ENTERTAINMENT

Ron Cephas Jones, Emmy-winning ‘This Is Us’ actor, dies at 66

The star was best known for playing William Hill on the hit NBC family drama.

Ron Cephas Jones, the Emmy-winning actor best known for playing William Hill on the hit NBC family drama This Is Us, has died. He was 66. 

A representative for Jones confirmed that he died of a “long-standing pulmonary issue” in a statement to EW on Saturday. 

“Throughout the course of his career, his warmth, beauty, generosity, kindness, and heart were felt by anyone who had the good fortune of knowing him,” his representative said in a statement to EW. “He began his career at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and his love for the stage was present throughout his entire career, including his recent Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award–winning performance for his role in Clyde’s on Broadway.”  

Ron Cephas Jones

Ron Cephas Jones

| Credit: Maarten de Boer/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

“Ron’s inner beauty and soul were evident to the huge audience from his multi-Emmy-award-winning performance on This is Us,” his representative continued. “He was sweeter and deeper and greater even than any role he ever played. I’m so grateful to have been a part of his life.”

Jones revealed in a 2021 New York Times interview that he had received a double lung transplant the previous year following a private battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He subsequently spent almost two months both on and off a ventilator at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles as he learned how to breathe, walk, and eat again.

On his final day on the set of This Is Us, he told EW how the show’s cast and crew supported him through his health issues. “You cats held me when I was struggling and you didn’t let me go,” he said through tears at the time. “You’ve been there for a very difficult part of my life. I’m a walking miracle.”

Jones starred as William Hill, the biological father of Randall Pearson (played by Sterling K. Brown), for all six seasons of the celebrated television series. His powerful and poignant performance earned him two Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, in 2018 and 2020. His daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, also won an Emmy in 2020 for her performance in the Quibi series #FreeRayshawn, making them the first father-daughter duo ever to win Emmys in the same year. 

Jones’ other TV credits included his role as Bobby Fish in the Marvel series Luke Cage, Romero on Mr. Robot, the father of Octavia Spencer’s character Poppy on Truth Be Told, and several spotlight appearances on Law & Order: Organized Crime, The Blacklist, and NYPD Blue. He also starred in several films, including Across the Universe and Dolemite Is My Name. 

Jones is survived by his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones.

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