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Jones, Star

Jones, Star

1962—

Television talk show host, lawyer

In 1994 former New York City prosecuting attorney Star Jones made the leap from public service to public persona when her syndicated television show, Jones & Jury, began airing on stations across the United States. Prior to this Jones had honed her skills as a legal correspondent for both NBC and Court TV. Before that, the lawyer had spent several years with one of the nation's busiest district attorney's offices. Jones's experience in broadcasting had involved the explanation of complicated courtroom issues during news coverage of high-profile cases, as well as offering her insider opinion. Media analysts often lauded her eloquence before the cameras. But Jones & Jury was only her first step into an ever-widening spotlight. Three years later, Jones landed a spot on the daily talk show that would make her a household name—The View.

Jones transformed during her nine years with The View; she became a celebrity in her own rite, married to become Star Jones Reynolds, and lost 150 pounds. Her transformation was keenly tracked by the media, and lead to her dramatic departure from The View in 2006. Yet Jones's star had not fallen.Within months of leaving The View, she had landed her own television show on which she planned to highlight the intersection of legal and popular culture issues for Court TV.

Won Scholarship for School

Starlet Marie Jones recalls thinking about entering the law profession at an unusually early age. Television clearly impacted the youngster's imagination and helped her see a world beyond her grandmother's house in Badin, North Carolina. As a six-year-old, she would pretend to be orating in front of a judge and jury. She also recalled that her grandmother would watch the soap opera Another World and would comment on the predicaments suffered by one character by saying "That child needs a lawyer."

Jones spent the first six years of her life with her grandmother while her mother finished college. In 1969, the school-aged Jones joined her mother in a Trenton, New Jersey public housing project. Her mother worked for the city government and sent Jones and her younger sister to parochial schools. Jones recalls being sassy from an early age, which she maintains is a partial reason for her success. "I had a smart mouth and could make cutting remarks," Jones told People magazine. "That's probably why I became a good lawyer."

In 1979 Jones entered American University and shortened her name to its abbreviated form. Her mother had told her that when she was born her eyes were extremely dark and seemed to possess small star-like twinkles, hence the name. In 1992 Jones joked with New York writer Degen Pener about how ill-suited her moniker seems for the serious vocation of law, commenting, "It sounds like a stripper's name." During college she took an active role in student government, eventually rising to high office in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, as its national vice president of undergraduate affairs. She entered the University of Houston Law Center and earned her law degree in 1986. At graduation time she impressed recruiters from the Kings County District Attorney's office, the prosecut- ing office in charge of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and she accepted their job offer.

Shone as Powerful Public Prosecutor

Jones's decision to become a public prosecutor had been influenced by her parents' choice of careers: her mother is Trenton's human-services director, while her stepfather is head of security for the city. This helped instill in her a desire to serve the public as well.

Jones's tenure with the Kings County D.A.'s office involved her in some of the most difficult and high profile cases of the era. Brooklyn has its fair share of New York City's—and urban America's—troubles; complicating matters are the intertwined demons of poverty and crime, which sometimes combine with an incendiary third element—racial tension. One of the most serious incidents of Jones's career took place in Brooklyn's Crown Heights enclave: a member of its Hasidic community of orthodox Jews was charged with the motor-vehicle death of an African American child. The incident itself, and the outcome of the trial after the Kings County D.A.'s office rested its case, provoked serious clashes on the streets of Crown Heights.

Jones also became involved in other notorious real-life judicial dramas, including one that landed a 14-year-old defendant a jail term of nine years to life. Jones argued the case against the young man, who had shot another teenager on a playground, and the court's tough sentence provoked some criticism. The defendant's family questioned how Jones could "as a Black woman do this to a Black child?," she recalled in Essence. Yet the former prosecutor remembered that "never once during the entire proceedings did he show an ounce of remorse. I know in my heart I did the right thing, even though it is a case I will never forget."

By 1991 Jones's devotion to her job had earned her a promotion to senior assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. In this post she gained expertise on some of the toughest types of trials in her field—the one-witness crimes that involve little concrete evidence. As prosecuting attorney, Jones convinced several juries of the veracity of the single witness and his or her testimony regarding the violent crime in question. Out of the last 40 homicide cases she prosecuted, only two did not result in convictions. In one of the trials, she secured a 66-year prison sentence for a serial sex offender who had avoided incarceration in four earlier court appearances. Jones enjoyed her sometimes difficult job and admits to becoming personally involved in both the cases and the lives of the youths she encountered. John Riley, a former coworker of hers, told People that Jones "walks into a room and lights it up." Such star power eventually paid off for the prosecuting attorney, albeit in a rather unexpected way.

Took to Television

In 1991 a colleague at the Brooklyn D.A.'s office was asked to appear on Court TV. The colleague declined but passed Jones's name along to the cable television station. Her first appearance was in the summer of 1991, and she quickly became a regular face on Court TV, especially during the William Kennedy Smith trial for rape in Palm Beach, Florida. Soon NBC-TV was interested. "I was sitting in my office in Brooklyn trying to convince a teenage witness to testify when the phone rang," Jones told Black Enterprise about the day the network phoned. "I thought it was a prank call and hung up."

At a Glance …

Born Starlet Marie Jones, c. 1965; daughter of Shirley (a human services administrator) and James Byard (stepfather; a municipal security chief); married Al Scales Reynolds, 2004. Education: American University, BA, 1983; University of Houston Law Center, JD, 1986.

Career:

Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, national vice-president for undergraduate affairs, early 1980s; Kings County (New York) District Attorney's Office, Brooklyn, NY, member of prosecution staff, 1986-91; senior assistant district attorney, 1991-92; Court TV, correspondent, 1991; NBC-TV, New York City, legal correspondent, 1992-93; Jones & Jury (syndicated television program produced by Group W Productions), Los Angeles, CA, host and co-owner, 1994-?; senior correspondent and chief analyst, Inside Edition, 1995-?; The View, talk show co-host, 1997-2006; "The Star Jones Collection," line of wigs founder, 1998; author, 1998-; "Salon Z" of Saks Fifth Avenue, spokesperson, 1999; Alight.com, spokesperson, 2000; Payless Shoe Source, spokesperson, 2002; Court TV, television show host, 2007-.

Memberships:

Alpha Kappa Alpha; board of directors, National Center for the Prevention of Crime; board of directors, East Harlem School at Exodus House.

Awards:

Daytime Emmy Award, eight nominations for Outstanding Talk Show Host, 1999-2006; Safe Horizon Champion Award, 2001.

Addresses:

Web—www.starjones.com.

This inauspicious start did not hinder Jones on her new course, however, and within a short time she had left the Kings County D.A. office for the plusher carpets of NBC studios in Manhattan. As the network's legal correspondent, Jones became a familiar face to viewers by late 1992 during such highly publicized cases as the rape trial of boxer Mike Tyson and the criminal trial of Los Angeles Police Department officers for the 1991 beating of Rodney King. She began appearing regularly on the network's morning show, Today, as well as on NBC Nightly News.

In part because of increased interest in the American judicial system, Jones's career on television took off quickly. As an attorney, she detects a deeper meaning in the public's fascination with the sensational court cases that have been a staple on Court TV, NBC, and other mainstream news sources since the early 1990s. Jones said in New York: "If those cases get people to talk, that's very positive. I think people are watching trials because they want to know: Is there fairness in our criminal-justice system? Do you have to have money to get off? Is there racial prejudice? Does a woman's word carry as much weight as a man's word?"

Group W Communications, a producer of syndicated television shows, was so impressed by Jones's work on Court TV and NBC that they offered her a show of her own. Group W's offer of partial ownership in the program would give her some measure of artistic control. Jones & Jury debuted in September of 1994 and was lauded for its combination of two ratings-garnering formats—the confessional talk show and the real-life courtroom saga first popularized by such shows as The People's Court.

Drawn from the docket of California's small-claims division, the cases Jones moderated on Jones & Jury sometimes became heated. Primarily involving disputes of $5,000 or less between private parties, the details were presented in the plaintiffs' and defendants'—sometimes the dueling parties were relatives of one another—own words in an occasionally acrimonious environment. Jones acted as mediator, calming tempers and explaining issues to both the studio and home audiences. The studio audience—the "jury" of Jones & Jury—voted their verdict on the case by the end of the show. With their determination, Jones issued the final decision.

Jones was hired as a senior correspondent and chief analyst for the news show Inside Edition in 1995. During the high-profile O.J. Simpson trial, in which Simpson was charged with and acquitted of his ex-wife's murder, Jones was assigned to cover both the criminal and civil trials. Although many reporters attempted to obtain an exclusive with Simpson, Jones was the only news correspondent to interview him.

Helped Launch The View

In 1997, Barbara Walters launched a morning talk show entitled The View. The show, airing on ABC, features five women of varying generations and backgrounds gathered together in a daily gabfest. Jones was among the first group to audition, including Meredith Viera, Joy Behar, and Debbie Matenopoulis. This first group was eventually selected to join Barbara Walters on the daily talk show, although Matenopoulis was later replaced by Lisa Ling. "Star was chosen because she is smart, outrageous, and unpredictable," The View's executive producer, Bill Geddie, said in Ebony. "She radiates confidence." Jones told Ebony about the day she learned she would join the cast: "I was sitting in Beverly Hills at lunch with a friend when my pager went off … It said, ‘Call Barbara Walters.’ I thought, you have really arrived when you see Barbara Walters' name on your pager."

The View's ratings rose steadily after its debut and critics reveled in the breath of fresh on-air talent that the show's co-hosts provided. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly said that the show was like "a multigenerational pajama party." Jones's candor, wit, and elegant style won over audiences and critics alike. The success of The View has sparked numerous Saturday Night Live sketches. Jones's popularity, especially, has drawn fire from the weekly comedy series. Comedian Tracy Morgan impersonates Jones, working the phrase, "I am a lawyer," into every sentence. Co-host Joy Behar commented on Jones's popularity in Good Housekeeping, "Star is on every cover of every magazine. She gets more publicity than Donald Trump."

Jones used The View as an opportunity to share her agenda with the public. "I want to convince this country that beautiful women come in all sizes and colors," Jones told Essence. "I want little Black girls out there to say ‘I'm jammin,’ instead of buying into the negative images: ‘You're too loud. You're too dark. You're too fat.’" She admits to acting the diva, but, as she told Essence, "it's not about Star being grand. It's about Star telling you, it's okay to be grand." Jones recognizes that she is a role model for young African American girls and feels that her message to them is an important one. Co-host Barbara Walters agrees. "She loves the good life—limousines, traveling, designer clothes," Walters commented in Essence. "Frankly, I think more women should be like this. Many men are, so why not?"

Developed into Celebrity

With the 1998 release of You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything Jones became an author. The book, composed of autobiographical essays, climbed to the top of the best-seller list. In the book, Jones shares her opinions on a wide range of subjects, including television, family and friends, God, politics, and racism. "You have to stand for something," Jones wrote. "If you don't know what your position is, if you don't know where you draw the line between right and wrong, you'll never see yourself as you truly are.… So that's become my credo. Stand for something. And do you know what? I don't fall for much." Amazon.com reviewer Erica Jorgensen said, "Unlike many autobiographical books these days, Jones's is truly absorbing."

While Jones's outspoken candor furthered her career in television and aided her in the writing of her first book, her sense of style has established her in the fashion world. In 1998, Jones launched "The Star Jones Collection," her own line of wigs. A year later, she became the spokesperson for "Salon Z" of Saks Fifth Avenue. Next, Jones considered starting her own line of clothing for plus-sized women. Perhaps as a first step toward that goal, in 2000 Jones signed on as spokesperson and partner for Alight.com, an Internet shopping site featuring full-figured fashions exclusively. Jones told PR Newswire that the web site "is the perfect solution for women like me who love to shop but are frequently disappointed with the plus-size selections." As spokesperson for Alight.com, Jones also had her own web page on the site, for which she wrote a monthly column in addition to offering fashion advice. Jones later stopped her affiliation with Alight.com, and by 2001 had her own home shopping television show called It's All About You with Star Jones on NBC's cable network, ShopNBC. And in 2002, Jones became the spokesperson for Payless Shoe Source.

Embarked on New Chapter in Life

As Jones' star rose, so did her weight. "I went from full-figured to fat to obese to morbidly obese. Can you imagine what it feels like being on an airplane and not being able to put your seat belt on?" she related to Ebony. "It got to the point that if I didn't do something, I was going to die." The spark that started her determination for change came when she realized that she no longer felt good about herself, as she related to Audrey J. Bernden of the New York Beacon. "Looking good to me has always been about the way I felt about myself. But as I started to feel crummier, I suddenly stopped looking good to myself and, I was sure, to everyone else. Then, the absolute worst happened. Shopping became hard work. I was in trouble." From a high point of nearly 300 pounds, Jones lost nearly 150 pounds. More than dropping significant weight, Jones also revamped her outlook on life. She recommitted to her spirituality and tried to become the kind of person she hoped she would find in a mate. Along the way, she met and married banker Al Reynolds in 2004. Her dramatic image change and romance with Reynolds in the early 2000s sparked a great deal of media attention. And she chronicled her personal journey in Shine: A Physical, Emotional & Spiritual Journey to Finding Love, which published in 2006.

The dramatic change in Jones's personal life altered her media presence considerably. From the once, hard-hitting, intelligent interviewer for CourtTV, Jones (now also known as Star Jones Reynolds) had transformed into a celebrity who spoke mostly about fashion, bargain-hunting, and her marriage. Her wedding in 2004 had been an elaborate televised special feature for The View. While audiences responded at first to the change in Jones, media attention grew weary of her focus on herself. By 2006 BarbaraWalters, creator and co-host of The View, had informed Jones that the show would not renew her contract. Star Jones announced her own departure from The View, to the shock of her co-hosts, in July 2006.

Yet within months of leaving The View and dropping briefly from the public eye, Jones reemerged. She had once again changed her image. Eschewing her flamboyant makeup, long locks, and elaborate fashions, Jones sported a newly toned body, short hairstyle, fresh makeup, and stylish, conservative clothes. Her new image also came with a new job: her own show on CourtTV on which she would return to topics that had first brought her to fame. Before the show even had an official title, media anticipation for Jones's new project indicated that her star continued to rise.

Selected works

Books

You've Got to Stand for Something or You'll Fall for Anything, HarperCollins, 1998.

Shine: A Physical, Emotional & Spiritual Journey to Finding Love, HarperCollins, 2006.

Television

Jones and Jury, 1994.

The View, 1997-2006.

The Star Jones Reynolds Report, 2006.

Sources

Periodicals

Black Enterprise, December 1994, p. 54.

Ebony, December 1998, p. 52; March 2006, p. .

Entertainment Weekly, February 6, 1998, p. 44.

Essence, January 1995, p. 42; October 1999, p. 84.

Good Housekeeping, November 1999, p. 118.

Ladies Home Journal, April 2000, p. 88.

New York, March 9, 1992, p. 22.

People, April 13, 1992; p. 91; January 16, 1995, p. 98; March 26, 2007, p. 98.

Philadelphia Tribune, February 8, 2002, p. F10.

PR Newswire, September 9, 2000.

Us Weekly, March 26, 2007, p. 62.

On-line

"Star Says She Wanted to Tell the Truth about Her Departure," CNN.com,www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/06/29/lkl.jones/ (May 30, 2007).

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"Jones, Star." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Jones, Star 1962(?)—

Star Jones 1962(?)

Attorney, television host, mediator

Sassy Youth

Involved in High-Profile Cases

Television Career Took Off

Sources

In 1994 former New York City prosecuting attorney Star Jones made the leap from public service to public persona when her syndicated television show, Jones & Jury, began airing on stations across the United States. Prior to this Jones had honed her skills as a legal correspondent for both NBC and Court TV. Before that, the lawyer had spent several years with one of the nations busiest district attorneys offices. Joness experience in broadcasting had involved the explanation of complicated courtroom issues during news coverage of high-profile cases, as well as offering her insider opinion. Media analysts often lauded her eloquence before the cameras. This talent was put to great use in her real-life half-hour courtroom drama, a show that catapulted Jones further into an ever-widening spotlight.

Starlet Marie Jones recalls thinking about entering the law profession at an unusually early age. Television clearly impacted the youngsters imagination and helped her see a world beyond her grandmothers house in Badin, North Carolina. As a six-year-old, she would pretend to be orating in front of a judge and jury. She also remembered that her grandmother would watch the soap opera Another World and would comment on the predicaments suffered by one character by saying That child needs a lawyer.

Sassy Youth

Jones spent the first six years of her life with her grandmother while her mother finished college. In 1969, the school-age Jones joined her mother in a Trenton, New Jersey, public housing project. Her mother worked for the city government and sent Jones and her younger sister to parochial schools. Jones recalls being sassy from an early age, which she maintains is a partial reason for her success. I had a smart mouth and could make cutting remarks, Jones told People magazine. Thats probably why I became a good lawyer.

In 1979 Jones entered American University and shortened her name to its abbreviated form. Her mother had told her that when she was born her eyes were extremely dark and seemed to possess small starlike twinkles, hence the name. In 1992 Jones joked with New York writer Degen Pener about how ill-suited her moniker seems for the serious vocation of law, commenting, It

At a Glance

Born Starlet Marie Jones, c 1962; daughter of Shirley (a human services administrator) and James Byard (stepfather; a municipal security chief). Education; Received degree from American University, c. 1983; University of Houston Law Center, J.D., 1986.

While in college, served as national vice-president for undergraduate affairs for the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, early 1980s; Kings County (New York) District Attorneys Office, Brooklyn, NY, member of prosecution staff, 198691, senior assistant district attorney, 199192; Court TV, correspondent, 1991; NBC-TV, New York City, legal correspondent, 199293; /ones & Jury (syndicated television program produced by Group W Productions), Los Angeles, CA, host and co-owner, 1994.

Member: Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Addresses: Office Group W Television, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

sounds like a strippers name. During college she took an active role in student government, eventually rising to high office in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, as its national vice president of undergraduate affairs. She entered the University of Houston Law Center and earned her law degree in 1986. At graduation time she impressed recruiters from the Kings County District Attorneys office, the prosecuting office in charge of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and she accepted their job offer.

Joness decision to become a public prosecutor had been influenced by her parents choice of careers: her mother is Trentons human-services director, while her stepfather is head of security for the city. This helped instill in her a desire to serve the public as well.

Involved in High-Profile Cases

Joness tenure with the Kings County D.A.s office involved her in some of the most difficult and high-profile cases of the era. Brooklyn has its fair share of New York Citysand urban Americastroubles; complicating matters are the intertwined demons of poverty and crime, which sometimes combine with an incendiary third elementracial tension. One of the most serious incidents of Joness career took place in Brooklyns Crown Heights enclave: a member of its Hasidic community of orthodox Jews was charged with the motor-vehicle death of an African American child. The incident itself, and the outcome of the trial after the Kings County D. A. s office rested its case, provoked serious clashes on the streets of Crown Heights.

Jones also became involved in other notorious real-life judicial dramas, including one that landed a 14-year-old defendant a jail term of nine years to life. Jones argued the case against the young man, who had shot another teenager on a playground, and the courts tough sentence provoked some criticism. The defendants family questioned how Jones could as a black woman do this to a black child?, she recalled in Essence. Yet the former prosecutor remembered that never once during the entire proceedings did he show an ounce of remorse. I know in my heart I did the right thing, even though it is a case I will never forget.

By 1991 Joness devotion to her job had earned her a promotion to senior assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. In this post she gained expertise on some of the toughest types of trials in her fieldthe one-witness crimes that involve little concrete evidence. As prosecuting attorney, Jones convinced several juries of the veracity of the single witness and his or her testimony regarding the violent crime in question. Out of the last 40 homicide cases she prosecuted, only two did not result in convictions. In one of the trials, she secured a 66-year prison sentence for a serial sex offender who had avoided incarceration in four earlier court appearances. Jones enjoyed her sometimes difficult job and admits to becoming personally involved in both the cases and the lives of the youths she encountered. John Riley, a former coworker of hers, told People that Jones walks into a room and lights it up. Such star power eventually paid off for the prosecuting attorney, albeit in a rather unexpected way.

In 1991 a colleague at the Brooklyn D.A.s office was asked to appear on Court TV. The colleague declined but passed Joness name along to the cable television station. Her first appearance was in the summer of 1991, and she quickly became a regular face on Court TV, especially during the William Kennedy Smith rape trial in Palm Beach, Florida. Soon NBC-TV was interested. I was sitting in my office in Brooklyn trying to convince a teenage witness to testify when the phone rang, Jones told Black Enterprise about the day the network phoned. I thought it was a prank call and hung up.

This inauspicious start did not hinder Jones on her new course, however, and within a short time she had left the Kings County D.A. office for the plusher carpets of NBC studios in Manhattan. As the networks legal correspondent, Jones became a familiar face to viewers by late 1992 during such highly publicized cases as the rape trial of boxer Mike Tyson and the criminal trial of Los Angeles Police Department officers for the 1991 beating of Rodney King. She began appearing regularly on the networks morning show, Today, as well as on NBC Nightly News.

Television Career Took Off

In part because of increased interest in the American judicial system, Joness career on television took off quickly. As an attorney, she detects a deeper meaning in the publics fascination with the sensational court cases that have been a staple on Court TV, NBC, and other mainstream news sources since the early 1990s. Jones said in New York: If those cases get people to talk, thats very positive. I think people are watching trials because they want to know: Is there fairness in our criminal-justice system? Do you have to have money to get off? Is there racial prejudice? Does a womans word carry as much weight as a mans word?

Group W Communications, a producer of syndicated television shows, was so impressed by Joness work on Court TV and NBC that they offered her a show of her own. Group Ws offer of partial ownership in the program would give her some measure of artistic control. Jones & Jury debuted in September of 1994 and was lauded for its combination of two ratings-garnering formatsthe confessional talk show and the real-life courtroom saga first popularized by such shows as The Peoples Court.

Drawn from the docket of Californias small-claims division, the cases Jones moderates on Jones & Jury sometimes become heated. Primarily involving disputes of $5,000 or less between private parties, the details are presented in the plaintiffs and defendantssometimes relatives of one anotherown words in an occasionally acrimonious environment. Jones acts as mediator, calming tempers and explaining issues to both the studio and home audiences. The studio audiencethe jury of Jones & Jury vote their verdict on the case by the end of the show. With their determination, Jones issues the final decision.

Joness new role as television personality necessitated a move from the Big Apple to Los Angeles, and the legal expert enjoys lounging by the pool of her new house in her spare time. She considers herself fortunate to be part of a close-knit family and credits them with both instilling in her a drive to succeed and keeping her feet on the ground. Jones does admit, however, to receiving a small thrill when viewers stop her on the street to inquire about the show and its real-life cast of characters.

Despite the initial success of Jones & Jury, its host remains philosophical about her career in the entertainment industry. She confessed to People that she sometimes reminds herself that she has a degree in law as well as a list of the countrys biggest law firms in her FilofaxI always keep it there because you never know whats going to happen. she says.

Sources

Black Enterprise, December 1994, p. 54.

Essence, January 1995, p. 42.

New York, March 9, 1992, p. 22.

People, April 13,1992, p. 91; January 16, 1995, p. 98.

Carol Brennan

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"Jones, Star 1962(?)—." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Jones, Star 1962- (Star Jonz, Star Jones Reynolds)

Jones, Star 1962- (Star Jonz, Star Jones Reynolds)

PERSONAL

Original name, Starlet Marie Jones; born March 24, 1962, in Badin, NC; daughter of Shirley Jones (a human services administrator); stepdaughter of James Byard (a municipal security chief); married Al Reynolds (a banker), November 13, 2004 (divorced, 2008). Education: American University, B.A., 1983; University of Houston, J.D., 1986.

Addresses:

Agent—International Creative Management, 10250 Constellation Way, 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067.

Career:

Actress and producer. Commercial spokesperson for Salon Z at Saks Fifth Avenue, 1999, and Payless ShoeSource, 2002. Kings County Office of the District Attorney, Brooklyn, NY, began as member of prosecution staff, 1986-91, became senior assistant district attorney, 1991-92. Dress for Success, member of national advisory board and past member of board of trustees; East Harlem School at Exodus House, member of board of trustees and teacher; First Star, goodwill ambassador; Girls Inc., trustee or advisor, 2001—; God's Love We Deliver, member of board of trustees; member of board of directors, G & P Foundation for Cancer Research, HollyRod Foundation, and National Center for the Prevention of Crime; also affiliated with Starlet Fund.

Member:

Alpha Kappa Alpha.

Awards, Honors:

Daytime Emmy Award nominations (with others), outstanding talk show host, annually, 1998-2006, for The View; Safe Horizon Champion Award, 2001.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Legal correspondent, Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, c. 1992.

Legal correspondent, NBC Nightly News, NBC, c. 1992.

Host, Jones & Jury, syndicated, 1994.

Senior correspondent and chief legal analyst, Inside Edition, syndicated, 1995.

(Sometimes credited as Star Jones Reynolds) Cohost, The View, ABC, 1997-2006.

Hollywood Squares (also known as H2 and H2: Hollywood Squares), syndicated, recurring appearances, 2000-2002.

Host, It's All about You with Star Jones, 2001.

Host, Popping the Question with Star Jones, Lifetime, 2004.

Host, Star Jones (talk show), truTV, 2007-2008.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Presenter, The National Hate Test, USA Network, 1998.

Masters of the Martial Arts Presented by Wesley Snipes, TNT, 1998.

Intimate Portrait: Star Jones, Lifetime, 1999.

The Great American History Quiz: Heroes and Villains, History Channel, 2000.

Soul Train Christmas Starfest, 2000.

Host, An Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence, syndicated, 2000.

Intimate Portrait: Lela Rochon Fuqua, Lifetime, 2001.

Stars: An Oscar's Party, 2002.

(As Star Jonz) Marshalls' Women in Comedy, PAX, 2002.

Host, After Party at "The View," ABC, 2002.

Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, ABC, 2002, 2003.

Host, The View: His & Her Body Test, ABC, 2003.

Intimate Portrait: Susan Lucci, Lifetime, 2003.

Sex and the City: A Farewell, HBO, 2004.

(As Star Jones Reynolds) Host, Live from the Red Carpet: The 2004 Primetime Emmy Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.

Host, Live from the Red Carpet: The 2005 Golden Globe Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2005.

Host, Live from the Red Carpet: The 2005 Emmy Awards, E! Entertainment Television, 2005.

(As Reynolds) Host, Star Struck: Jamie Foxx & Jennifer Garner, E! Entertainment Television, 2005.

InStyle Celebrity Weddings, ABC, 2005.

Host, The Star Jones Reynolds Report, 2006.

Legends Ball, ABC, 2006.

T. D. Jakes Presents "MegaFest: Let It Flow," 2006.

The View: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2007.

Host, Bad Girls Club Reunion, Oxygen Network, 2008.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Herself, "The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee," Sports Night, ABC, 1998.

Herself, All My Children (also known as AMC), ABC, 1998, 2005.

The gatekeeper, Port Charles, ABC, 1999.

Herself, "The Marry Caitlin Moore Show," Spin City, ABC, 2000.

Herself, "True Story," Bette!, CBS, 2001.

Herself, "Dusting Diva," Welcome to New York, CBS, 2001.

Jenna Owens, "Adverse Reactions," Strong Medicine, Lifetime, 2001.

Host, "Fabulous Females Week," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Shauna Black, "Tonight at Noon," Soul Food, Showtime, 2002.

Pyramid (also known as The $100,000 Pyramid), syndicated, 2004.

Contestant, Celebrity Poker Showdown, Bravo, 2004.

(As Star Jones Reynolds) Dr. Curtis, "Amicably Yours," Less than Perfect, ABC, 2005.

"High Brow," Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Bravo, 2005.

20/20 (also known as ABC News 20/20), ABC, 2006.

Herself, "Screwed," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (also known as Law & Order: SVU and Special Victims Unit), NBC, 2007.

Television Guest Appearances; Episodic:

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 2001, 2002.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2003.

Entertainment Tonight (also known as Entertainment This Week, E.T., ET Weekend, and This Week in Entertainment), syndicated, multiple appearances, between 2005 and 2008.

(As Star Jones Reynolds) The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS, 2005.

(Uncredited) Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 2005.

The Tony Danza Show, syndicated, 2005, and (as Reynolds), 2006.

(As Reynolds) The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNBC, 2006.

American Morning, Cable News Network, 2006.

Guest host, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, syndicated, 2006.

(Sometimes credited as Reynolds) Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2006, 2007.

Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2007.

Access Hollywood, syndicated, 2007.

The Insider, syndicated, 2007.

Today (also known as NBC News Today and The Today Show), NBC, 2008.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 1999 Essence Awards, Fox, 1999.

Presenter, The 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, CBS, 1999.

Presenter, The 27th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2000.

Presenter, The 28th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, NBC, 2001.

Presenter, Essence Awards, Fox, 2001.

The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2003.

Presenter, The 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, NBC, 2004.

(As Star Jones Reynolds) Presenter, The 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, CBS, 2005.

(As Reynolds) Presenter, 37th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2006.

(As Reynolds) Presenter, The 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2006.

Television Work; Series:

Executive producer, Popping the Question with Star Jones, Lifetime, 2004.

Executive editor, Star Jones, truTV, 2007-2008.

Television Work; Specials:

(As Star Jones Reynolds) Producer, Star Struck: Jamie Foxx & Jennifer Garner, E! Entertainment Television, 2005.

Executive producer, The Star Jones Reynolds Report, 2006.

Film Appearances:

Holly Davis, Relative Strangers, Nu Image Films/Relative Productions, 2006.

WRITINGS

Books:

(With Daniel Paisner) You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything, HarperCollins, 1998.

Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love, HarperCollins, 2006.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 61, Gale, 2007.

Notable Black American Women, Book 2, Gale, 2006.

Periodicals:

Ebony, December, 1998, p. 52.

Entertainment Weekly, August 24, 2007, p. 30.

Essence, October, 1999, p. 84.

Ladies' Home Journal, November, 2001, pp. 116-119.

New York Times, February 27, 2000, p. ST1.

TV Guide, March 27, 2004, pp. 28-32; August 20, 2007, p. 37.

Electronic:

Star Jones Official Site, http://www.starjones.com, October 10, 2008.

Other:

Intimate Portrait: Star Jones (television special), Lifetime, 1999.

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"Jones, Star 1962- (Star Jonz, Star Jones Reynolds)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jones-star-1962-star-jonz-star-jones-reynolds

Jones, Star 1962(?)–

Star Jones 1962(?)

Attorney, television host

Sassy Youth

Took on High-Profile Cases

TV Appearances Led to Own Show

Joined The View

You Have to Stand for Something

Sources

In 1994 former New York City prosecuting attorney Star Jones made the leap from public service to public persona when her syndicated television show, Jones & Jury, began airing on stations across the United States. Prior to this Jones had honed her skills as a legal correspondent for both NBC and Court TV. Before that, the lawyer had spent several years with one of the nations busiest district attorneys offices. Joness experience in broadcasting had involved the explanation of complicated courtroom issues during news coverage of high-profile cases, as well as offering her insider opinion. Media analysts often lauded her eloquence before the cameras. But Jones & Jury was only her first step into an ever-widening spotlight. Three years later, Jones landed a spot on the daily talk show that would make her a household name The View.

Starlet Marie Jones recalled thinking about entering the law profession at an unusually early age. Television clearly impacted the youngsters imagination and helped her see a world beyond her grandmothers house in Badin, North Carolina. As a six-year-old, she would pretend to be orating in front of a judge and jury. She also recalled that her grandmother would watch the soap opera Another World and would comment on the predicaments suffered by one character by saying That child needs a lawyer.

Sassy Youth

Jones spent the first six years of her life with her grandmother while her mother finished college. In 1969, the school-age Jones joined her mother in a Trenton, New Jersey public housing project. Her mother worked for the city government and sent Jones and her younger sister to parochial schools. Jones recalls being sassy from an early age, which she maintains is a partial reason for her success. I had a smart mouth and could make cutting remarks, Jones told People magazine. Thats probably why I became a good lawyer.

In 1979 Jones entered American University and shortened her name to its abbreviated form. Her mother had told her that when she was born her eyes were extremely dark and seemed to possess small starlike twinkles, hence the name. In 1992 Jones joked with New York writer Degen Pener about how ill-suited her moniker seems for the serious vocation of law, commenting, It sounds like a strippers name. During college she took an active role in student government, eventually rising to high office in her sorority, Alpha

At a Glance

Born Starlet Marie Jones, c. 1965; daughter of Shirley (a human services administrator) and James Byard (stepfather; a municipal security chief), Education: Received degree from American University, c. 1983; University of Houston Law Center, J.D., 1986.

Career: While in college served as national vice-president for undergraduate affairs for the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, early 1980s; Kings County (New York) District Attorneys Office, Brooklyn, NY, member of prosecution staff, 1986-91; senior assistant district attorney, 1991-92; Court TV, correspondent, 1991; NBC-TV, New York City, legal correspondent, 1992-93; Jones & Jury (syndicated television program produced by Group W Productions), Los Angeles, CA, host and co-owner, 1994-; senior correspondent and chief analyst, Inside Edition, 1995-; talk show cohost, The View, 1997-; launched line of wigs, The Star Jones Collection, 1998; author You Have to Stand for Something, or Youll Fall for Anything, 1998; spokesperson, Salon Z of Saks Fifth Avenue, 1999; spokesperson, Alight.com, 2000.

Member: Alpha Kappa Alpha; board of directors, National Center for the Prevention of Crime; board of directors, East Harlem School at Exodus House.

Addresses: Office Cohost, The View, 320 W. 66th St,. New York, NY 10023.

Kappa Alpha, as its national vice president of undergraduate affairs. She entered the University of Houston Law Center and earned her law degree in 1986. At graduation time she impressed recruiters from the Kings County District Attorneys office, the prosecuting office in charge of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and she accepted their job offer.

Joness decision to become a public prosecutor had been influenced by her parents choice of careers: her mother is Trentons human-services director, while her stepfather is head of security for the city. This helped instill in her a desire to serve the public as well.

Took on High-Profile Cases

Joness tenure with the Kings County D.A.s office involved her in some of the most difficult and high profile cases of the era. Brooklyn has its fair share of New York Citysand urban Americastroubles; complicating matters are the intertwined demons of poverty and crime, which sometimes combine with an incendiary third elementracial tension. One of the most serious incidents of Joness career took place in Brooklyns Crown Heights enclave: a member of its Hasidic community of orthodox Jews was charged with the motor-vehicle death of an African American child. The incident itself, and the outcome of the trial after the Kings County D.A.s office rested its case, provoked serious clashes on the streets of Crown Heights.

Jones also became involved in other notorious real-life judicial dramas, including one that landed a 14-year-old defendant a jail term of nine years to life. Jones argued the case against the young man, who had shot another teenager on a playground, and the courts tough sentence provoked some criticism. The defendants family questioned how Jones could as a Black woman do this to a Black child?, she recalled in Essence. Yet the former prosecutor remembered that never once during the entire proceedings did he show an ounce of remorse. I know in my heart I did the right thing, even though it is a case I will never forget.

By 1991 Joness devotion to her job had earned her a promotion to senior assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. In this post she gained expertise on some of the toughest types of trials in her fieldthe one-witness crimes that involve little concrete evidence. As prosecuting attorney, Jones convinced several juries of the veracity of the single witness and his or her testimony regarding the violent crime in question. Out of the last 40 homicide cases she prosecuted, only two did not result in convictions. In one of the trials, she secured a 66-year prison sentence for a serial sex offender who had avoided incarceration in four earlier court appearances. Jones enjoyed her sometimes difficult job and admits to becoming personally involved in both the cases and the lives of the youths she encountered. John Riley, a former coworker of hers, told People that Jones walks into a room and lights it up. Such star power eventually paid off for the prosecuting attorney, albeit in a rather unexpected way.

TV Appearances Led to Own Show

In 1991 a colleague at the Brooklyn D.A.s office was asked to appear on Court TV. The colleague declined but passed Joness name along to the cable television station. Her first appearance was in the summer of 1991, and she quickly became a regular face on Court TV, especially during the William Kennedy Smith trial for rape in Palm Beach, Florida. Soon NBC-TV was interested. I was sitting in my office in Brooklyn trying to convince a teenage witness to testify when the phone rang, Jones told Black Enterprise about the day the network phoned. I thought it was a prank call and hung up.

This inauspicious start did not hinder Jones on her new course, however, and within a short time she had left the Kings County D.A. office for the plusher carpets of NBC studios in Manhattan. As the networks legal correspondent, Jones became a familiar face to viewers by late 1992 during such highly publicized cases as the rape trial of boxer Mike Tyson and the criminal trial of Los Angeles Police Department officers for the 1991 beating of Rodney King. She began appearing regularly on the networks morning show, Today, as well as on NBC Nightly News.

In part because of increased interest in the American judicial system, Joness career on television took off quickly. As an attorney, she detects a deeper meaning in the publics fascination with the sensational court cases that have been a staple on Court TV, NBC, and other mainstream news sources since the early 1990s. Jones said in New York: If those cases get people to talk, thats very positive. I think people are watching trials because they want to know: Is there fairness in our criminal-justice system? Do you have to have money to get off? Is there racial prejudice? Does a womans word carry as much weight as a mans word?

Group W Communications, a producer of syndicated television shows, was so impressed by Joness work on Court TV and NBC that they offered her a show of her own. Group Ws offer of partial ownership in the program would give her some measure of artistic control. Jones & Jury debuted in September of 1994 and was lauded for its combination of two ratings-garnering formatsthe confessional talk show and the real-life courtroom saga first popularized by such shows as The Peoples Court.

Drawn from the docket of Californias small-claims division, the cases Jones moderated on Jones & Jury sometimes became heated. Primarily involving disputes of $5,000 or less between private parties, the details were presented in the plaintiffs and defendantssometimes relatives of one anotherown words in an occasionally acrimonious environment. Jones acted as mediator, calming tempers and explaining issues to both the studio and home audiences. The studio audiencethe juryof Jones & Jury voted their verdict on the case by the end of the show. With their determination, Jones issued the final decision.

Jones was hired as a senior correspondent and chief analyst for the news show Inside Edition in 1995. During the high-profile O.J. Simpson trial, in which Simpson was charged with and acquitted of his ex-wifes murder, Jones was assigned to cover both the criminal and civil trials. Although many reporters attempted to obtain an exclusive with Simpson, Jones was the only news correspondent to interview him.

Joined The View

In 1997, Barbara Walters launched a morning talk show entitled The View. The show, airing on ABC, features five women of varying generations and backgrounds gathered together in a daily gab fest. Jones was among the first group to audition, including Meredith Viera, Joy Bahar, and Debbie Matenopoulis. This first group was eventually selected to join Barbara Walters on the daily talk show, although Matenopoulis was later replaced by Lisa Ling. Star was chosen because she is smart, outrageous, and unpredictable The Views executive producer, Bill Geddie, said in Ebony. She radiates confidence. Jones told Ebony about the day she learned she would join the cast: I was sitting in Beverly Hills at lunch with a friend when my pager went off ...It said, Call Barbara Walters. I thought, you have really arrived when you see Barbara Walters name on your pager.

The Views ratings rose steadily after its debut and critics reveled in the breath of fresh on-air talent that the shows cohosts provided. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly said that the show was like a multigenerational pajama party. Joness candor, wit, and elegant style won over audiences and critics alike. The success of The View has sparked numerous Saturday Night Live sketches. Joness popularity, especially, has drawn fire from the weekly comedy series. Comedian Tracy Morgan impersonates Jones, working the phrase, I am a lawyer, into every sentence. Cohost Joy Bahar commented on Joness popularity in Good Housekeeping, Star is on every cover of every magazine. She gets more publicity than Donald Trump.

Jones sees The View as an opportunity to share her agenda with the public. I want to convince this country that beautiful women come in all sizes and colors, Jones told Essence. I want little Black girls out there to say Im jammin, instead of buying into the negative images: Youre too loud. Youre too dark. Youre too fat. She admits to acting the diva, but, as she told Essence, its not about Star being grand. Its about Star telling you, its okay to be grand. Jones recognizes that she is a role model for young African American girls and feels that her message to them is an important one. Cohost Barbara Walters agrees. She loves the good lifelimousines, traveling, designer clothes, Walters commented in Essence. Frankly, I think more women should be like this. Many men are, so why not?

You Have to Stand for Something

With the 1998 release of You Have to Stand for Something, or You II Fall for Anything Jones became an author. The book, composed of autobiographical essays, climbed to the top of the best-seller list. In the book, Jones shares her opinions on a wide range of subjects, including television, family and friends, God, politics, and racism. You have to stand for something, Jones wrote. If you dont know what your position is, if you dont know where you draw the line between right and wrong, youll never see yourself as you truly are...So thats become my credo. Stand for something. And do you know what? I dont fall for much. Amazon.com reviewer Erica Jorgensen said, Unlike many autobiographical books these days, Joness is truly absorbing.

While Joness outspoken candor has furthered her career in television and aided her in the writing of her first book, her sense of style has established her in the fashion world. In 1998, Jones launched The Star Jones Collection, her own line of wigs. A year later, she became the spokesperson for Salon Zof Saks Fifth Avenue. Next, Jones considered starting her own line of clothing for plus-sized women.

Perhaps as a first step toward that goal, in 2000 Jones signed on as spokesperson and partner for Alight.com, an Internet shopping site featuring full-figured fashions exclusively. Jones told PR Newswire that the web site is the perfect solution for women like me who love to shop but are frequently disappointed with the plus-size selections. Not only is Jones the spokesperson for Alight.com, but she also has her own web page on the site, for which she writes a monthly column in addition to offering fashion advice.

When Ladies Home Journal writer Jim Jerome asked Jones what she would do if she woke up one morning and found that she was no longer on a television show, she replied, Plan B is called a law degree. I dont define success as sitting next to Barbara Walters and wearing designer evening gowns. Success for me was passing the bar on the first shot. I have the life of a celebrity, but the heart of a trial lawyer. Jones considers herself fortunate to be part of a close-knit family and credits them with both instilling in her a drive to succeed and keeping her feet on the ground. She told Ebony, I come from people who believe that family is first and foremost and that God has to play a part in your life, or your life means nothing. Jones credits her mother with instilling her with the confidence to face any situation. Im vested with the notion that the world is mine, Jones told Essence. Nothing can change that.

Sources

Periodicals

Black Enterprise, December 1994, p. 54.

Ebony, December 1998, p. 52.

Entertainment Weekly, February 6, 1998, p. 44.

Essence, January 1995, p. 42; October 1999, p. 84.

Good Housekeeping, November 1999, p. 118.

Ladies Home Journal, April 2000, p. 88.

New York, March 9, 1992, p. 22.

PR Newswire, September 9, 2000.

People, April 13, 1992; p. 91; January 16, 1995, p. 98.

Other

Additional information was obtained on-line at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.abc.com.

Carol Brennan and Jennifer M. York

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"Jones, Star 1962(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jones, Star 1962(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jones-star-1962-0

"Jones, Star 1962(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/jones-star-1962-0