R.I.P. L.Q. Jones, classic Western character actor
He also made his mark on the big screen, working with some of Hollywood's best directors and acting alongside everyone from Elvis to Robert De Niro.
Though he’s perhaps best remembered for his many outlaw roles in classic TV Westerns, L.Q. Jones started his career in military movies. He even took his stage name from his first character, Private L.Q. Jones, in the 1955 film Battle Cry. He was credited as Justus E. McQueen for that debut role, a name that might have stolen Steve McQueen’s thunder had Justus kept using it professionally.
Jones appeared in the Navy movie An Annapolis Story and the Korean war drama Target Zero which both also hit theaters in 1955. In fact, Jones was busy his first year in Hollywood! Later in ’55 he played Clint Walker’s sidekick, Smitty, in three first-season episodes of Cheyenne.
In 1956, Jones remained busy. He had a small role as Pardee Fleming in the Elvis movie Love Me Tender as well as parts in films Toward the Unknown, Between Heaven and Hell and Santiago.
Jones finished the Fifties with more war films (Men in War, Torpedo Run, Battle of the Coral Sea) and Westerns (Gunsight Ridge, Buchanan Rides Alone, Warlock). In 1960, he appeared in the Glen Ford historical epic Cimarron.
The Sixties cemented his reputation as a go-to cowboy and gunslinger actor. He appeared on TV in The Rifleman, Have Gun – Will Travel, Laramie, Wagon Train, Rawhide, The Big Valley, Gunsmoke and more. He also put down the gun belt to appear in shows like Perry Mason and My Favorite Martian.
On the big screen, Jones acted in two more Elvis flicks (Flaming Star and Stay Away, Joe) as well as the Clint Eastwood adventure Hang ’Em High and Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.
During the Seventies and Eighties, Jones appeared in classic series like CHiPs, The Incredible Hulk, Charlie’s Angels and The A-Team. He also wrote and directed the 1975 cult classic apocalyptic dark comedy A Boy and His Dog starring Don Johnson.
Later in his career, Jones played Pat Webb in Martin Scorsese’s Casino and Three-Fingered Jack in The Mask of Zorro.
One of the most recognizable faces from TV Westerns, L.Q. Jones was 94.