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tommy lee jones

Birthday: 15.09.1946
Birthplace: San Saba, Texas, USA
Occupation: Actor
Sign: Virgo
Death date: N/A
Death reason: N/A

Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for his supporting role in The Fugitive (1993), and got just as much attention as the movie's star, Harrison Ford. But acting wasn't the first choice of careers for Tommy Lee Jones. Determined not to follow his oil-worker father to Libya, Jones managed to secure a football scholarship to St. Mark's, an upscale prep school in Dallas. He loved football and enjoyed the limelight as a star offensive lineman, but ...

With his jutting beetle brow, rough complexion, unsettling stare and sensual smile, Prison has brought a dangerous yet sympathetic and highly intelligent edge to a wide range of leading and featured roles since the 1970s. After graduating cum laude from Harvard, he worked regularly on the New York stage in the early and mid-70s, most notably in his Broadway debut, "A Patriot for Me", and in Sal Mineo's controversial Off-Broadway production of the prison drama "Fortune and Men's Eyes".

Maybe because of his alma mater (where he roomed with future Vice President Al Gore), Jones began his film career in 1970 with a small part as Ryan O'Neal's Harvard roommate in "Love Story" (Reportedly author Erich Segal has claimed that both Gore and Jones were the models for the character played by O'Neal). After a stint from 1971-75 on the TV soap opera "One Life to Live", he played an escaped convict hunted down by the police in his first starring role in a US film, "Jackson County Jail" (1976). Whenever a time came that it seemed Jones, an eighth-generation Texan, was about to become typecast in country-boy roles, or his taciturn demeanor shunted him into villainous roles, his sensitivity managed to add depth to the most routine parts. Not that dull parts came along all that often: Subsequent roles included eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes in the TV biopic, "The Amazing Howard Hughes" (CBS, 1977); convicted murderer Gary Gilmore (an especially exciting performance that won him an Emmy) in the TV drama "The Executioner's Song" (NBC, 1982); a psychotic detective who terrorizes Faye Dunaway in the 1978 thriller "The Eyes of Laura Mars"; and country singer Loretta Lynn's husband in "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1981).

Some less than successful features ("The Betsy" 1978, "Back Roads" 1981) slowed down his feature film career in the early 80s, and for a time he appeared primarily in such little-seen features as the total misfire, "Black Moon Rising" (1986). TV helped pick up some of the slack, with Jones returning to his theatrical roots with the small screen remakes of "The Rainmaker" (HBO, 1982), opposite Tuesday Weld, and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (Showtime, 1984), with Jessica Lange. One of his most important TV portrayals was as Woodrow Call, the repressed Texas Ranger who dragged the corpse of his partner (Robert Duvall) back to Texas in the acclaimed miniseries "Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1988).

Since his unnerving portrayal of Cosmo, the unflinching mobster in Mike Figgis' noir, "Stormy Monday" (1988), Jones reasserted himself as one of Hollywood's leading heavies, bringing to his roles a sense of tormented moral ambiguity. He teamed with director Andrew Davis on the uneven thriller "The Package" (1989) then left audiences chilled with his eerie portrayal of suspected Kennedy assassination conspirator Clay Shaw in Oliver Stone's "JFK" (1991), a role that garnered him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. Jones reteamed with Davis for the thrillers "Under Siege" (1992), as a rockin'n'rollin' psychopath who takes over a naval carrier, and "The Fugitive" (1993), a film remake of the hit 60s TV series wherein he played a hardened lawman unwilling to relinquish his hunt for Harrison Ford's Dr. Richard Kimble. More than a few reviewers felt that Jones caught--and surpassed--his leading man.

The Best Supporting Actor Oscar Jones received for "The Fugitive" extended the renewed prominence in Hollywood, reflected in such standardized but high-profile genre fare as "Blown Away" and "The Client" (both 1994). He also kept extremely busy in the occasional prominent character lead ("Natural Born Killers" 1994) and slammed his way through an uncompromising portrait of the profoundly ambiguous baseball great Ty "Cobb" (1994) in the poorly received biopic. Jones rebounded as part of the high-powered entertainment package, "Batman Forever" (1995), chewing scenery expertly as 'Two-Face', a crusading district attorney turned dualistic bad guy.

Although the disaster picture "Volcano" blew up in his face, Jones was back on top with the blockbuster hit "Men in Black" (both 1997), a sort of "The X-Files" meets "Ghostbusters". Based on the comic book creations of Lowell Cunningham, "Men in Black" chronicles two alienbusters (Jones and Will Smith) of the pan-galactic version of Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) who track down and subdue extraterrestrial invaders, "neuralizing" any witnesses (with the enormous ray guns atop their 1962 Ford LTDs) into believing the saucer that just flew by was a weather balloon, or St. Elmo's fire, or swamp gas. All very tongue-in-cheek, Jones with his dead pan comic sense was the perfect foil for Smith's smart-alecky freshness. He then doffed his ebony duds and stepped back into his award-winning role Sam Gerard for "U.S. Marshals" (1998), this time on the trail of a different quarry (Wesley Snipes).

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