The youngest of four brothers, Doug Jones was born on the 24th May, 1960, in Indianapolis, Indiana, and grew up in the city’s Northeast side. After attending Bishop Chatard High School, he headed off to Ball State University, where he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications, and a minor in Theatre.
He learned mime at school, joining a troupe called “Mime Over Matter” and doing the whole white-faced thing. “I was a mime for one summer at Kings Island theme park in Cincinnati, Ohio, after graduating Ball State. Scaring children from Kentucky is basically what you do down there,” he said with a laugh.
Doug has also worked as a contortionist. “You’d be surprised how many times that comes into play in commercials. They’ll want somebody to hold a box of Tide funny or something. I once squished into a box for a commercial for relaxed fit jeans.” He is nearing 100 TV commercials now, including the McDonald’s character he made famous around the world, Mac Tonight.
After a hitch in theater in Indiana, he moved to Los Angeles in 1985, and has not been out of work since – he’s acted in over 25 films, many television series (Including the award-winning Buffy The Vampire Slayer, his episode Hush garnering two Emmy nominations) over 90 commercials and music videos, with the likes of Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Marilyn Manson.
Although known mostly for his iconic work under prosthetics, such as the floppy zombie ‘Billy‘ in the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, or the lead Spy Morlock in the 2001 remake The Time Machine, he has also performed as ‘himself’ in such highly-rated films as Adaptation with Nicholas Cage, Mystery Men with Ben Stiller, Batman Returns with Danny DeVito, and indie projects such as Stefan Haves‘ Stalled, Phil Donlon’s A Series of Small Things, and as Cesare in David Fisher’s daring 2005 remake of the 1919 silent classic, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari.
But it is his sensitive and elegant performance as Abe Sapien in Hellboy, which stormed to the top of the U.S. box office in the spring of 2004, that brought him an even higher profile and much praise from both audiences and critics.
In 2005 he renewed his association with Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, when he starred in the title role of Pan, in del Toro’s Spanish language fantasy/horror project El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth). He also had a cameo in the film as The Pale Man, a gruesome creature with a penchant for eating children. Working once more under heavy prosthetics in both roles, he also was required to learn huge chunks of dialogue in archaic Spanish – which he did perfectly.
2005 continued to be a hectic year for Doug, with roles in Doom, The Benchwarmers, and Lady in the Water, the latter being the brainchild of award-winning cult director/writer M. Night Shyamalan. The year also brought success for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the film reaping three awards at the Screamfest Horror Festival in Los Angeles, including the coveted Audience Choice Award.
He also stepped out from behind the prosthetics for several roles, most notably to guest-star as freaked-out drug addict Domino Thacker, in the episode Blood Hungry of the hugely popular TV series Criminal Minds, his jittery, unnerving performance being lauded by cast, crew, and audiences alike.
Doug continued his collaboration with Guillermo del Toro into 2006, as he reprised his role as Abe Sapien by voicing the character in the new Hellboy Animated television project, recording two 70-minute animated films, Hellboy: Sword of Storms, and Hellboy: Blood and Iron.
On December 18th, 2006, he finished filming his role as the Silver Surfer, in the film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which hit theaters in June 2007. Doug’s haunting performance as the ‘Surfer’ brought universal praise from critics and cinema audiences. He also attended the Oscars for the first time as El Laberinto del Fauno garnered six nominations, winning three, including triumph for the makeup team behind the creation of Doug’s characters, the Barcelona-based DDT Efectos Especiales led by David Marti and Montse Ribe. This was the crowning glory for a film that won countless major awards throughout the world and has since become acknowledged as a cinematic masterpiece.
On May 16th, 2007, Doug headed out to Budapest, Hungary, to reprise his role as Abe Sapien in the sequel to Hellboy, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which began filming on June 8th, 2007, and once more under the direction of Guillermo del Toro. Playing all of Abe this time, voice and performance, Doug played two other roles, the Angel of Death and The Chamberlain, both under heavy prosthetics. The film hit Number One at the box office on its opening weekend in the U.S.A.
Doug has also been expanding his voice work resumé, including work on the indie short movie Rise, the independent film Man in the Silo, and the animated film Quantum Quest – A Cassini Space Odyssey, as well as narrating the animated short The Dream and The Alphabet Sonnets by Calix Lewis Reneau.
2008 brought more screen work, including guest cameos in Super Capers, Legion, and Quarantine, as well as a highly-acclaimed performance on the television series Fear Itself, starring in the episode Skin and Bones, directed by cult horror director Larry Fessenden. Doug’s chilling performance as possessed rancher Grady Edlund won rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Doug’s reputation for being able to cope with dialogue in a language he doesn’t speak, stood him in good stead when he joined the cast of Serge Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique, French writer Joann Sfar’s first foray into directing. An affectionate and surreal tribute to the life and works of French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, Sfar cast Doug as Gainsbourg’s strange alter-ego La Gueule, a comic-book style character who is Gainsbourg’s muse. Working once more with David Marti and Montse Ribe of DDT Efectos Especiales, the Oscar-winning FX shop from El Laberinto Del Fauno, Doug spent a happy four months during 2009 filming in Paris. The film has been enthusiastically received worldwide, with Doug’s performance being universally praised.
But most satisfying of all, is his starring role in the independent film My Name is Jerry, shot in his home state of Indiana, with fellow Ball State University alumnus director Morgan Mead. In what he calls his ‘dream role’ written specially for him, he worked in the summer of 2008 in Muncie, Indiana, with a unique crew combining industry professionals and film students from Ball State, giving many talented young film makers a chance to gain experience in a professional production. The film has won numerous awards, and brought Doug a Best Actor award at the 3rd Strasbourg International Film Festival in 2010. My Name is Jerry was released on DVD in 2010. Doug has continued working on films and commercials. Some of his more recent roles include Teen Wolf, Sons of Anarchy, multiple episodes of Research and The Neighbors, Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time as Gay Robot, Z Nation, Crimson Peak, 28 episodes of Falling Skies as Cochise, The Strain, and The Flash, and Arrow as Deathbolt,
When he has spare time (an increasingly rare occurrence these days!), he loves to rollerblade at Venice Beach, and is a pretty decent barber – he cuts his own hair, and is known to happily give haircuts to cast and crew while on location – he says he finds it cathartic! He also loves to sing (he has a smooth and very versatile baritone voice), and is an active member of his church choir – singing gospel music at the top of his lungs is one of his favorite things, and he is a very popular solo singer. One of the items on his ‘To Do’ list is to record an album sometime in the future when he can put aside the time, along with his long-held ambition to write his first novel.
A deeply spiritual man, Doug is often asked to talk at youth festivals and universities, and indeed many of the independent films he makes have a spiritual leaning. His faith in God means a great deal to him, and he is an active member of Media Fellowship International, a Christian group working within the entertainment industry.
Doug and his wife Laurie also mentor young people who wish to work in the medium of film, and are beginning their careers in the business. Not having children of their own, and remembering how hard it was for Doug when he started out, he and Laurie now provide a kind of surrogate parental support mechanism for many young folks struggling to make their way in a very tough industry. They are affectionately known as the ‘Puppies,’ and they are all very proud of their moniker!
Doug and Laurie live in California, but return home to visit Indiana whenever they can.
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