Biography: Tommy Lee Jones

One of the most acclaimed and accomplished actors in Hollywood, Academy Award® winner Tommy Lee Jones brings a distinct character to his every film.

Jones made his feature film debut in Love Story and, in a career spanning four decades, has starred in such films as Eyes of Laura Mars, Coal Miner’s Daughter – for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination – Stormy Monday, The Package, JFK, Under Siege, The Fugitive, Heaven and Earth, The Client, Natural Born Killers, Blue Sky, Cobb, Batman Forever, Men In Black, U.S. Marshalls, Double Jeopardy, Rules of Engagement, Space Cowboys, Men in Black 2, The Hunted, The Missing, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, A Prairie Home Companion, In the Electric Mist, The Company Men and Captain America: The First Avenger.

He was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the uncompromising U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard in the box office hit The Fugitive in 1994.  For this performance, he also received a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor. Three years earlier, Jones received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Clay Shaw in Oliver Stone’s JFK.

In 2007 Jones starred in the critically acclaimed film In the Valley of Elah for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and in the same year he starred in the Academy Award winning film No Country for Old Men written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and based on the Cormac McCarthy novel. 

This year, in addition to his role in Men in Black 3, Jones will stars with Meryl Streep in Hope Springs opening August 10 and as Thaddeus Stevens in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, slated to open in December.

Most recently he completed filming The Emperor on location in New Zealand for director Peter Webber. Jones portrays General Douglas MacArthur.

In 1995, Jones made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed telefilm adaptation of the Elmer Kelton novel The Good Old Boys for TNT.  Jones also starred in the telefilm with Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, Frances McDormand and Matt Damon.  For his portrayal of Hewey Calloway, he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a CableACE Award nomination.

In 2005, Jones starred in the critically acclaimed film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which he also directed and produced. The film debuted in competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and garnered Jones the award for Best Actor and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga the award for Best Screenplay for this film about friendship and murder along the Texas-Mexican border. 

Most recently, Jones directed The Sunset Limited for HBO. This telefilm, which premiered in February 2011, is based on the play of the same name by Cormac McCarthy and starred Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

Jones has also had success on the small screen.  In 1983, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for his portrayal of Gary Gilmore in The Executioner’s Song, and, in 1989, he was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for Lonesome Dove.

His numerous network and cable credits include the title role in The Amazing Howard Hughes, the American Playhouse production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Rainmaker for HBO, the HBO/BBC production of Yuri Noshenko, KGB and April Morning.

In 1969, Jones made his Broadway debut in John Osborne’s A Patriot for Me.  His other Broadway appearances include Four on a Garden with Carol Channing and Sid Caesar, and Ulysses in Nighttown with the late Zero Mostel.

Born in San Saba, Texas, he worked briefly with his father in the oil fields before attending St. Mark’s School of Texas, then Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English.

This biography of Tommy Lee Jones is courtesy of Amblin Entertainment and Men in Black 3

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