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RIP L.Q. Jones, Western Actor Has Taken His Final Ride

Long-time Facts Verse subscribers are likely quite familiar with actor and director I.Q. Jones. Sadly, we’ve just learned that the legendary western star has passed away.

In addition to appearing in Western television series such as Wagon Train, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Cheyenne. Jones best known for his roles in Sam Peckinpah films like 1962s Ride the High Country, 1965s Major Dundee, and 1973s Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid.

In 1975, Jones wrote and directed the science fiction film A Boy and His Dog, which was based upon a novella of the same name by American writer Harlan Ellison.

Later in his career, Jones had roles in movies such as 1995s Casino, 1998s The Mask of Zorro, and 2006s A Prairie Home Companion.

Just about a month shy of his 95th birthday. On July 9, 2022, Jones passed away of natural causes at his home in the Hollywood Hills. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death. Also, how he came to known as one of the most iconic Western stars of the 20th century.

I. Q. Jones Early Years And Rise To Fame

Jones was born Justus Ellis McQueen on the 19th of August, 1927, in Beaumont, Texas, to parents Jessie Paralee and Justus Ellis McQueen Sr. His father worked as a railroad worker, while his mother tragically died in an car accident when he was still very young.

As a kid, Mcqueen’s family moved around quite a bit. From Beaumont they moved to Dallas, then over to Oklahoma before returning back to Beaumont once again.

By the time he was 8, he already had his own horse. He grew up around what he would later refer to as ‘tough rodeo people’. His uncle was into roping, and ranchwork was just a way of life. So, later on when he got into Westerns, it just sort of came naturally to him.

After graduating from Port Neches-Groves High School in 1945, McQueen served in the US Navy from 1945 to 1946. He then enrolled at Lamar Junior College in Beaumont before transferring to Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas.

After that, he studied journalism, law, and business at the University of Texas at Austin from 1950 to 1951.

McQueen tried out several different career paths before finally discovering his passion for acting. First he took a stab as a stand-up comic before briefly playing pro baseball and football. He even did a stint as a rancher in Nicaragua before giving acting a go upon the insistence of one of his former college roommates, Fess Parker. As you might recall, Parker an actor best known for his titular roles in Disney’s Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone television series. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death.

Parker sent McQueen a copy of the book Battle Cry, informing him that it was likely to get the motion picture treatment. McQueen thought that he would well suited to play the part of the character I. Q. Jones in the film adaptation of the novel. Through sheer luck, circumstance, and confidence, director Raoul Walsh took a liking to young McQueen and decided to give him a chance playing Jones in the film.

Battle Cry hit theaters in 1955 – and from that point on, the name I. Q. Jones just seemed to stick.

Years later when asked about the name change, Jones explained that before appearing in Battle Cry. He had never seen a motion picture camera. After signing on to do the film, the studio asked him if he minded if they changed his name.

Jones reportedly replied by saying that since they were the ones that signed the checks. It didn’t matter to him in the least bit what they called him. That being said, he would eventually admit that changing his name from Justus McQueen was probably not the brightest move.

Later in 1955, Jones cast as Smitthy Smith in three episodes of ABCs Cheyenne — his first hour-long network television western role.

For the next couple of decades, Jones appeared in dozens of films and television shows – many of which were westerns. Starting with his role in the Klondike series in 1960, Jones became a member of Sam Pekninpah’s stock company of actors. He went on to appear in many of Peckinpah’s other Western films, including 1965 Major Dundee and 1970s Ballad of Cable Hogue.

Jones was often cast alongside his friend Strother Martin. Perhaps the most memorable instance of this was his role as the bounty hunter and posse member TC in 1969 The Wild Bunch.

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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Keep watching to learn all about I.Q. Jones later film and television career, as well as his friendship with Elvis Presley. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death.

Jone’s Onset Spat With Sam Peckinpah

While filming Major Dundee, Jones got into a heated exchange of words with Sam Peckinpah while filming a scene that saw him and his co-stars Ben Johnson and Warren Oates chasing a band of Indians on horseback up a river. Sam had a 9-foot tower built on rails that went over the river to follow the actors while filming the scene.

At the end of the take, Sam yelled at the three actors, saying that they had no talent and that they would never work in motion pictures again.

While Oates and Johnson let the comment slide and returned to work, Jones just couldn’t let it go. Instead, he came storming up to the tower, stood up in his saddle, climbed the building and told Peckinpah off by saying that he didn’t have enough talent to direct him ‘in the men’s room’.

Suddenly everyone went quiet. You could have probably heard a pen drop at that moment. The cast and crew surely expected that Jones was about to be dispatched. But instead, Sam just giggled, and with that, everything was okay. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death.

Jones would later remark on that incident by saying that Sam probably would have had a few choice words for God himself if he showed up on set. That was just the kind of guy he was. If anything, he had more respect for Jones after speaking his mind like that.

Jones Film and Television Career Was Quite Prolific

In addition to the Peckinpaw films, Jones would appear in recurring roles in series such as Gunsmoke, Laramie, Two Faces West, and The Virginian. In 1962, he notably appeared as a wealthy rancher in search of a bride named Ollie Earnshaw on Lawman. An episode fittingly titled ‘The Bride’.

Many will remember Jones for his role in the military drama series Men of Annapolis. While others might recall his appearance in the NBC western series Jefferson Drum.

Jones made two guest appearances on the courtroom drama series Perry Mason. In the 1958 episode ‘The Case of the Lonely Heiress’, he played a con artist and murder victim named Charles B. Barnaby. In 1963s “The Case of the Badgered Brother’, Jones portrayed a character named Edward Lewis.

Other notable television shows that Jones guest-starred on included The A-Team, Hawaii Five-O, The Fall Guy, and The Men From Shiloh. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death.

Some of Jones’s other notable film roles include parts in 1957s Men in War, 1958s The Naked and The Dead, 1960s Cimarron, 1968s Hang ‘Em High, 1975s Attack on Terror: The FBI vs the Klu Klux Klan, and 1983s McQuade.

In 1985 he played Pat Webb in Casino. He followed that up with roles in 1994s Lightning Jack, 1996s Tornado!, 1998s Zorro, and 2001s Route 666. His final film role was in 2006s Prairie Home Companion.

Jones Appeared Alongside Numerous Legends Including Elvis

Throughout his career, Jones starred in countless films alongside some of the biggest names in show business, including stars like James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Audie Murphy, Glenn Ford, and Clint Eastwood.

Jones even got the opportunity to appear in three Elvis films. The first was when he was just getting started as an actor when he appeared in Elvis’s first movie, Love Me Tender, in 1956.

His next film with The King was 1960s Flaming Star. Jones third and final film with the ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ hip-gyrating singer was 1968s Stay Away, Joe.

In one interview, Jones explained that while it was hard to be around Elvis since doing so would put you in danger of having your eye put out or your clothes pulled off by the legion of Presley’s teenage fans, when they did have some time to kick it, they would often hang out at his or Elvis’s apartment’. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death.

The two stars would then sit around and shoot the breeze. In those conversations, Jones learned that Elvis didn’t think of himself as a very good singer. Instead, he thought that he was much better guitarist. Jones begged to differ, but that didn’t matter, because they had a blast hanging out while Elvis would play the guitar and everyone else would sing along.

L.Q Jones Is Survived By His Three Children

Jones funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. He’s survived by his three kids, Randy, Steve, and Mindy.

Jones had been single for the last 49 years. His ex-wife, Neta Sue Lewis, whom he met in college, dated for 9 years, married in 1950. And divorced in 1973, was the mother of his three children. Unfortunately, not much else is known about her.

I.Q. Jones will forever be remembered as being one of the most iconic western stars of the 20th century. The sandy-haired, tall, mustachioed, actor with the booming voice will be sorely missed. Join Facts Verse as we take a look back on L.Q Jones’s prolific Hollywood career and Death.

What are some of your favorite films and television shows that I.Q. Jones appeared in, and did you know that he got his stage name after playing a character of the same name in his first film? Let us know in the comments.

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