TMZ has reported that actor Mickey Jones died at 2:17 AM Wednesday as the result of a long illness. Jones has been in and out of the hospital for the last few months, battling the unknown illness.
After three decades in the movie industry, Mickey Jones became one of the most well-known movie and television character actors around. He is best known for recurring role as Pete Bilker on the ABC sitcom Home Improvement.
More recently, Jones had a recurring role on the TV show Justified, as Rodney “Hot Rod” Dunham. The character was a marijuana distributor who ran a small band of criminals. “Hot Rod” was killed off in season 5 (2014), after being shot in the stomach.
He also appeared in movies like Total Recall, Sling Blade, and Tin Cup.
While he certainly made a name for himself as an actor, his entertainment career actually began as a musician. Jones began playing drums back in high school at his alma mater, Sunset High School, located in the Oak Cliff, TX.
After working as a freelance drummer, Jones quickly became a rising star in the music business. During his two-decade career, Jones backed up acts such as Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers, and even Bob Dylan during his 1966 world tour.
He had 17 gold records, many of which he received as the permanent drummer for Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. The group saw a lot of success over the years, even having their own TV variety show, Rollin’ on the River. It was only after the group broke up in 1976 that Jones stopped being a musician and began to concentrate on his acting career.
Jones is survived by his wife, Phyllis Jean Starr, and their two children. Our condolences go out to his family.
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