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Relive Ron Cephas Jones' Incredible Career, From Broadway to This Is Us
The late actor was a legendary stage performer, beloved film star, and cherished This Is Us fan favorite.
The heart of This Is Us is the powerhouse cast of characters, and many agree that William "Shakespeare" Hill — played by the late Ron Cephas Jones — was one of the most emotionally compelling characters of the NBC tear-jerker.
Jones delivered a dynamite performance in all six heartwarming seasons of This Is Us as the biological father of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown). Jones' This Is Us tenure was packed with touching moments and powerful scenes, with fans relishing each moment between William and the Pearson family.
Throughout his incredible acting career, however, Jones has never failed to captivate audiences; This Is Us was only a taste of that talent.
Below, look back at some of Jones' career highlights that cemented his legend status.
Ron Cephas Jones' Television Credits: Law & Order to This Is Us
While Jones was an established star of stage and screen, his television roles earned his widespread recognition and acclaim. Jones shined in his performance as William, but he was an established actor long before his This Is Us tenure.
In 1996, for instance, Jones guest starred in Law & Order as a man named Frank Doyle in Season 6, Episode 19 ("Slave"). Later in 1997, Jones returned to guest star as Roland Books in Law & Order Season 7, Episode 9 ("Entrapment"). Jones' Law & Order days weren't over yet, either. In 2006, Jones returned to Dick Wolf's beloved franchise in the spin-off series Law & Order: Criminal Intent in Season 5, Episode 16 ("Dramma Giocoso") as Reggie Banks .
Jones' other thrilling credits include his tenure as Romero in Mr. Robot (2015–2016), The Get Down (2016–2017), Luke Cage (2016-2018), and his role as Leander "Shreve" Scovill in Truth Be Told (2019-2023).
Jones returned to his Law & Order roots for Season 2 of Law & Order: Organized Crime, appearing in 8 episodes as Congressman Leon Kilbride.
Ron Cephas Jones' Film Roles: He Got Game to Dolemite Is My Name
Jones film roles also earned him equal acclaim.
Jones made his screen acting debut in the 1994 film Murder Magic as Buddy Dixon. In 1996, Jones starred in Naked Acts and in 1998 took on the role of Prison Guard Bowel in Spike Lee’s He Got Game.
Jones has since starred in several must-watch films, such as Half Nelson (2006), Across the Universe (2007), The Holiday Calendar (2018), and Dolemite Is My Name (2019).
Ron Cephas Jones' Theatre Credits
Jones solidified a legacy with his prolific film and television career, but he was first bit by the acting bug on stage in New York City. Jones starred in a variety of on and off-Broadway productions, first gaining traction for his lead role in the 1994 play Holiday Heart.
Jones later earned acclaim for his role as the title character in Public Theater's production of Richard III and The Bridge Project’s touring production of The Tempest, in which he played the iconic Caliban.
Jones boasts additional theatre credits like Othello, Ajax, Jesus Hopped the A Train, and Two Trains Running.
In 2013, Jones took on the titular role of Prometheus in Prometheus Bound and a year later starred in Of Mice and Men on Broadway. Jones achieved legendary Broadway status in the 2021 play Clyde's, which earned him his first Tony nomination.
Ron Cephas Jones' Daughter, Hamilton actor Jasmine Cephas Jones
Star power must run in the Jones family because Jones' daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, is also a tour-de-force of talent. Jasmine is an American-British actress and singer who skyrocketed to fame after originating the roles of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds in the Broadway musical Hamilton.
Like her father, Jasmine has also taken her on-stage talent to the television screen, appearing in a number of series — including Blue Bloods (2013) and Girls (2017) — and starring in #FreeRayshawn (2020) and Blindspotting (2021-2023).
Ron Cephas Jones' Awards
Jones' many magnetic characters and passionate performances led him to receive several prestigious awards and recognitions. Jones's role as William Hill in This Is Us earned him four consecutive Emmy nominations from 2017 to 2020, and he took home the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2018 and 2020 for This Is Us.
Fun fact: Jones and his daughter Jasmine won their Emmy awards the same year!
Jones and the cast of This Is Us also took home the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the 24th Screen Actor's Guild Awards.
In 2022, Jones earned a Tony nomination for his role in the Broadway play Clyde's.