Ron Cephas Jones, the actor who won two Emmy awards for his role as William Hill on the NBC drama This Is Us, has passed away at the age of 66. His representative confirmed that he died due to a long-standing pulmonary issue.
A versatile and acclaimed performer
Jones was born on January 8, 1957, in Paterson, New Jersey. He began his career at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, where he performed poetry and theater. He later transitioned to film and television, appearing in movies such as Half Nelson and Across the Universe, and shows such as Luke Cage, Mr. Robot, and The Get Down.
He was best known for his portrayal of William Hill, the biological father of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) on This Is Us. He played the character from 2016 to 2022, earning two Emmy awards for outstanding guest actor in a drama series in 2018 and 2020. He also made history with his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, who won an Emmy for her role in #FreeRayshawn on the same night as him in 2020. They became the first father-daughter duo to win Emmys on the same night.
Jones was also a prolific stage actor, who starred in four Broadway shows: The Bridge Project (2009), Of Mice and Men (2014), Head of Passes (2016), and Clyde’s (2022). He received a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk Award for his performance in Clyde’s, a play by Lynn Nottage about a truck stop sandwich shop. He took on the role after undergoing a double lung transplant in 2020, while battling a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A warm and generous person
Jones was remembered by his colleagues and fans as a warm, generous, and talented person. His This Is Us co-stars took to social media to express their grief and gratitude for working with him.
Mandy Moore, who played Rebecca Pearson on the show, wrote on Instagram: “I am absolutely heartbroken to learn of Ron’s passing. He was one of the most kind, generous and talented people I have ever had the privilege of knowing and working with. He was a bright light in this world and he will be deeply missed.”
Sterling K. Brown, who played his son Randall on the show, tweeted: “I don’t have words for what this man meant to me. He was my friend, my mentor, my inspiration. He was the reason I wanted to be an actor. He taught me so much about life, art, and love. He was a beautiful soul who touched so many lives. I love you, Ron. Rest in power.”
Jasmine Cephas Jones, his daughter and fellow actor, shared a photo of her father holding her Emmy on Instagram, with the caption: “My hero. My angel. My protector. My father. I love you more than words can ever say. You are the reason I am who I am today. You gave me everything and asked for nothing in return. You are irreplaceable and unforgettable. You are my sunshine.”
A legacy that lives on
Jones leaves behind a legacy of excellence and grace that will live on through his work and his family. He is survived by his daughter Jasmine, his wife Kim Lesley, his mother Bettye Jones, his brother Charles Jones, and his sister Denise Jones.
He will be seen in the upcoming Apple TV+ series Lisey’s Story, based on the novel by Stephen King, where he plays Professor Dashmiel. He will also be heard as the voice of Frederick Douglass in the animated film The Badger King.
His fans can also revisit his memorable performances on This Is Us and other shows and movies that showcase his range and depth as an actor.