Jones, Orlando 1968–
Orlando Jones 1968–
Actor, writer, producer
When Orlando Jones first came to Los Angeles, he joined the many unemployed actors who were following a lifelong dream. But unlike them he was given the chance to become a scriptwriter. Not only did he begin writing for some of the top television sitcoms, he rose through the ranks and became a producer. But Jones finally realized his dream of acting and has now become one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.
Orlando Jones was born on April 10, 1968 in Mobile, Alabama. His father, who had worked in the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization, named him after Orlando Cepada, his favorite player. He was raised in South Carolina. As a teenager, he played football (which would later help him in his role in The Replacements) and acted in a variety of industrial films. Jones began to take his dream of being an actor seriously after participating in a play while attending the College of Charleston. He also formed the Homeboy’s Productions and Advertising Company. To make money, he worked as a doorman for a major Charleston hotel. This hotel was the only place in the city that carried the trade papers, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t know nobody who knew anybody who heard of anybody who was in Hollywood,” he told the Houston Chronicle. Jones would send out his resume using a fake name (as his agent) and the hotel’s address and phone number to the names he found in the papers. He was rejected over and over, but this did not discourage him.
Someone from Hollywood saw Jones’s play performance and signed him up. His big break was a writing job for the popular sitcom, A Different World. “I literally got lucky. I wrote away, I’d done some stuff and I was given a job,” he told the Mirror. He was also a writer for the pilot episode of Martin. From there, Jones became the executive story editor for Roc Live. He was the producer for The Sinbad Show before an opportunity to finally become an actor knocked on his door.
After being a writer and producer, Jones auditioned and won a spot on the sketch comedy, Mad TV. He was one of the original cast member of the late night comedy, where he showcased both his writing and acting talent. He appeared in many zany skits for the first two seasons. “It was a great learning process,” he told the Tampa Tribune.
After Mad TV, Jones began picking up roles on both film and television. He appeared on television shows,
Born on April 10, 1968, in Mobile, Alabama; Education: College of Charleston, 1990.
Career: Homeboy’s Productions and Advertising, founder; doorman; appeared in industrial films as teenager; A Different World, writer, 1987-88, appeared in two episodes; Roc Live, executive story editor, 1993; The Sinbad Show, producer, 1993; Sound fX, host, 1994; Mad TV, actor and segment writer, 1995-97; appeared as an actor: Herman’s Head, Fox, 1991; King of the Hill, Fox, 1997; In Harm’s Way, 1997; Sour Grapes, 1998; Woo, 1998; Office Space, 1999; Liberty Heights, 1999; Magnolia, 1999; Waterproof, 1999; New Jersey Turnpikes, 1999; From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter, 2000; The Replacements, 2000; Bedazzled, 2000; Double Take, 2001; Say It Isn’t So, 2001; Evolution, 2001; Tortoise Vs. Hare, 2002; Chain of Fools, 2002; 7Up, spokesperson, 1999-02.
Awards: International Food and Beverage Creative Excellence Awards, special acting award, for 7Up ads, 2001.
including Herman’s Head and did a voiceover for the animated series, King of the Hill. Jones also hosted the show, Sound fX. Among his many films—including Sour Grapes, Office Space and New Jersey Turnpikes —the film, Liberty Heights, which was also his first dramatic role, was his favorite. He considered his part in Liberty Heights “his most significant role because it showed he could act, not just act funny,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
Jones became a well-known celebrity after he was approached to become the face of 7Up soda. He turned down the role, but changed his mind after he was given creative input. “That came out of nowhere. For an African-American male non-athlete to be a spokesperson for a soft-drink company is a major coup,” he told the Lexington Herald-Leader. He made 15 commercials with the slogan “Make 7… (pause) Up Yours” and “Show Me Your Can” that made the campaign popular and successful. “Yes, they increased their sales significantly…. They were funny, and they didn’t feature athletes or big celebrities,” Jones explained to the Tampa Tribune. He received a special acting award from the International Food and Beverage Creative Excellence Awards in 2001. His contract with the soft drink company expired in 2002.
After the success of the 7Up commercials, Jones began to star opposite some of Hollywood’s famous actors. He appeared in The Replacements with Keanu Reeves, Bedazzled with Elizabeth Hurley and Brendan Fraser, and Say It Isn’t So with Sally Field and Heather Graham. He was also given top billing alongside comedian Eddie Griffin in Double Take. All were marginal hits, but that would soon change. Jones took on the role of Dr. Harry Block in the film Evolution, co-starring David Duchovny and Julianne Moore. It opened to mixed reviews, but debuted at number two. It remained in the top ten for three weeks. Jones also became good friends with Duchovny during filming.
Next up for Jones was voice work for The Tortoise Vs. The Hare. Another film, Chain of Fools, with Salma Hayek, was scheduled for release in 2002. He has also sold three scripts: The Reverend Pimp Daddy, Sticky Fingers and Redneck. Each script promises to bring the audience to tears from laughing. Orlando Jones may have become a star in an unconventional way but he has proven that talent and adaptability are indeed a welcome commodity in Hollywood.
(television, as a writer)
A Different World, 1987-88.
Roc Live, 1991.
Martin, (pilot episode).
Mad TV, 1995-96.
(as a producer)
The Sinbad Show, 1993.
(as an actor)
A Different World, 1987.
Herman’s Head, 1991.
Mad TV, 1995-96.
King of the Hill, 1997.
(as a host)
Sound fX, 1994.
Sour Grapes, 1998.
Office Space, 1999.
New Jersey Turnpikes, 1999.
The Replacements, 2000.
Say It Isn’t So, 2001.
Double Take, 2001.
Tortoise Vs. Hare, 2002.
Chain of Fools, 2002.
Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, vol. 28, Gale Group, 2000.
Adweek Eastern Edition, May 14, 2001.
Arizona Republic, June 8, 2001.
Dallas Morning News, September 16, 1999.
The Guardian, (London, England) June 23, 2001.
The Houston Chronicle, June 7, 2001.
The Lexington Herald-Leader, (Kentucky) August 15, 2000.
Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2000.
The Mirror, June 29, 2001.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 16, 2001.
The Tampa Tribune, June 8, 2001.
All Movie Guide, http://allmovie.com.
Calendar Live, http://www.calendarlive.com.
Internet Movie Database, http://us.imdb.com.
The Numbers, http://www.the-numbers.com.
—Ashyia N. Henderson
Jones, Orlando 1968–
JONES, Orlando 1968–
Born April 10, 1968, in Mobile, AL. Education: College of Charleston, graduate, 1990.
Addresses: Agent— The Gersh Agency, 232 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Manager— Anonymous Content, 8522 National Blvd., Suite 101, Culver City, CA 90232. Publicist— Baker Winokur Ryder, 9100 Wilshire Blvd., 6th Floor West, Beverly Hill, CA 90212.
Career: Actor, producer, writer, and editor. Appeared in television commercials for 7–Up, 1999–2000.
Andre, In Harm's Way, 1997.
Digby, Sour Grapes, Columbia/Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1998.
Sticky Fingas, Woo, New Line Cinema, 1998.
Little Melvin, Liberty Heights, Warner Bros., 1999.
Worm, Magnolia (also kwon as mag–no'li–a), New Line Cinema, 1999.
Steve, Office Space (also known as Cubiculos de la oficina), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1999.
Natty Battle, Waterproof, Cloud Ten Pictures, 1999.
New Jersey Turnpikes, 1999.
Himself, That Moment: Magnolia Diary (also known as That Moment: Magnolia Diary October 1998–March 2000), 2000.
Ezra Traylor, From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (also known as The Hangman's Daughter), Buena Vista Home Video, 2000.
Clifford Franklin, The Replacements, Warner Bros., 2000.
Miss Cocoa, Chain of Fools, Warner Bros., 2000.
Daniel/Dan/Danny, Esteban, beach jock, Lamar Garrett, Dr. Ngegitigegitibaba, Bedazzled, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2000.
Daryle Chase, Double Take, Buena Vista, 2001.
Dig McCaffrey, Say It Isn't So, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2001.
Professor Harry Phineas Block, Evolution, DreamWorks, 2001.
Elijah Price, Unbakeable, 2001.
Vox, The Time Machine, Warner Bros., 2002.
Dr. Lee, Drumline, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2002.
Soul Train, Biker Boyz, DreamWorks, 2003.
Russell, Runaway Jury, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2003.
House of D, Lions Gate Films, 2004.
Television Appearances; Series:
Host, Sound fX, F/X, 1994.
Mad TV, Fox, 1995–1997.
Himself, The Orlando Jones Show, 2003.
Voice of Snack, Father of the Pride (animated), NBC, 2004.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Yuletide in the 'hood, 1993.
Mad TV Goes to the Movies, Fox, 1996.
The Best of Mad TV, Fox, 1996.
Himself, Reel Comedy: Say It Isn't So, 2001.
Host, Reel Comedy: Evolution, Comedy Central, 2001.
Rock to Erase MS, VH1, 2001.
Presenter, The 2001 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2001.
The 15th Annual American Comedy Awards, Comedy Central, 2001.
Himself, The 2001 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2003.
Himself, Spike TV VGA Video Game Awards, 2003.
The 9th Annual Lady of Soul Awards, The WB, 2003.
The 7th Annual Prism Awards, F/X, 2003.
Presenter, The 17th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, The WB, 2003.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
Errol Carver, Faster Baby, Kill, Fox, 1997.
Voice, Chico & Guard, MTV, 2004.
The Catch, ABC, 2005.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Troy Douglas, "Save the Best for Last: Parts 1 & 2," A Different World, NBC, 1992.
Cop, "Guns 'n'. Neurosis," Herman's Head, Fox, 1992.
Voice of Kidd Mookie, "Traffic Jam," King of the Hill (animated), Fox, 1998.
Professor Harry Block, "Evolution," Alienators: Evolution Continues, 2001.
Dr. Darren Lucas, "Sex, Lies, and Books," Girlfriends, UPN, 2003.
Party planner, "For a Few Dollars More," The Bernie Mac Show, Fox, 2003.
Himself, "The 200th Episode," Mad TV, Fox, 2003.
Also appeared in Comics on Delivery (C.O.D.), Comedy Central; as panelist, Real Time with Bill Maher, HBO.
Television Work; Series:
Story editor, A Different World, NBC, 1991–1992.
Executive story editor, Roc, Fox, 1992.
Coproducer and executive story editor, The Sinbad Show (also known as Sinbad), Fox, 1993.
Executive producer, The Orlando Jones Show, 2003.
Television Work; Pilots:
Executive producer and cocreator, Chico & the Guard, MTV, 2004.
"Never Can Say Goodbye," A Different World, NBC, 1991.
"Baby, I'm a Star," A Different World, NBC, 1991.
Roc, Fox, 1992.
The Sinbad Show (also known as Sinbad), Fox, 1994.
Mad TV, Fox, 1995–1997.
The Orlando Jones Show, 2003.
Reel Comedy: Evolution, Comedy Central, 2001.
Jet, July 9, 2001, p. 56.