LQ Jones, colorful character actor who has worked on dozens of westerns, including Sam Peckinpah’s classic The Wild Bunch and High country ride as a regular staff member of the famous filmmaker, passed away. He is 94 years old.
Jones died Saturday of natural causes at his home in the Hollywood Hills, his grandson, Erté deGarces, said. The Hollywood Reporter.
Jones portrayed rancher Andy Belden in 25 episodes of NBC Virginians over a period of eight years, was one of the bad guys who put a noose around Clint Eastwood’s neck in Hang me high (1968) and played a sheriff on the NBC television station 1983-1984 Yellow rosestarring Sam Elliott, Cybill Shepherd, and Chuck Connors.
The Texas native also plays Clark County Commissioner Pat Webb, Robert De Niro’s arch-nemesis, in Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995) and country singer Chuck Akers in Robert Altman’s A companion at home on the prairie (2006), his last credit.
In a career spanning more than 5 decades, Jones is perhaps best known as a TC bounty hunter in The Wild Bunch (1969). He and Strother Martin, as Coffer, “bring their depraved characters to life with a childish energy – they enjoy turning murder into a contest as they race to confirm who has the higher body stats after each bloody encounter.” That’s how a Warner Bros. promote films depicting their performances.
Jones first worked with Peckinpah in 1960 on the short-lived NBC Western Klondike. He portrayed one of four ruthless brothers who fought against it with Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott in High country ride (1962) and was a Confederate soldier (and brother of Warren Oates) in Major Dundee (In 1965).
He also plays bad characters who meet the wrong end in Peckinpah’s Cable Hogue’s ballad (1970) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (In 1973).
“Sam is a genius and I love him, but he is a basket. He drove everyone crazy,” Jones said in a 2017 interview with Nick Thomas.
On the other side of the camera, Jones directs, co-writes, and produces A boy and his dog (1975), a cult black comedy set in the post-apocalyptic 2024 starring Don Johnson and Jason Robards and based on the novel by science fiction legend Harlan Ellison.
He was born Justus Ellis McQueen Jr. on August 19, 1927, in Beaumont, Texas, the son of a railroad worker. When he was young, his mother, Jessie, was killed in a car accident, and he was raised by relatives.
“I got a horse when I was 8 or 9 years old and grew up around hardcore rodeo players – my uncle loves to ride – so westerns are easy and fun,” he says. .
He served in the US Navy and studied law at the University of Texas, where his roommate was the future Daniel Boone Fess Parker star. After graduating from college, he bought a farm in Nicaragua to make money from beans, corn, and dairy, but that didn’t go as he expected.
Parker had moved to Hollywood and had appeared in a few films when he sent his college friend a copy of the Leon Uris novel. Battle Cry, which is about to become a big-budget war movie from Warner Bros. Directed by Raoul Walsh. Parker played a soldier in the adaptation.
“Fess encouraged me to go out and draw me a map on the back of a laundry shirt showing just how far to the studio,” he recalls. “Within two days of arriving, I had part of the [Pvt.] LQ Jones in Battle Cry and would probably never be in business without Fess. “
McQueen liked the character’s name so much that he decided to make it his stage name.
The newly minted LQ Jones then continued to be extremely busy, appearing on shows like Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, Laramie, Railway wagons, Lassie, Rawhide, Johnny Ringo, Great valley and Perry Mason – sometimes doing two or three series a week – and in movies that include Target number 0 (1955) – his first pairing with Martin, another Peckinpah regular – Elvis Presley’s Love Me Gently (1956) and Fiery star (1960), Don Siegel’s Hell for heroes (1962) and Walsh’s The naked and the dead (In 1958).
He said Stanley Kubrick offered him the role of Major TJ “King” Kong that Slim Pickens gave him. Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (1964), but he was “tied to another picture” and had to overcome.
Working on a Peckinpah film can be challenging, he said in an extensive interview for the website Camera in the Sun.
“If you don’t stand in the same place, Sam envisions it a thousand times a year – and he doesn’t tell anyone what it is – but if you’re not there in that particular place, he gets angry. because you didn’t do your job right in your estimate. The fact that he didn’t tell you anything doesn’t make a difference,” he said. “And it doesn’t make a difference whether you are Bill Holden or someone else. Those of us who’ve worked with him – you notice he has a team that’s worked with him his entire career – just needs to know his place, think the way Sam would think. “
In the mid-1960s, he and actor Alvy Moore founded the production company LQ/JAF and they made four films: Devil’s bedroom (1964), which Jones also directed; The Witchmaker (1969); Satan’s brotherhood (1971), co-written by him; and A boy and his dogwhich he says was an inspiration to George Miller The Road Warrior.
“After doing A boy and his dog, I had a lot of offers to direct and more money than I paid to do the painting, for the chrissakes,” he said. “But I can’t see myself working all that time and all the effort to get there. So I just kept saying, ‘No,’ and in the end I just said, ‘Damn it,’ and then stopped and continued acting. Because by then, I can pick and choose what I want to do. “
Survivors include his children, Randy, Steve and Mindy.