Orlando Jones (born April 10, 1968) is an American comedian and film and television actor. He is notable for being one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy series MADtv and for his role as the 7 Up spokesman from 1999-2002.
On April 1, 2013, it was announced that Jones would be replacing Tyler Perry in performing the "Madea" role in the next installment of the Madea franchise, "A Madea Christmas." The decision came amid Perry's prior obligations, assisting Oprah Winfrey with her struggling OWN network. Perry has stated, "It is with mixed emotion that I announce that I will be unable to portray Madea in the next chapter in her journey." The upcoming film will be the first time anyone else besides Perry has legitimately played the prestigious role.
Jones was born in Mobile, Alabama. His father was a former professional baseball player, for the Philadelphia Phillies. He moved to Mauldin, South Carolina, when he was a teen and graduated from Mauldin High School in 1985. One of his early acting experiences involved playing a werewolf in a haunted house to help raise money for the junior/senior prom. Jones enrolled in the College of Charleston, South Carolina. He left in 1990 without finishing his degree.
To pursue his interest in the entertainment industry, Jones, together with comedian Michael Fechter, formed a production company, Homeboy's Productions and Advertising. Together Jones and Fechter worked on several projects including a McDonald's commercial with basketball superstar Michael Jordan for the McDonald's specialty sandwich the "McJordan".
He scored his first Hollywood job in 1987, writing for the NBC comedy A Different World, on which he had a small guest role in the season five finale. During 1991-92, Jones penned the Fox seriesRoc and, in 1993, he co-produced The Sinbad Show. He also made a brief appearance on the FOX sitcom Herman's Head in 1992.
After hosting Fox's music series Sound FX, in 1994, Jones became one of the original nine cast members of MADtv. Unlike some of his fellow original repertory performers on MADtv, Jones came to the show with limited sketch comedy experience. However, his comedy writing and television producing skills proved to be valuable to the early success of the show.
Throughout Seasons One and Two of MADtv, Jones produced characters like the Cabana Chat band leader Dexter St. Croix and Reverend LaMont Nixon Fatback, the vocal follower of Louis Farrakhan. He was also noted for his impressions of Andre 3000, Bill Cosby, Dennis Rodman, O.J. Simpson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Snoop Dogg.
After two seasons on MADtv, Jones left the show at the end of its second season to pursue a movie career. However, Jones returned to MADtv in 2004 to celebrate its 200th episode. Jones appeared in the opening video "Hey MAD!" where he lampooned Andre 3000. With his guest appearance, Jones became the third (out of five) original cast member to return as a guest on the show. The other original cast members who have returned are Nicole Sullivan, Phil LaMarr, Artie Lange, and Debra Wilson. During his time at MADtv, he roomed with Artie Lange.
Other television projects
Aside from MADtv, Jones made many other television appearances. Perhaps his most popular and enduring television appearance was not in the form of a sitcom or television drama, but rather in a series of humorous commercials for a soda company. In 2000, Jones became the spokesperson for 7 Up and he gained wide recognition.
This exposure led to a plethora of opportunities for Jones. First, he hosted an HBO First Look special in 2000 and then, in 2003, Jones was given his own late night talk show on FX called The Orlando Jones Show. Although his talk show was short lived, Jones continued to make additional television appearances. In 2003, he appeared on The Bernie Mac Show and on Girlfriends. In 2006, Jones decided to return to television as one of the lead characters of ABC's crime drama The Evidence, as Cayman Bishop. He has also appeared in two episodes of Everybody Hates Chris, the first in 2007 as Chris's substitute teacher and the second in 2008 as Clint Huckstable, an allusion to the character Cliff Huxtable played by Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show.
After leaving MADtv, Jones expanded his cinema resume. He appeared in a bit part in his first big screen film, In Harm's Way (1997), Jones then joined Larry David in the feature Sour Grapes(1998), playing the character of an itinerant man. Subsequently, he appeared in Woo (1998), Mike Judge's first film Office Space (1999), alongside fellow MADtv alumnus David Herman, and in Barry Levinson's praised drama, Liberty Heights (1999). Since then, Jones has appeared in Magnolia (1999), New Jersey Turnpikes (1999) and in Harold Ramis' Bedazzled (2000).
During the 2000s, Jones' career began to branch out. In addition to his witty appearances in the 7-Up campaigns, Jones played the role of Clifford Franklin in The Replacements (2000) and he appeared in the comedy Chain of Fools (2000) and the horror film From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000). In 2001, Jones landed the role of Daryl Chase in the action-comedyDouble Take (2001) alongside Eddie Griffin and worked with David Duchovny and Julianne Moore in Ivan Reitman's sci-fi comedy, Evolution (2001). Jones was also in the 2002 film Drumlinealongside Nick Cannon and Zoe Saldana and he appeared as the computer Vox in The Time Machine (2002). His other more recent films includes Biker Boyz (2003), Runaway Jury (2003) andHouse of D (2004). Jones recently had a cameo in the Chris Rock Film I Think I Love My Wife (2007), and played in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009).
In 2011 Jones appeared in the documentary film Looking for Lenny in which he talks about Lenny Bruce and freedom of speech. In 2012, Jones starred in Mystery Guitar Man's original interactive thriller series Meridian created in conjunction with Fourth Wall Studios.
Jones has been featured in many voice acting projects over the years. In 1993, Jones appeared in Yuletide in the 'hood and in 1998, he made a guest appearance in the animated comedy TV Series, King of the Hill. More recently, he lent his voice to the TV series Father of the Pride and the video games Halo 2 as the marine Sergeant Banks as well as other black marines and L.A. Rush. Jones is recently reported to be starring in the ABC's crime-drama Evidence with Oscar winner Martin Landau. In 2006, he co-created, produced and voice acted for the MTV2 animated series The Adventures of Chico and Guapo.
Jones is one of eight original MADtv cast members to engage in some form of voice work after leaving the show. Only Bryan Callen has not appeared in voice acting projects. He appeared on the very first episode of Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out.
ones married former model Jacqueline Staph in 2008. In October 2011 Jones provoked controversy by making jokes that someone should kill Sarah Palin.
Voice acting and video game appearances
|2012||Black Dynamite||Flaming Basehead||Animated Comedy TV Series|
|2006||The Adventures of Chico and Guapo||Concepción Rodriguez, Hank Holiday||Animated Comedy TV Series|
|2005||L.A. Rush||Ty Malix||Video Game|
|2004||Father of the Pride||Snack||TV Series|
|Halo 2||Marine Sergeant Banks||Video Game|
|1997||King of the Hill||Kidd Mookie||Animated Comedy TV Series|
|1993||Yuletide in the 'hood||TV Series|