R.I.P. Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Bride of Re-Animator’s Claude Earl Jones

Dark Night of the Scarecrow Claude Earl Jones

Claude Earl Jones and James Earl Jones got into screen acting at basically the same time, but since James would go on to work on huge projects and rack up substantially more credits (James Earl Jones's credit count is currently at 192), when the name Claude Earl Jones came up in credits it would often cause someone to joke, "Is that James Earl Jones's brother?" No, he wasn't. But Claude Earl Jones was a great character actor who earned 67 credits of his own before stepping away from the business in 1997.

Today we have to share the sad news that Claude Earl Jones passed away on November 25th, due to complications from dementia. He was 86.

During Jones' thirty-four years of acting in film and television, he got to work on some cool projects, including episides of Battlestar Galactica (the '70s version), WKRP in Cincinnati, The Greatest American Hero, T.J. Hooker, Simon & Simon, Little House on the Prairie, The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team, Dallas, Quantum Leap, The Wonder Years, Matlock, Max Headroom, Seinfeld, 21 Jump Street, and Werewolf. His film credits include the great Robert Zemeckis comedy USED CARS, the cult classic MIRACLE MILE, the post-apocalyptic adventure film CHERRY 2000 (that was on cable a lot back in the day), the Andy Griffith collaborations THE GIRL IN THE EMPTY GRAVE and DEADLY GAME… and a few projects horror fans might know him from.

In 1981, Jones played the Coach in the Clint Howard horror film EVILSPEAK. Soon after he took on the role of Philby in the beloved TV movie DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. And in 1989 he was the ill-fated Lt. Leslie Chapham in BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR.

The Hollywood Reporter offers some history on Jones:

Born on April 29, 1933, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jones was raised in Phoenix. At Phoenix Union High School, he got his first acting job after he went to a casting session to support a friend. He then studied the craft at Phoenix College and the Pasadena Playhouse around a stint in the U.S. Army.

After earning his master's degree in theater from Cal State Los Angeles in 1966, Jones taught theater at Ganesha High School in Pomona, California, from 1969-72. He often remarked his work at the school was among the most important he ever did.

In addition to his acting work, Jones was also the author of four books: 

"'Specially Not No Chocolate", a collection of short stories about his childhood, "Hello Devil, Welcome to Hell" about his directing and acting experience as Henry Drummond in (theatrical productions of) "Inherit the Wind", "The Real Ones Learn it Somewhere", about his education and teaching experiences, and "I'd Drink It", a novel.

Jones is survived by his wife Nancy, who he was married to for 48 years; their sons, Steve and Tawn; their daughter Julie; and his stepdaughter Beth. The family has sent out word that donations in his memory can be made to the Theatrical Workforce Development Program at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and fans of Claude Earl Jones.

Claude Earl Jones Andy Griffith

Source: THR

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.