“Acting is fun for me and it doesn’t really matter how, whether it’s hard work or easy work, it’s always fun.” — Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones was born on this day in San Saba, Texas, USA in 1946. He is 67 years old.
His father, Clyde, was an oil field worker, his mother, Lucille, held various jobs while Tommy was growing up, including teacher and police officer. She also owned her own beauty shop. He went to Robert E. Lee High School, then got a scholarship to St. Marks, an elite Dallas prep school. When he graduated from high school he got a football scholarship to Harvard where he roomed with future Vice President Al Gore. Jones played varsity ball for Harvard. The team was undefeated in his Junior year. He graduated in 1969 Cum Laude.
Jones was realistic about his chances of playing professional ball, he was too small to be an NFL athlete, so he pursued his interest in acting. He moved to New York and quickly landed jobs off broadway . He was a regular for 4 years on the soap One Life to Live. His first movie role was a Ryan O’Niel’s roommate in Love Story.
In 1975 he moved to the West Coast and continued to add to his movie and television resume. His first big break was landing the role of “Do” Lynn in A Coal Miner’s Daughter (opposite Sissy Spacek). He earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his work on the film, and gained national attention.
He won an Emmy Award for Executioner’s Song in 1982.
His work in the ensemble western Lonesome Dove earned Jones an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe Award. He was in Oliver Stone’s JFK (and got nominated for an Academy Award) in 1991 Then he worked with Andrew Davis in Under Siege in 1992.
He worked with Davis again in 1993 on The Fugitive. Jones was pitch perfect as the determined detective hunting Harrison Ford. And although The Fugitive was supposed to be Ford’s vehicle it was clear that Tommy Lee was in the driver’s seat. The movie made $170 million dollars and Jones won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
He let his (dry) comic side out when he teamed up with Will Smith for Men In Black in 1997. The sci-fi summer blockbuster spawned two sequels.
Last year Jones took on the role of abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens in Steven Speilberg’s Lincoln. He was nominated for another Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
- Tommy Lee Jones writing, directing ‘The Cowboys’ (digitalspy.co.uk)