January 25, 1931 – Actor, Singer, and Disney Legend Dean Jones is Born
“When you think of Disney, you think of Dean Jones.” – David Vogel, Former President of Walt Disney Pictures
On January 25, 1931, Dean Carroll Jones was born in Decatur, Alabama. He left home at age 15 to pursue a career in music, picking up odd jobs here and there to pay the bills while singing in a club in New Orleans. During the Korean War, Jones served in the United States Navy. After a four-year stint, he ended up in San Diego, California, where he spent his free days auditioning; he eventually scored a contract with MGM, starring in mostly dramatic roles that included Tea and Sympathy and Jailhouse Rock. He made his Broadway debut in 1960 with the play There Was a Little Girl, and scored a hit with the comedy Under the Yum-Yum Tree; he reprised his role in the 1963 film version. Jones was brought to Walt Disney’s attention after starring in the NBC sitcom Ensign O’Toole, which led to being signed with the studio and starring in the 1965 film That Darn Cat! The film, notable for being Hayley Mills’ last film for the studio, was a success, and lead to Jones being cast in more films, including The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit and The Shaggy D.A. His signature role has been as driver Jim Douglas in Disney’s Love Bug series, where he appeared in two feature films, a short-lived television series, and a made-for-television film. Jones continued to star in several Disney television specials and remakes, with one of his last projects being the remake of his first film for Disney, That Darn Cat, released in 1997. Jones was inducted into the Disney Legends in 1995. Currently, he is semi-retired and living in California.