Born: Aug. 19, 1927 in Beaumont, Texas
Died: July 9, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA
Actor/director L.Q. Jones was born Justus Ellis McQueen. He graduated in 1945 from Port Neches-Groves High School, where he was on the cheerleading squad. He attended the University of Texas, graduating in law, business, and journalism. Jones worked as a standup comedian while in college, doing over 800 live shows before students and service members.
After graduation, Jones worked in a variety of jobs, then bought a ranch in Nicaragua. His friend Fess Parker who he had roomed with for a time in college, sent Jones a copy of author Leon Uris' Battle Cry. Jones decided he wanted the part of L.Q. Jones in the film. He flew to Hollywood and successfully auditioned for the role. Adopting the name of his character, Jones quickly garnered a personal contract with Raoul Walsh.
Jones was later cast in Cheyenne for the show's first season and later starred in several military films and westerns, mostly as comic relief. Jones' first Emmy nomination came for his role in "The Rebel," his first dramatic role as a "heavy." Jones gained recognition playing villains in Ride the High Country and The Wild Bunch. He also earned an Emmy nomination for his work in Cimarron Strip in 1967. He is best known for playing the Nevada cowboy, who was a powerful behind-the-scenes player in Martin Scorsese's Casino. He appeared in more than 70 motion pictures, 25-plus television movies, and more than 400 different television series. Somehow, he has also found time to direct, produce, and write.
The achievement for which he is most proud is the film he scripted, directed, and financed in 1974. A Boy and His Dog is a critically acclaimed science-fiction cult classic. Jones won a Hugo award for his adaptation of the novella-the science-fiction community's highest honor.
The novella, written by Harlan Ellison, is only the inspiration for Jones' film. After the first ten minutes, L.Q. Jones penned and directed a visually stunning (for its time) continuation of Ellison's story. Using what he had learned as one of Sam Peckinpah's favorite actors, he creates a future that is dirty, gritty, and dystopian. George Miller has credited A Boy and His Dog as the inspiration for his Mad Max films. Science fiction films, series, and games, such as Star Wars, and The Mandalorian, often place their characters in this same sparse and remote desert. That all traces back to the original vision of L.Q. Jones.
L.Q. was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Notable People Hall of fame, in October of 2001.