“I’ve always felt that people put me down, and I’d fight back. I played football 15 years, and nobody gave me any credit, and they never will do.” Vinnie Jones
One of the hardest of the “hard men” of UK football, Vinnie Jones achieved his initial prominence as a star footballer, and parlayed his stony sports image into a triumphant second career as a compelling movie tough guy on both sides of the Atlantic. He has played for such clubs as Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, and helped the Wimbledon become the winner of Football Association Challenge Cup in 1988. Internationally, he joined forces with the Wales International soccer team in 1994 (qualified for that nationality through his grandparents).
Jones branched out to acting following his withdrawal in 1999. Frequently cast as threatening, physical men with a sporadic crumple of humor in their make-up, Jones picked up two Empire Awards for his work in Guy Ritchie films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999) and Snatch (2001). His movie credits include Gone In 60 Seconds (2000, with Nicholas Cage), Swordfish (2001, opposite John Travolta), Mean Machine (2001) and The Big Bounce (2004, with Owen Wilson). In a more recent film, Jones is attracted public’s interest for portraying the wicked mutant Juggernaut in the successful X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
“A musical role is a new venture for me and I am truly excited to be part of these special performances which will raise funds for the Children’s Society. I am delighted to be taking part” Vinnie Jones
The host of 1992’s notorious video compilation Soccer’s Hard Men will participate in the Stephen Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Profits will be donated to the Children’s Society as it celebrates its 125th anniversary.
As for his personal life, 6’ 2” Jones is married to Tanya Jones. They share two children, son Aaron and daughter Kayley.
Childhood and Family:
Son to a gamekeeper, Vinnie Jones was born Vincent Peter Jones on January 5, 1965, in Watford, Hertfordshire, UK. He was a student of Chancellors School, Potters Bar in Hertfordshire. Standing 6’ 2,” Vinnie began his professional career as a football player before becoming an actor.
Vinnie, who carried nickname The Axe, welcomed his first child, daughter Kayley in 1987, and his second, son Aaron in 1991, with girlfriend Tanya. The couple eventually got married in June 1994.
On and Off Field
An England born, Vinnie Jones started his football career by joining the non-league Wealdstone F.C., and then moved to the Wimbledon F.C. in 1986. He soon made a reputation for himself as a “hard man” player with such infamous incident as grasping another player’s testicles. Also, he created the still unbroken record of being the quickest footballer ever to be yellow-carded in a game of professional soccer, which he achieved in the first three seconds of a game. Apart from the dispute actions, Jones helped the club win the 1988 Football Association Challenge Cup (English football’s greatest honor), which is arguably Wimbledon’s best accomplishment.
Jones then played for other clubs such as Chelsea F.C., Sheffield United F.C. and Leeds United F.C., before returning to Wimbledon in 1992. Though Jones showed that he could thrive and play well devoid of the illegitimate side of his game during his season at Leeds United (earned only three yellow cards in the whole season), the tough player again gained notoriety as the presenter of the infamous video compilation “Soccer’s Hard Men” (1992), which featured footage of himself and several other players taking on in bumpy game play. This led Jones to be fined £20,000 by the Football Association for ‘bringing the game into disregard.’ Two years later, the talented Jones was selected as the captain of the Wales International soccer team, which marked a peak in his football career. In 1998, Jones ended up his professional career by serving as player/coach of the Queens Park Rangers before retiring the next year.
Already making a name for himself on the football field, Jones stepped into entertainment industry after his retirement. Starting in television commercials, he quickly made the leap to the big screen with a supporting role of the menacing Big Chris in the crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999), which was directed and written by Madonna’s future husband Guy Ritchie. His fine portrayal of an enforcer and debt collector became one of the film’s most unforgettable elements. As a result, he was awarded an Empire for Best Debut.
His subsequent roles were similar to Big Chris’ and his actual persona (threatening and physical men), including a turn as the silent associate the Sphinx in Nicholas Cage’s starring vehicle Gone In 60 Seconds (2000). He then rejoined Ritchie in Snatch, playing eternal Bullet Tooth Tony, opposite Jason Statham and Brad Pitt. For his effort, Jones again nabbed an Empire, this time for Best British Actor. After supporting John Travolta, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry in Swordfish (2001), he took on the starring role of a renowned football player in Mean Machine (2001), a British football remake of 1974’s The Longest Yard as well as played Rodan in Night at the Golden Eagle (2002). Also in 2002, he made his debut as a singer by releasing an album of blues and soul songs named “Respect.”
Returning to filmmaking in 2004, Jones once again assumed a hard-hitting role, this time as Lou Harris in the crime/thriller The Big Bounce, starring Owen Wilson as con man Jack Ryan. His next performances in Tooth and Euro Trip (both 2004) permitted the actor to bend a small comic muscle as a nasty fairytale figure and a hotwired soccer hooligan, respectively. The same year, Jones was also seen in Blast! and Survive Style 5+. Jones kept on himself busy the following year by starring in the action Johnny Was, as well as playing supporting roles films in Hollywood Flies (TV), the sci-fi Slipstream, the comedy The Other Half (appeared as the Boss) and director Russell Mulcahy’s Mysterious Island (TV).
Jones recently appeared as a soccer coach in the Amanda Bynes comedy She’s the Man (2006) and a detective in Played (2006), a crime film which also featured Val Kilmer. He also reunited with Swordfish costars Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry for the blockbuster sequel X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), portraying malicious mutant Juggernaut, and provided the voice of Rommel in the animated film Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) for director Tim Hill. He will have supporting parts in the action/thriller The Condemned (2006, opposite wrestling superstar “Stone Cold” Steve Austin) and the comedy 7-10 Split (2006, opposite Tara Reid). In 2007, Jones in scheduled to play roles in The Riddle (opposite Derek Jacobi), the adventure The Filthy War and The comedy Carry on London (along side Swedish beauty Victoria Silvstedt) and Rush Hour 3. He is also rumored to reprise his role of Juggernaut for the next series Wolverine (2007) and play a role in the upcoming Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker vehicle Rush Hour 3 (2007).
- Empire: Best British Actor, Snatch: Pigs and Diamonds, 2001
- Empire: Best Debut, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, 1999