“Somebody’s gonna give you some money to perform a job, you do your best to make ‘em a good hand.” Tommy Lee Jones
Texan actor/director Tommy Lee Jones first became a Hollywood eye-opener after winning an Emmy Award for his portrayal of convict Gary Mark Gilmore in the TV biopic drama The Executioner’s Song (1982), as well as earning an Emmy nomination for his convincing turn as Woodrow F. Call in the western miniseries “Lonesome Dove” (1989, also won a Western Heritage’s Bronze Wrangler and earned a Golden Globe nomination). Even more praise came with the role of detective Samuel Gerard in Andrew Davis’ action thriller The Fugitive (1993), in which he took home various awards, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
Jones also made a superb directorial debut with the western television movie The Good Old Boys (1995, also wrote and acted), in which he won two Lone Star Film & Television Awards. Later, he took home a Cannes Film Festival Award for his notable performance as Pete Perkins in the self-directed and produced western adventure movie The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005). In appreciation for his commitment in acting, Jones was handed the 1993 Boston Film Festival’s Film Excellence Award, the 2000 Palm Beach International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting and the 2003 Golden Boot Award.
Off camera, the actor is also part time cattle rancher on his 3,000-acre ranch near San Antonio, Texas, where he raises polo ponies. He practices with the ponies, and in 1993, his team won the U.S. Polo Association’s Western Challenge Cup. In 1998, he was injured after falling from his horse during a polo match.
On a more private note, Jones, who once had a romantic relationship with model Lisa Taylor, has had three marriages. His was once married to Katherine Lardner, Kimberlea Gayle Cloughley, and is currently married to Dawn Maria Laurel. He has two children from his marriage with Cloughley.
Al Gore’s Pal
Childhood and Family:
Born on September 15, 1946 in San Saba, Texas, Tommy Lee Jones is the only child of oil rigger Clyde Jones and police officer/ beauty parlor owner Lucille Marie Jones. His parents were married and divorced twice. In 1986, his father died of heart disease at the age of 60.
In 1960, Tommy won a scholarship to the St. Mark’s preparatory school in Dallas and later, he also acquired a scholarship to the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While in college, he befriended future Vice President Al Gore and became a football player. Graduating cum laude in English literature in 1969, he headed to New York to pursue an acting career.
As for his marital life, Tommy has had three marriages. He was married for seven years to actress Katherine Lardner before marrying photographer Kimberlea Gayle Cloughley on May 30, 1981. In 1996, Tommy and Kimberlea were divorced. They share a son named Austin Leonard Jones (born in 1983) and a daughter named Victoria Kafka Jones (born in 1991). Also in 1996, Tom formed a relationship with camera assistant Dawn Maria Laurel, and five years later, they exchanged wedding vows.
The Good Old Boys
Ten days after his arrival in the Big Apple, Tommy Lee Jones, who never formally studied acting, quickly acquired an acting job on the Broadway stage in John Osborne’s “A Patriot For Me” (1969), where he played five different parts but had only five words for his spoken line. The same year, he received the leading turn in Sal Mineo’s controversial off-Broadway play “Fortune and Men’s Eyes.”
As fate would have it, Jones made his film debut in 1970, playing roommate Hank Simpson in the famous adaptation of Erich Segal’s novel Love Story. He also landed the regular role of Dr. Mark Toland in the long-running daytime soap drama “One Life to Live” (1971-1975), had the part of Gus in the drama movie Life Study (1973) and appeared in an episode of the crime drama series “Barnaby Jones” (1975). Jones then accepted the leading turn of Coley Blake in Jackson County Jail (1976) and the title role in The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977, TV), before costarring with such talented actresses as Faye Dunaway (the thriller Eyes of Laura Mars, 1978), Sissy Spacek (the biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, 1979) and Sally Field (Back Roads, 1980).
Showing distinctive acting talent, Jones won an Emmy for Best Actor after impressively portraying Gary Mark Gilmore, a convicted killer lobbying for his own execution, in the TV biopic drama The Executioner’s Song (1982). After taking leading parts in the adventure movie Nate and Hayes (1983) and Thomas Rickman’s The River Rat (1984), he went to the small screen with the revival of Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1985, played alcoholic Brick Pollitt), the drama Yuri Nosenko, KGB (1986), Broken Vows (1987, as ghetto priest Pater Joseph McMahon) and the western drama Stranger on My Land (1988).
In 1989, Jones presented an applauded performance as former Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the western miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” and was handed a Western Heritage Bronze Wrangler award, as well as an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. His captivating acting was displayed in the military-themed Fire Birds (1990, acted opposite Nicholas Cage), Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991, as Clay Shaw/Clay Bertrand, earned Oscar’s Best Supporting Actor nomination) and the action film Under Siege (1992, took the role of CIA member William Stranix).
The recipient of the 1993 Boston Film Festival’s Film Excellence award, Jones received huge success with his role in Andrew Davis’ action thriller The Fugitive (1993, costarring Harrison Ford), in which he was cast as unrelenting detective Samuel Gerard. For his spellbinding portrayal, the actor collected numerous awards, including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Southeastern Film Critics Association and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actor. The same role also brought him a MTV Movie award for Best On-Screen Duo, shared with Harrison Ford, as well as a BAFTA nomination. The acclaimed movie also featured beautiful performances from Sela Ward, Julianne Moore and Joe Pantoliano.
Following his successful turn as professional terrorist Ryan Gaerity in Blown Away (1994), the actor delved into his cinematographic skill through the western television film The Good Old Boys (1995), where he served as the director, the screenwriter, and the starring actor. Thriving in his directorial debut, Jones took home two Lone Star Film & Television awards, one for Best TV Actor and another for Best TV Director.
The high profile performer expanded his fame to younger audiences by playing unruffled Agent K (Kay) in the Men in Black (1997) and by voicing the toy soldier Major Chip Hazard in the fantasy adventure movie Small Soldiers (1998). Moving to the thriller genre, Jones had the role of Travis Lehman in Double Jeopardy (1999) and carried out the part of Col. Hayes ‘Hodge’ Hodges in Rules of Engagement (2000). After reprising his 1997 role in the mediocre sequel Men in Black II (2002), he fared better in The Hunted (2003, costarring Benicio Del Toro).
Two years later, Jones made his second directorial attempt with the self-produced western adventure movie The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005, also starred in) and was awarded with a Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor. Jones, who received the 2000 Palm Beach International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement award in Acting and the 2003 Golden Boot award, also starred as Roland Sharp in the action comedy Man of the House (2005, also executive produced).
Recently, he joined acclaimed director Robert Altman in his comedy drama A Prairie Home Companion (2006), costarring as Axeman, opposite Woody Harrelson. He will also team up with veteran directors/screenwriters Ethan and Joel Coen (the Coen brothers) in their drama thriller No Country for Old Men. The Coen brothers’ project is scheduled for release in 2007.