The beloved actor Tommy Lee Jones is likely a familiar presence to most audience members. His unique appearance and Southern charm has made a distinct impression on audiences since his arrival in Hollywood in the 1970s. Despite the actor’s ubiquity, his charismatic mystique has prevented much of the audience from knowing too much about his personal life. For those who want to know where the actor came from and what he’s really about, join Facts Verse as we reveal the shocking true story of Tommy Lee Jones.
Tommy Lee Jones was born on September 15 of 1946. In addition to being an Academy Award winning actor, he has also directed a number of films. Since appearing on the Hollywood scene in 1970, Tommy has received four Academy Award nominations. His first win came in 1993, when he wont the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Fugitive. A few years later, he appeared in 1997’s Men in Black. In the 2000s, he garnered critical acclaim for his role in 2007’s No Country for Old Men. Over the course of his long career, his presence has become iconic to audiences. His Southern demeanor always provides a unique charm to whatever film he happens to show up in. Despite appearing in numerous films over the course of his half-century career, the actor has maintained a fairly secretive private life. He has gained a reputation as someone who doesn’t like to talk about personal matters, making it hard to get a grip on what the man’s really about.
Tommy was born in the town of San Saba, Texas. His father was a worker on an oil field and his mother was, in turns, a beauty shop owner, a school teacher, and a police officer. Tommy has recounted that his parents were married and divorced on two separate occasions. He was born and raised in San Antonio, very close to the border. Because of this, Tommy grew up fluently bilingual, able to speak both English and Spanish with ease. He later used this skill to his advantage when filming his directorial debut in 2005, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Tommy has also claimed to be of Cherokee descent, a heritage that he holds dear to his heart for numerous reasons.
At the start of his high school career, Tommy began attending Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas. He happened to be attending the school at the same time that future first lady Laura Bush was. At the time she was attending, she was known by her maiden name of Welch. Before graduating, Tommy and his family moved to Dallas. Tommy was transferred over to St. Mark’s School of Texas and graduated in 1965. The young man did well with an education, and was given a scholarship to attend the prestigious Harvard University. Upon arrival, he was assigned to a dorm room with future vice president Al Gore. The two became friends, and the friendship continues to this day.
Tommy successfully completed his tenure at Harvard, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1969. Unsurprising to those closest to him, he had graduated with flying colors, receiving honors. Tommy played football while attending Harvard. He did so well at the sport that he often wasn’t sure whether or not he should pursue a career in football or follow his then-established dream of being a famous Hollywood actor. When he graduated and the time came for him to make up his mind, he chose being a professional actor.
Tommy moved to New York City after his graduation and began searching for roles. Miraculously, the young actor wasn’t going to have to search for very long. He came to the city with the idea that he could float by on his innate talent without going the traditional route of acting lessons. As it turns out, he was right. He was given his first job within just ten days of arriving in the city. He was given a role in the Broadway production A Patriot for Me, which opened on October 6. Tommy found a job so fast that it was actually considered a notable achievement by Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Many have speculated that the ticket to Tommy’s early success was his Southern drawl, a unique feature that set him apart from many other available actors at the time. His Southern drawl set him apart at the time, and continues to be an iconic part of the actor’s legacy.
Although A Patriot for Me provided Tommy with his first role, 1970’s Love Story was the film that proved to be his breakout success. This is an incredible coincidence given that Tommy Lee Jones actually played a large part in inspiring the novel that the film was based on. When Tommy Lee Jones was at Harvard with his roommate Al Gore, they befriended a younger student that had come there on sabbatical named Erich Segal. Erich was inspired when he met these two older students, and he began incorporating aspects of each one into a singular character in a novel that he had been toying around with. That novel, of course, was Love Story, and the character was the main character of Oliver, the Harvard jock. Although Tommy ironically didn’t get to play the character that was essentially an approximation of himself, he still got to take part in the film adaptation. He played one of Oliver’s roommates.
It’s not for nothing that Erich Segal saw fit to cast Tommy as the lead male love interest in his novel, as Tommy has proved to be quite the heartthrob over his lifetime. While he certainly seems to have a lot of love in his heart, he also isn’t afraid to rub people the wrong way. This has resulted in the actor burning bridges with a lot of love interests, as well as plenty of costars. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support. As well, subscribe if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
It turns out that Tommy Lee Jones has been quite the romantic over the course of his life, having been married three separate times. His first marriage was to actress and writer Katherine Larder. That marriage lasted from 1971 to 1978. In 1981, Tommy married again. This time, his wife was Kimberlea Cloughley. The two had a pair of children named Austin and Victoria. Although their marriage lasted nearly twice as long as Tommy’s first, it still wasn’t meant to last forever. The two were divorced in 1996. Finally, he met Dawn Laurel, a photographer. The two began dating and decided to take it slow, eventually getting married in 2001. Apparently, the wait was a wise decision. Tommy’s union to Dawn has proved to be his longest marriage of the three. The two are still married today, soon to celebrate their 20th anniversary together.
If testimony from other stars that have worked with him is any indication, Tommy can be a bit of a hard nut to crack. In 1995, Tommy worked with Jim Carrey in the film Batman Forever. The two played the film’s pair of villains, and director Joel Schumacher was trying his best to get the two actors to ham it up for the challenge. Given the impossible task of out-clowning Jim Carrey, Tommy understandably grew to resent his costar. Jim Carrey has recalled that one time Tommy pulled him aside at a restaurant and simply declared to him the truth, saying “I hate you… I really don’t like you”. Understandably, Carrey was taken aback. Carrey was relatively new to starring in Hollywood movies, and Batman Forever was his biggest production yet. Tommy had been in the industry for over two decades at that point and likely could’ve shown some more Southern class.
Apparently, Tommy had a penchant for blurting out when he wasn’t fond of a coworker. The same thing happened to Sally Fields on the set of Back Roads. He has also shown a constant distaste for journalists, having made one cry during an interview when he didn’t think her questions were good enough. However, Tommy also retains this same amount of candidness when it comes to people that he does respect. These include notable costars Samuel L. Jackson and Will Smith. Tommy starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson in the 2000 film Rules of Engagement. Later, Tommy made the decision to cast Samuel alongside himself in his 2011 made-for-television directorial effort The Sunset Limited. The film premiered on HBO to favorable reviews. Apparently, Tommy feels an incredibly strong artistic kinship with Samuel. When it comes to Will Smith, Tommy simply thinks he’s one of the nicest guys that he’s ever met. The two worked together in the original three Men in Black films, starting with the first one in 1997. That beloved blockbuster solidified both stars as action heroes in the eyes of the public.
Tommy has three directorial efforts under his belt, with his most recent being 2014’s The Homesman. As with his prior works, the film received a modest amount of critical acclaim. His vast film career has yielded the actor four nominations, but only one win. He was first nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1992. He was nominated for his performance as Clay Shaw in Oliver Stone’s JFK. This nomination opened up the floodgates for the actor, and he proceeded to be nominated for and then win that same award the following year for his role in 1993’s The Fugitive. Following this win, he was nominated two subsequent times. Once in 2008 for his starring role in In the Valley of Elah, and once in 2013 for his supporting turn as Thaddeus Stevens in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. While it appears that he has received plenty of recognition in his home country, he is doubly popular in Japan. The actor has been known in that country as the spokesperson for BOSS Coffee since 2006. BOSS Coffee is a Japanese canned coffee beverage that is incredibly popular there.
74-year-old Tommy Lee Jones is certainly an interesting person. Comment down below to share your favorite anecdote that you’ve heard if it wasn’t shared in this video, or if you have an opinion on which of Tommy’s roles has proved to be his most iconic. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!