The bearded and grizzled face of Mickey Jones was often used to add texture to shows including "The Rockford Files" and "Justified." He was also in more than a dozen films, including "Sling Blade" and "National Lampoon's Vacation." His drumming skills will forever be heard in oldies on the radio. He died after a prolonged illness at the age of 76.
"Mickey Jones died at 2:17 a.m. today of the effects of a long illness,” confirmed his representative, Cherry Hepburn to the Fox News in a statement on Feb. 7. The illness that took Jones' life has not been disclosed.
It is mostly likely that Jones will be remembered for his performances in the movies, "National Lampoon’s Vacation," "Sling Blade" and to his sitcom fans, for "Flo," in the early 1980s.
But Jones got his start in show business on a drum kit, playing for 1960s hitmakers, including Trini Lopez in "If I Had a Hammer," Johnny Rivers in "Secret Agent Man" and country legend Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in "Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town" and "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In."
Jones even went on tour with musician Bob Dylan and was the drummer during the 1966 performance, which is now considered a legendary one, at the Manchester Free Trade Hall when Dylan was chastised as "Judas" by an audience member for using an electric guitar.
Jones even appeared on the early 1970s variety show, "Rollin’ on the River," while he was playing with First Edition. This gave him a taste of life in television and marked the start of a TV career that would continue for decades.
His most talked-about role was in "Flo," which was a spinoff of "Alice" and aired from 1980 to 1981 on CBS. Following that, he got a role in top shows of the time, including "M*A*S*H" and "Home Improvement" in which he had a recurring role as Pete Bilker. Other shows he was in include "Baywatch," "Entourage," "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Workaholics."
Mickey Jones was a character actor who was typically cast as a rugged biker, a hippie or a blue collar worker. Jones’ most recent role was a 2015 recurring character as a pot dealer named Hot Rod Dunham on FX’s "Justified."
Jones’ movie appearances were limited to a few, but he made a mark in whatever role he bagged for himself, some of which include, "Sling Blade," "Tin Cup," "Total Recall" and "The Last Best Sunday."
In a 2009 Houston Chronicle Profile, Jones was sitting at the Bob’s Big Boy diner in Burbank, California, which said that he had frequented since 1960. He also went on to explain his acting approach as “I’m not a method actor.” He added, “When somebody says ‘action,’ I can turn it on, and when they ‘cut,’ I turn it back off.”
Billy Bob Thornton, who was Jones’ friend and also a "Sling Blade" co-star, told the Houston Chronicle: “There’s no pretense to him and none in his acting, but he can do it all. He can do anything, from a kid’s enthusiasm to something real mean.”