Dean Jones

Dean Jones


Born: January 25, 1931
Decatur, Alabama

Died: September 1, 2015
Los Angeles, California

Obituary: Dean Jones, the comic actor who made his mark in a series of Disney films, but who earned a place in Broadway history for originating the role of the vacillating bachelor Bobby in Stephen Sondheim's Company, died Sept. 1. He was 84 and suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Jones, for whom Sondheim wrote "Being Alive," famously left the show within weeks of its opening. He was going through difficulties in his personal life during the show's tryouts, and wanted to leave the show. Hal Prince agreed to let him out of his contract if he would just stay until the opening night, April 26, 1970, and give a great performance to launch the show. Jones wound up playing the role for only a month, though he recorded the original cast album.

His replacement, Larry Kert, joined the show May 29, 1970 — so quickly that he was ruled eligible to compete for the Tony Award that year. Kert was nominated, but did not win.

Jones had appeared twice on Broadway earlier in his career: There Was a Little Girl and Under the Yum-Yum Tree, both in 1960. He returned to Broadway once after Company, to star in Into the Light, a musical about the Shroud of Turin, which ran just six performances.

Other notable theatre appearances include playing “Cap’n Andy” in the national tour of Harold Prince’s Show Boat, and touring in the one-man play, St. John in Exile.

The Alabama-born actor is probably best known to the general public for his work on light comedies, many for Disney, including "That Darn Cat!," "The Love Bug," "The Shaggy D.A.," "The Million Dollar Duck," "Snowball Express," "Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo," "Beethoven" and the film version of the Broadway hit Any Wednesday. Several films took him outside the comedy zone, including "Jailhouse Rock" with Elvis Presley, Tom Clancy's "A Clear and Present Danger" and the Western TV series "Stagecoach West."

Jones' emotional performance of "Being Alive" was captured in the D.A. Pennebaker documentary about the making of the original Broadway cast album of Company. Watch it below.



Apr. 11, 1993 - Apr. 12, 1993
Robert Performer
Playbill Cover - Into the Light Into the Light
Oct. 22, 1986 - Oct. 26, 1986
James Prescott Performer
Playbill Cover - Company Company
Apr. 26, 1970 - Jan. 1, 1972
Robert Performer
Playbill Cover - Under the Yum-Yum Tree Under the Yum-Yum Tree
Nov. 16, 1960 - Apr. 15, 1961
Dave Manning Performer
There Was a Little Girl
Feb. 29, 1960 - Mar. 12, 1960
Stan Walters Performer
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