"A piece of our childhood just passed away..."
(1945 - 2012)
Foster was approached by a friend who worked in a theatre in the West End of London during casting for the musical Oliver!. Foster replied, "I've got the kid." Jones was cast and appeared to great acclaim as the Artful Dodger. He played the role in London and then on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award. On 9 February 1964, he appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones said of that night, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that."
Following his Ed Sullivan appearance, Ward Sylvester of Screen Gems (then the television division of Columbia Pictures) signed Jones to a contract. A pair of American television appearances followed, as Jones received screen time in episodes of Ben Casey and The Farmer's Daughter. He also recorded a single and album for Colpix Records, which charted but were not huge hits.
Then from 1965 to 1971, Jones was a member of The Monkees, a pop-rock group formed expressly for a television show of the same name. With Screen Gems producing the series, Jones was shortlisted for auditions, as he was the only Monkee who was signed to a deal with the studio, but still had to meet producers Bob Rafelson's and Bert Schneider's standards. Jones sang lead vocals on many of the Monkees' recordings, including "I Wanna Be Free" and "Daydream Believer".
After the television series went off the air, The Monkees disbanded. However, Jones continued to perform solo, while later joining with fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. He also toured throughout the years with other members as various incarnations of the Monkees. In February 2011, Jones mentioned rumours of another Monkees reunion. "There's even talk of putting the Monkees back together again in the next year or so for a U.S. and UK tour," he told Disney's Backstage Pass newsletter. "You're always hearing all those great songs on the radio, in commercials, movies, almost everywhere." The tour came to fruition entitled, "An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour."
On the morning of February 29, 2012, the Martin County Sheriff's Office stated that Jones had complained of breathing difficulties, in Indiantown, Florida, and had been transported to Martin Memorial South Hospital in Stuart, where he was pronounced dead. Jones is survived by his wife, Jessica, and four daughters.