Ron Cephas Jones of This Is Us dies at 66

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This Is Us star Ron Cephas Jones has died. He was 66.

The Emmy winner, who took home the Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series award twice for his role on the NBC drama, died due to a “long-standing pulmonary issue,” his representative said in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment.

“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,” the statement read. “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’s inner-beauty and soul was evident to the huge audience from his multi-Emmy award winning performance on This is Us.” He is survived by his actress-singer daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, best known for her role as Peggy Schuyler in the original Broadway production of Hamilton.

Jones portrayed William on This Is Us, the biological father of Sterling K. Brown’s character Randall. In a heartfelt Instagram post on Saturday, Brown paid tribute to his TV dad, writing in part, “The world is a little less bright. Brother, you are loved. And you will be missed.”

Jones’s television credits also included roles on shows like Mr. Robot, Looking for Alaska, Truth Be Told, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and Better Things.

He also appeared in movies like Dolemite is My Name, Dog Days, The Holiday Calendar, and Half Nelson.

In May 2020, Jones, a lifelong smoker, received a double lung transplant due to his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, per his 2021 interview with The New York Times. The actor spent two months on and off a ventilator, learning how to eat and breathe again. He initially did not want to go through with the surgery, he said, due to the possibility that he would need an oxygen tank for the rest of his career.

“I was in total denial,” Jones said at the time. “I told myself that it would pass, or that I was just getting older. I was afraid and didn’t want to change what I wasn’t ready to change.”

He called the idea of not being able to perform again “worse than death.”

In addition to Brown, Cephas’ other This Is Us co-stars reacted to the loss on Instagram.

Mandy Moore shared a photo of herself and Cephas from the show’s finale, writing in the caption, “Getting to know and work with Ron on the wild ride of ‘This Is Us’ was the greatest gift — he was pure magic as a human and an artist…I will treasure all of the moments forever. Even though he wasn’t around set as much as we all wished, he was such an intrinsic part of the fabric of the show, it’s like he was always there. I’ll never forget how special it was to film this particular episode and welcome him back to say a proper goodbye to our TIU family and the whole experience. I am just so sad. My thoughts and love are with Jasmine and his family and friends. Love you, @cephasjaz.”

Chrissy Metz shared, “Ron, thank you for brightening every room you walked into. I’ll never forget and have been changed by your kind heart, amazing spirit, immeasurable talent and beautiful smile.
May your transition be full of light and peace. Sending all of my love to Jasmine & his loved ones during this time. You are truly the coolest cat.”

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