‘This Is Us’ Actor Ron Cephas Jones Dies at 66

Ron Cephas Jones, who played Kevin Pearson on the NBC television series “This Is Us,” has passed away at the age of 66. His performance on the show earned him two Emmy Awards.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ron Cephas Jones, a seasoned stage actor who won two Emmy Awards for his part as a long-lost father who finds forgiveness on the NBC television drama series “This Is Us,” passed away on Saturday at the age of 66, according to a spokesperson for the actor’s estate. In the role, he played on “This Is Us,” Ron Cephas Jones found redemption for his character.

In a statement that was sent out via email, the manager of Jones, Dan Spilo, revealed that the actor passed away “due to a long-standing pulmonary issue.”
“His warmth, beauty, generosity, kindness, and heart were felt by anyone who had the good fortune to know him,” Spilo said. “Throughout the course of his career, his heart was felt by anyone who had the privilege of knowing him.”

Jones was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2020, which led to him requiring a double lung transplant and roughly two months of hospitalisation in a Los Angeles facility.

On the television show “This Is Us,” Sterling K. Brown played the role of William “Shakespeare” Hill, a biological father whose life is revitalised as a result of his bond with the family of his son Randall Pearson, who was played by Jones.
Brown wrote on Instagram after Jones’ passing, “One of the most wonderful people the world has ever seen is no longer with us,” and he said this in reference to Jones. The world seems to have lost some of its lustre. Brother, please know that you are cherished. And you will be remembered with fondness.”

Jones played a more significant part in the early seasons of the series, but he made an appearance in some capacity in each of the show’s six seasons. The show included time-jumping plots that offered recurring opportunities for its performers even after their characters had passed away.

Jones was nominated for four Emmys, winning two of them for best guest performance in a drama series in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

“Ron was the best of the best — on screen, on stage, and in real life,” “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman stated on the social media platform X, which was formerly known as Twitter. “Ron was the best of the best,” “Oh my God, that actor is incredible. Because of how flawless his performances were, I don’t believe I’ve ever had to adjust even a single one of his takes in the editing process.

Jones spent the most of his career in the theatre before and after “This Is Us,” and he returned to Broadway even after his transplant caused him to relearn how to breathe and walk again. “This Is Us” is the show that made Jones a household name.

“My whole life has been the stage,” Jones said in an interview with The New York Times in late 2021. In the same interview, he revealed he had been quietly suffering from respiratory problems since roughly the time he began working on “This Is Us.” “My whole life has been the stage,” Jones added.

“The idea of not performing again seemed to me worse than death,” Jones remarked about the prospect of not being able to perform again.

In recognition of his performance on Broadway as a truck-stop chef in playwright Lynn Nottage’s “Clyde’s,” he was nominated for a Tony Award and went on to win the Drama Desk Award in 2022.

Jones is a native of Paterson, New Jersey, and he received his degree from nearby Ramapo College. Initially, he planned to study jazz at Ramapo College, but he changed his major to theatre during his sophomore year there. He was a bus driver in Southern California for a number of years throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, during which time he travelled extensively throughout the United States.

He relocated to New York in the middle of the 1980s, and it was in the Nuyorican Poets Café, a significant creative hub for poetry, hip-hop, and the performing arts, that he began collaborating with others and getting his career off the ground. This was the turning point in his life.

A breakthrough performance for him came in 1994, when he was cast in the leading part of the drama “Holiday Heart,” which was written by Cheryl West.

He would spend the subsequent decades working nonstop in the theatre, frequently appearing in off-Broadway plays in New York, including a title performance as Shakespeare’s “Richard III” at The Public Theatre, and performing roles with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. He would also direct plays.

Jones has also appeared as a guest on the television shows “Luke Cage,” “Mr. Robot,” and “Lisey’s Story.”

His film roles have included “Half Nelson” (2006), in which he co-starred alongside Ryan Gosling, and “Dolemite Is My Name” (2019), in which he co-starred alongside Eddie Murphy.

His daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, will carry on his legacy after his passing.

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