By Alan Duke
July 8, 2014
The actor who gave voice to Pinocchio in Walt Disney's 1940 animation movie, died at his home Monday night, the Los Angeles County coroner's office said Tuesday.
Richard Percy Jones, known in film and television as Dick Jones, was 87.
The cause of death has not yet been determined, according to Fred Corral of the coroner's office. A daughter found Jones on a bathroom floor of his Northridge, California, home, Corral said.
Disney Studios named Jones a "Disney Legend" in 2000 in recognition of his work on the iconic film.
"At the time, 'Pinocchio' was just a job," Jones said at the time of induction. "Who knew it would turn out to be the classic that it is today? I count my lucky stars that I had a part in it."
In addition to voicing the script, Jones also wore a puppet costume and acted out scenes to help Disney animators draw the cartoon.
Born in McKinney, Texas, on February 25, 1927, his acting career started when he was just 3 years old. Cowboy film legend Hoot Gibson discovered the child while appearing in a rodeo in Jones' hometown, according to his Disney biography.
"Hoot told my mother I ought to be in pictures and sponsored our trip to Hollywood," Jones said.
Jones acted in Jimmy Stewart's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and "Destry Rides Again" during the same 19 months he was working on Pinocchio, according to his bio.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944, but returned to Hollywood after the second world war.
Jones acted in Errol Flynn's "Rocky Mountain" and several other movies before the start of his television acting career in 1949.
He used his skills as a horseman to work as a stuntman for Gene Autry's Flying A Productions.
Jones played the sidekick in "The Range Rider" television series before getting his own western series, "Buffalo Bill, Jr." in the 1950s.
His 200 TV appearances include guest star roles in "Gunsmoke," "Annie Oakley" and "The Lone Ranger."
When he left acting to start a career in real estate in 1959, he had appeared in nearly 100 movies, according to Disney.
JONES, Dick (Richard Percy Jones)
Born: 2/25/1927, McKinney, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 7/7/2014, Northridge, California, U.S.A.
Dick Jones’ westerns – stuntman, actor:
Westward Ho – 1935 (Jim Wyatt as a child)
The Hawk – 1935 (Dickie Thomas)
The Pecos Kid – 1935 (Donald Pecos as a Boy)
Moonlight on the Prairie – 1935 (Dickie Roberts)
Wild Horse Roundup – 1936 (Dickie Williams)
Sutter’s Gold – 1936 (2ns newsboy)
Daniel Boone – 1936 (Master Jerry Randolph)
Smoke Tree Ranger – 1937 (Teddy Page)
Land Beyond the Law – 1937 (Bobby Skinner)
Hollywood Round-up – 1937 (Dickie Stevens)
Renfrew of the Royal Mounted – 1937 (Tommy MacDonald)
Land of Fighting Men – 1938 (Jimmy Mitchell)
Border Wolves – 1938 (Jimmie Benton)
The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok – 1938 (Buddy)
The Frontiersman – 1938 (Artie Peters)
Destry Rides Again – 1939 (Claggett boy)
The Singing Dude – 1940 (Bud)
Hi-Yo Silver – 1940 (the boy)
Brigham Young – 1940 (Henry Kent)
Virginian City – 1940 (Cobby)
The Outlaw – 1943 (boy)
Strawberry Roan – 1948 (Joe Bailey)
Sons of New Mexico – 1949 (Randy Pryor)
The Lone Ranger (TV) – 1949, 1950 (Jim Patrick, Jim Douglas)
Redwood Forest Trail – 1950 (Mighty Mike)
Rocky Mountain – 1950 (Jim (Buck) Wheat)
The Gene Autry Show (TV) – 1950, 1951 1952, 1954 (Billy Walker, Horace, Tim Morgan, Randy Baker, Tom Jackson,
Fort Worth – 1951 (Luther Wicks)
The Range Rider (TV) – 1951-1953 (Dick West)
Wagon Train – 1952 (Dave Weldon, aka The Apache Kid)
The Old West – 1952 (Pinto) [stunts]
Last of the Pony Riders – 1953 (Johnny Blair)
Annie Oakley (TV) – 1954, 1955 (Corporal Sam, Bob Neil, Steve Donavan, Clell Morgan, Bob Neill)
Buffalo Bill Jr. (TV) 1955-1956 (Buffalo Bill, Jr.)
The Wild Dakotas – 1956 (Mike McGeehee)
Stranger at My Door – 1956 [stunts]
The Gray Ghost (TV) – 1957 (Underwood)
Pony Express (TV) – 1960 (Bill)
Wagon Train (TV) – 1962 (John Hunter)
The Night Rider (TV) – 1962 (Billy Joe) [stunts]
The Devil’s Bedroom – 1964 (Norm)
Requiem for a Gunfighter – 1964 (Cliff Fletcher)
When the West Was Fun: A Western Reunion – 1979 [himself]
Gene Autry, Melody of the West - 1994 [himself]
Gene Autry: White Hat, Silver Screen (TV) – 2007 [himself]