The This Is Us family has lost one of its most cherished members. Ron Cephas Jones has died. “Beloved and award-winning actor Ron Cephas Jones has passed away at the age of 66 due to a long-standing pulmonary issue. 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,” a representative for the actor confirmed to HollywoodLife on August 19.
The statement continued, “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 daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones.”
The actor revealed in a 2021 New York Times interview that he had received a double lung transplant in 2020 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Following his double lung transplant, Ron spent almost two months in the hospital on and off a ventilator as he learned to breathe, eat, and walk again. The next year, Ron appeared on Broadway again in a play titled Clyde’s. “My whole life has been the stage,” Ron told NYT in 2021. “The idea of not performing again seemed worse to me than death.”
One of Ron’s most notable roles came later in his career when he was cast as William Hill in the critically-acclaimed NBC series This Is Us, which premiered in 2016. William was the biological father of Randall Pearson, played by Sterling K. Brown. For his astounding and moving This Is Us performance through the seasons, Ron won two Emmys in 2018 and 2020 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
“This Is Us was the show, after 50-something years of being on the boards and doing a little spot television that lasted for the 6 seasons and it gave me a career in Los Angeles. It gave me a chance to show people my level of work,” he told TODAY in 2022. “So, I’m getting work because of my work as opposed to trying to toil. I’ve done that all those years in New York. It’s the idea that my work after all is perseverance… It took a little while, but it paid off in the end.”
In addition to This Is Us, Ron had also appeared in shows like Looking For Alaska, Truth Be Told, and Law & Order: Organized Crime. His latest onscreen performance was in the final season of Better Things in 2022. Ron will be seen posthumously in the upcoming miniseries Genius: MLK/X.