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Ron Cephas Jones Dies at 66: Read His Co-Stars' Moving Tributes to His Life
The This Is Us and Law & Order star died on August 19, 2023.
Ron Cephas Jones sadly died on August 19, 2023, at the age of 66. Jones was known for his gripping role as William Hill on This Is Us, the biological father of the character Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown), for which Jones won two Emmy Awards for his work. A representative for the actor revealed the cause of the star's death was due to "a long-standing pulmonary issue.”
In a statement they continued: "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. 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. He is survived by his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones.”
This Is Us stars pay tribute to Ron Cephas Jones following his death
Shortly after Jones's passing, many of his former This Is Us co-stars paid moving tribute to the late talented actor via social media. Find them below.
Sterling K. Brown
"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," Sterling K. Brown wrote of his on-screen father.
Mandy Moore (Rebecca Pearson) reflected on the wonderful memories she had with Jones while filming.
"Getting to know and work with Ron on the wild ride of This Is Us was the greatest gift- he was pure magic as a human and an artist…I will treasure all of the moments forever," she wrote. "Even though he wasn’t around set as much as we all wished, he was such an intrinsic part of the fabric of the show, it’s like he was always there. I’ll never forget how special it was to film this particular episode and welcome him back to say a proper goodbye to our TIU family and the whole experience. I am just so sad. My thoughts and love are with Jasmine and his family and friends. Love you, @cephasjaz."
"I cannot believe he is gone! It doesn’t seem possible. He was such a generous and compassionate heart. I am so grateful for the time we spent together. #RIPRCJ," Chris Sullivan (Toby Damon) wrote in his tribute, sharing a picture of the two of them smiling.
"Ron, you were one of the most talented and warm men I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. So giving, both personally and artistically. You will be missed not only by me but the world will miss your spirit. But the remarkable gift of having you grace our stages and screens will live on in our hearts forever. Love ya @cephasjaz …you’re on to the next performance," Jon Huertas (Miguel Rivas) wrote in his post.
Susan Kelechi Watson
Susan Kelechi Watson (Beath Pearson) opened up about Jones's magnetic energy in a poignant post:
"It was really an instant gravitation. Like anytime you were in the room I'd quickly make my way to you. Was it the new york energy, both of us getting a big break at the same time, the coolness, the swag, the stories of hardships and triumphs, the honesty, the laughter, the humor, the laughter, the laughter, the humor and the honesty. The genuiness. The freedom and generosity with which you gave your authentic self. Letting me know you. The joy of your meteroic rise at 59 years of life."
She continued, "Sharing deeply in that joy. The fact that I could say, 'hey...wanna go to a diner and rehearse this scene?' and you were 100% down with it because thats where you came from. Read, rehearse, stage. You knew it well. It was your short hand. I got to witness 1st hand your commitment to wanting to give the very best performance every single time...the absolute best performance you could give. You weren't satisfied unless everyone else was satisfied when cut was called.
RELATED: Ron Cephas Jones Talks Why William Was Chosen to Lead Rebecca to the Afterlife
I appreciate all the check-ins we shared as you continued your journey onto new adventures. The reunions we had and the love that was always there. You were my friend. And what a blessing in this life to have a friend called You. You LOVED being an actor, an artist, a forever student of life. But I knew you to love nothing more than Jasmine. My heart goes out to you @jazzy_joness . You were the music to his soul. His Jaz. His jazz. His jazz.
So... One time for the coolest cat. One time for the mark he left that will remain. One big ol standing ovation for my guy, Ron Cephas Jones. Jah bless and guide you sweetly home, my friend.🐈⬛️🎭🎶🙏🏽❤️ Missing you."
"Ron, thank you for brightening every room you walked into. I’ll never forget and have been changed by your kind heart, amazing spirit, immeasurable talent and beautiful smile. May your transition be full of light and peace. Sending all of my love to Jasmine & his loved ones during this time. You are truly the coolest cat," Chrissy Metz (Kate Pearson) wrote in appreciation.
Janet Montgomery (Olivia Maine) — who also starred on NBC's New Amsterdam — had nothing but fond words to say. "I remember vividly the day I came to rehearse this scene with the formidable Ron Cephas Jones. Usually actors read through a scene while the camera crew watch and then they set up the shot. Ron had a weighty monologue that he delivered to my character Olivia and from the first read he delivered something I can only describe as magic. I felt the hairs stand up in the back of my neck and even though I had read the words he was about to say numerous times they took on a whole new meaning when said by Ron. He was spectacular and I am so grateful I was lucky enough to work alongside him. Rest in Peace Ron."
NBC remembers Ron Cephas Jones
"It's kind of beautiful, right, if you think about it, the fact that just because someone dies, just because you can't see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn't mean they're not still in the painting. I think maybe that's the point of the whole thing. There's no dying. There's no 'You' or 'Me' or 'Them.' It's just 'Us.' And this sloppy, wild, colorful, magical thing that has no beginning, has no end, it's right here. I think it's us."
Ron, you will always be with us," the account wrote.
Ron Cephas Jones' many roles in the Law & Order franchise
Jones had two roles in the original Law & Order in 1996 and 1997 as Roland Brooks and Frank Doyle, respectively. He then went on to star in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent in 2006 as Reggie Banks. Recently, Jones played Congressman Leon Kilbride in Season 2 of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
In August 2021, Jones posted a picture of him in a suit in character as Kilbride. "LAW&ORDER:ORGANIZED CRIME.Bringing the🔥.”Congressman Kilbride” Stay tuned.WORK/BLESSED(One) LoveandLight Always 🎭👍🏾🥁. 🐈⬛cool." he captioned the post.
Ron Cephas Jones and his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones
Jasmine Cephas Jones, 34, followed in her father's footsteps by becoming an actress. She originated the role of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds in the Broadway Musical Hamilton, and won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 2016. She and her father both won Emmy Awards in 2020, Jasmine for her role in the TV Series FreeRayshawn.
Jones was more than proud of his daughter. “I tear up every time I think about it," he told TV Insider. "The highlight of this whole journey is to see my daughter become happy, successful and healthy. That’s a parent’s dream. As a parent, nothing could be finer. Nothing. Out of all (my) Emmys, (my daughter) winning is everything. My heart explodes when I think about the success she is having.”
Rest in peace, Ron.