Ron Cephas Jones, who won two Emmy Awards for his role as William Hill on This Is Us, had died. He was 66.
The actor died “due to a long-standing pulmonary issue,” his representative confirmed in a statement to People magazine on Saturday. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the actor’s rep.
“Throughout the course of his career, his warmth, beauty, generosity, kindness and heart were felt by anyone who had the good fortune of knowing him,” the statement read. “He began his career at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and his love for the stage was present throughout his entire career, including his recent Tony nominated and Drama Desk Award winning performance for his role in Clyde’s on Broadway. Ron’s inner-beauty and soul was evident to the huge audience from his multi-Emmy award winning performance on This is Us.”
Born on January 8, 1957, in Paterson, New Jersey, Jones went on to pursue a career in acting. His most notable role was on This Is Us, in which he played William Hill, the biological father of Sterling K. Brown’s Randall Pearson. He starred alongside Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore in the hit series that ran for six seasons. The role also scored him two Emmys, in 2018 and 2020, both for outstanding guest actor in a drama series.
Brown shared a tribute for his late costar on Instagram, writing, “Life imitated art today, and one of the most wonderful people the world has ever seen is no longer with us. @cephasjaz has passed away, and the world is a little less bright. Brother, you are loved. And you will be missed. Keep them laughing in the next phase of existence, and I’ll see you when I get there.”
In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Jones revealed that he received a double-lung transplant following a secret battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He said he spent nearly two months as a patient at the Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The following year, as This Is Us came to a close, Jones credited his costars and producers for helping him get through the final days of filming amid his health struggles. “You cats held me when I was struggling and you didn’t let me go,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “You’ve been there for a very difficult part of my life. I’m a walking miracle.”
Jones has starred in several other projects throughout his decades-long career in the industry, including Truth Be Told, Looking for Alaska, Lisey’s Story, Better Things, Luke Cage, Mr. Robot and The Get Down. He also made appearances on Law & Order: Organized Crime, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order and NYPD Blue. As for films, he starred in Half Nelson and Across the Universe, to name a few.
His ‘Truth Be Told’ co-star Octavia Spencer remembered the actor on Instagram, writing, “I’m heartbroken to lose my dear friend and colleague Ron Cephas Jones. Ron was an incredibly talented actor and, most importantly, a wonderfully kind human being. Every day on set with Ron was a good day. I’m sending all my love to his daughter Jasmine, family, friends and fans.”
In 2004, he shifted over to the stage, making his Broadway debut in the 2004 production of Gem of the Ocean as a standby for several roles. Throughout the years, he landed several roles in Off-Broadway productions, but it was his performance as Montrellous in the production of Clyde’s that scored him a 2022 Tony nomination. The play took place at a truck stop sandwich shop that offered its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at redemption.
Jones is survived by his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones.
More to come.