Actor Dean Jones, who starred in classic Disney family comedies like That Darn Cat! and The Love Bug, has died. He was 84. Jones died on September 1 of complications from Parkinson's disease in LA, publicist Richard Hoffman announced, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Jones' film grosses exceeded US $960 million, Hoffman noted. The actor was inducted into the Disney Legends Hall of Fame in 1995.
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A leading man with a light comic touch, Jones also appeared in the Disney films The Million Dollar Duck (1971), Snowball Express (1972) and the sequel Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) as well as in the CBS series that it spawned and in another family classic, Beethoven (1992).
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Jones made his Disney debut as an FBI agent in That Darn Cat! (1965), about a wily Siamese who help bring bank robbers to justice. For The Love Bug (1968), Jones played a down-on-his-luck race car driver who buys a Volkwagen Beetle, which he names Herbie. The car has unexpected speed and intelligence to boot. Disney remade the film, with Bruce Campbell as the car racer, and Jones returned to narrate the 1997 version.
In The Shaggy DA (1976), a sequel to 1959's The Shaggy Dog, Jones portrays a grown-up Wilby Daniels, now a successful attorney, who turns into a dog.
He started his career as the host of a local Alabama radio show, Dean Jones Sings, and as a producer of stage shows.
Signed by MGM, Jones made his film debut opposite Paul Newman in the boxing film Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), and Jailhouse Rock (1957) with Elvis Presley soon followed.
Jones' Broadway stint includes There Was A Little Girl opposite Jane Fonda in 1960 and Under The Yum-Yum Tree in the same year.
His films also include Never So Few (1959), the movie version of Under the Yum-Yum Tree (1963), The New Interns (1964) and Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger (1994).
On TV, he played the title character, a prankster on a naval destroyer, in NBC's 1962-63 comedy Ensign O'Toole.
Survivors include his wife of 42 years, writer Lory Basham Jones, children Caroline, Deanna and Michael, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
He founded the Christian Rescue Committee (now Christian Rescue Fund), an organisation that provides a way of escape to those persecuted for their faith. His other charitable activities included international child-care and world hunger.