Born Again

Dean JonesThat Darn Cat!image: Walt Disney Studios, .

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Dean Jones Hollywood comeback took place in 1991, when he was seen inNorman Jewisons comedyOther Peoples Money, starring Danny DeVito,Gregory PeckPiper Laurie, and PenelopeAnn Miller.

More recently, as found on the IMDb Dean Jones was rumored as a cast member of a project titledBeyondthe RiverBridge, which was first announced back in 2009.

Apart from a filmed, Dan Curtis-directed performance of his one-man showSt. John in Exile(1986), in which he played Jesus last surviving apostle as he reminisces about his life, Jones would stay away from the big screen until the early 90s.

In the late 1990s, after appearing in a Washington, D.C., production ofShow Boat, he founded the Christian Rescue Committee, whose aim was to provide assistance to persecuted Christians.

Dean Jones: Actor in Disney andChristian movies.

He alsosuggestedthat college students should become faithfully intoxicated with the Holy Spirit instead of resorting to booze.

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Additionally,Lindsay Lohanstarred in the 2005 big-screen rebootHerbie: Fully Loaded, which turned out to be a respectable international hit.

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Dean Jones began his Hollywood career in the mid-50s, when he was featured in bit parts at times uncredited in a handful of films atMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In a 2009interviewfor Christianity Today, Jones recalled playing his first scene (inThese Wilder Years) with veteranJames Cagney, who told him, Walk to your mark and remember your lines supposedly a lesson the tyro performer would take to heart.

Company, which also featured Barbara Barrie, Elaine Stritch, and George Coe, ran April 1970-Jan. 1972. Curiously, although (mostly) not seen on the Broadway stage, Jones voice is the one heard on the recording of the show.

At MGM, bit player Jones would also be featured inRobert WisesSomebody Up There Likes Me(1956), starringPaul Newmanand Pier Angeli; David MillersThe Womenremake,The Opposite Sex(1956), starringJune AllysonandJoan Collins; and Richard ThorpesElvis Presleystar vehicleJailhouse Rock(1957).

Jones also had a supporting role in Bob Spiers poorly received remake ofThat Darn Cat(1997), featuringChristina Ricciand Doug E. Doug.

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Under the direction of JoshuaLogan(Picnic,Sayonara), he made his Broadway debut in Daniel Taradashs short-lived 1960 playThere Was a Little Girl, withJane Fonda. Later that year, under Joseph Anthonys direction, he would star opposite Gig Young, Sandra Church, and Nan Martin in Lawrence Romans comedyUnder the Yum-Yum Tree. The showranfrom Nov. 1960 to April 1961.

Based on Colsons autobiography,Born Again targeting Fundamentalist Christian moviegoers decades beforeSon ofGodandWar Room was directed by Irving Rapper (of theBette Davisstar vehiclesNow VoyagerandThe Corn Is Green), and featuredAnne Francisas Colsons wife, plus veteransDana AndrewsandGeorge Brentin supporting roles.

In real life, Jones, who had developed a serious alcohol problem, himself became a radicalized Evangelical Christian in the 1970s, reportedly following a drunk-driving accident that almost took his life.

Actors & ActressesBorn Again (1978)Classic MoviesDean JonesReligion / Religious FilmsThat Darn Cat! (1965)The Love Bug (1968)Theater / Broadway & West EndTwo on a Guillotine (1965)Under the Yum-Yum Tree (1963)Walt Disney Studios / Pixar AnimationDean Jones Actor Dies: From Disney Hit The Love Bug to Christian MoviesĀ© 20042018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).

Just bear in mind that *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative.

During that period, Jones also starred in Antonio Margheritis largely forgotten Italian-made comedy-fantasyMr. Superinvisible / Linafferrabile invincibile Mr. Invisibile(1970) and, if theIMDbis correct, was seen in a cameo as a police officer inSteven SpielbergsThe Sugarland Express(1974), starringGoldie Hawn, Michael Sacks, and William Atherton.

At the end of the decade, Jones found himself stuck in bit parts that required him to merely walk to his mark and remember his lines (if any). At that time, a move to New York helped to jump-start his stalled acting career.

For better or for worse, in his mostly quite popular Disney family films Jones would be typecast as somewhat bland, somewhat befuddled all-American types characters that generally were more kinetic and less artificial versions of theJames Stewartroles of the late 30s and early 40s.

Born Again

Two years later, Dean Jones become embroiled with a mad murderer in William Conrads creepyTwo on a Guillotine, with Connie Stevens andCesar Romero, and began his association with Walt Disney by way of Robert StevensonsThat Darn Cat!(1965), opposite teen star Hayley Mills and Dorothy Provine.

Michelle Lee and Dean JonesThe Love Bugimage: Walt Disney Studios, viaVariety.

FollowingUnder the Yum-Yum Tree, nearly a decade would pass before Dean Jones returned to Broadway. He landed the key role of Robert (or Bobby) in the Harold Prince-produced, Stephen Sondheim musicalCompany but quit the show not long after opening night because of private turmoil, as he was in the process of getting divorced. He was replaced by Larry Kert (Tony in the original Broadway production ofWest Side Story), who would go on to receive a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

In 1963, Dean Jones returned to the big screen, this time as aleading man, in David Swifts weak film version ofUnder the Yum-Yum Tree, withJack Lemmon, Carol Lynley, and Edie Adams replacing Gig Young, Sandra Church, and Nan Martin. In the film, a miscast Lemmon plays a horny landlord who tries to steal college girl Lynley from her live-in college boyfriend (Jones, then in his early 30s).

From 1965 to 1977, Dean Jones worked almost exclusive for the Walt Disney Studios. His one major film foray away from Disney was Robert Ellis Millers silly 1966 film version of the Broadway hit comedyAny Wednesday, co-starring Jason Robards and Jane Fonda.

Dean Jones autobiography,Under Running Laughter, in which he discusses his conversion to Evangelical Christianity, came out in 1982.

In his 2009 Christianity Today interview, Jones had complained that film and television have been partially responsible for the disconnect between our nation and our God. Not surprisingly, his last film had a Christian theme: Joy Chapman and Owen Smiths little-seen, straight-to-DVD adventure dramaMandie and the Secret Tunnel(2009), with Lexi Johnson.

Of these, the best-remembered is probablyThe Love Bug, about a Volkswagen beetle with more brainpower than most humans. The box office hit ($51.26 million)* led to several sequels Jones was seen only inHerbie Goes to Monte Carlo and one made-for-television reboot in 1997. Directed byAnt-MansPeyton Reed, the TV movie featured Bruce Campbell, John Hannah, and Alexandra Wentworth, with Jones cast in a small role as an older version of his 1968 character.

Jones would be back on Broadway in the Christian musicalInto the Light, which bombed six performances at the Neil SimonTheatrein Oct. 1986, and in a special two-performance revival ofCompanyin April 1993, with Patti LuPone asthe host. (Larry Kert had died in June 1991.)

A handful of other features would follow in the ensuing years, including Brian LevantsBeethoven(1992), a Disney-esque comedy starring a huge, slobbering St. Bernard, Charles Grodin, and Bonnie Hunt; and Philip Noyces un-Disney-esqueClear and Present Danger(1994), withHarrison FordAnne Archer, andWillem Dafoe.

Dean Jones: Actor who went from The Love Bug and That Darn Cat! to Christian movies dead at 84

Following the end of his association with the Walt Disney Studios, Dean Jones movie career came to an abrupt halt after the release ofBorn Again, a 1978 religious drama starringThe Love BugandThe Ugly Dachshundactor as Charles Colson, Special Counsel to disgracedfrom 1969 to 1973. While spending seven months in prison as a result of theWatergateconspiracy scandal, Colson converted toEvangelicalChristianity.

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Dean Jones Evangelical Christian views and quote re: separation of Church and State via Claudia SpringersJames DeanTransfigured: The ManyFacesof Rebel Iconography.

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* Its unclear how many timesThe Love Bugwas rereleased.Box Office Mojoestimates that the Disney blockbuster grossed approx. $304 million in 2015 dollars.

Dean Jones Actor Dies: From Disney Hit The Love Bug to Christian Movies

Dean Jones, best known for playing befuddled heroes inmovies such asThat Darn Cat!andThe Love Bug, died of complications from Parkinsons disease on Tue., Sept. 1 15, in Los Angeles. Jones (born on Jan. 25, 1931, in Decatur, Alabama) was 84.

Taking a long break away from Broadway (more on Jones stage work further below), at around that time he landed the title role in the sitcomEnsign OToole(1962-63), co-starring veteran Jack Albertson.

Dean Jones was inducted into the Disney Legends Hall of Fame in 1995.

He would later assert that he would agree to appear only in films that wouldnt blaspheme God, and more recently wrote a column for a Christian website, wondering whether Walt Disney had found Christ before hisdeath, Why Hollywood Makes Dirty Movies, and about the problems resulting from the separation between Church and State, asking, Would the polarized anger and strife we are experiencing today be possible if our Congress were publishing Bibles, our Supreme Court taking Communion, our Senators calling for public thankfulness to God?

In other words: Feel free to add something reasonable & coherent AND fact-based to the discussion.


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