×

Freddie Jones, Actor in ‘The Elephant Man,’ Dies at 91

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.

 

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • BritBox Is 'Not a Rival to

    BritBox 'Not a Rival to Netflix and Amazon' but Something Different, ITV Exec Says

    BritBox, ITV and the BBC’s joint “best of British” streaming service, is not being positioned as a rival to Netflix and Amazon but offers something those two streaming giants don’t, ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Friday, Lygo said BritBox would be a “different thing” that allowed [...]

  • Stefano Sollima for Web Story

    'ZeroZeroZero' Creator on Making an Old Story New and How Andrea Riseborough Got Hurt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Stefano Sollima, the Italian director known in Hollywood for “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and TV show “Gomorrah,” is the main creative force behind cocaine-trafficking series “ZeroZeroZero,” which will world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 5. Festival chief Alberto Barbera has praised it as blowing “Narcos” out of the water. Sollima directed [...]

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content