jersey Turnpikes (1999)
- Magnolia (1999)
- Liberty Heights (1999)
- From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (1999)
- Office Space (1999) with Ron Livingston
- Woo (1998) with LL Cool J
- Sour Grapes (1998)
- King of the Hill (1998) - 1 episode
- In Harm's Way (1997)
- MadTV (1995-1997) - 41 episodes
- With LL Cool J (2 episodes)
- With Michelle Clunie (Episode 1.12)
- A Different World (1992) - 2 episodes with Kadeem Hardison
- With Joe Morton (1 episode)
- Herman's Head (1992) - 1 episode
Other Work Edit
- Was a writer and story editor on the series Roc starring Charles S. Dutton
- L.A. Rush (2005)
- Halo 2 (2004)
Notable Roles Edit
- Mr. Nancy on American Gods
- Oliver Tambo in Madiba
- Bobby Seale in Chicago 8
- Alexander Ribs in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
- Vox in The Time Machine
- Named after Baseball Hall of Fame player Orlando Cepeda
- To make things clear on his web site, he makes it clear who he is not, including not being Tyler James Williams or Mos Def.
- In 2015, chosen by MTV as "The King of Fandoms"
- Chief Strategy Officer for Cosmunity, the developer of an application for anime, cosplay, gaming and comic fans.
- Adviser for Specular Theory, a virtual reality content company
Orlando Jones at Wikipedia - this article uses text from Wikipedia under the Creative Commons license.
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