Freddie Jones, the British actor who over a nearly 70-year career played such memorable roles as the sadistic freakshow owner in David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man,” died July 9 in the U.K., according to numerous British media reports. He was 91.
The father of actor Toby Jones, he had more recently been appearing on British soap “Emmerdale” as Sandy Thomas.
In 1980, he starred his first film for Lynch, “The Elephant Man,” which starred John Hurt as a deformed man in Victorian London. Subsequently, the actor continued working with Lynch and appeared in “Dune” (1984), “Wild at Heart” (1990), and the three-part U.S. TV series “Hotel Room.” Upon news of Jones’ death, the filmmaker shared his remarks on Twitter.
“Dear Twitter Friends, I loved, loved, loved Freddie Jones,” Lynch tweeted. “Man-o-man will he be missed.”
Born and raised in Dresden, Stoke-on-Trent, Jones made his London debut with the Royal Shakespeare Company as a character in David Rudkin’s “Afore Night Come” in 1962. Shortly after, he went on to perform in Gorky’s “The Lower Depths” in 1964, and as Cucurucu in Peter Brooks’ 1964 production of The Marat/Sade before leaving the stage for TV in 1968.
His traditional character acting and his role as Claudius in the six part ITV series “The Caesars” led to his future castings as Humpty Dumpty in “Alice and The Looking Glass” (1973), a head teacher in “Pennies From Heaven,” and as Sir George Uproar, a short-tempered Victorian general, in the “Ghosts of Motley Hall” (1976-78). He went on to work in hundreds of films and TV shows, including “Vampira,” “Firestarter,” “Cold Comfort Farm,” “The Saint” and “Inspector Morse.”
Freddie Jones is survived by his wife, actress Jennie Hesslewood, and their three sons: Rupert, a director, Toby, and Casper, both actors.