Cherry Jones Biography

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Birth Name: Cherry Jones
Born: 11/21/1956
Birth Place: Paris, Tennessee, USA

Born on Nov. 21, 1956, Jones was raised in the small town of Paris, TN, by a schoolteacher mother and a father who owned a flower shop. Jones' grandmother, who lived with the family, was an avid movie fan and encouraged her to be an actress from the moment she began to show childhood interest. Jones was accepted into the theater program at Carnegie-Mellon University and following her 1978 graduation with a drama degree, she spent a year with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Theater Company. She became a founding member of The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA in 1980, and over the next six years performed in some 25 plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov and Brecht, among others. Jones began to make occasional screen performances with supporting roles in the made-for-television movie "Alex: The Life of a Child" (ABC, 1986) and Paul Schrader's sadly dated chronicle of a blue collar bar band, "Light of Day" (1987), starring Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett.

The Tommy Tune-directed musical "Stepping Out" (1987) marked Jones' Broadway debut, after which she returned to the boards the following year to essay Lady Macduff in the Christopher Plummer-Glenda Jackson production of "Macbeth." Her first real round of attention came with her 1991 performance in "Our Country's Good," a play about inmates in Australia's first 18th century penal colony, which earned Cherry her first Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Play. In 1992, Jones was recognized with an OBIE Award for her starring role in "The Baltimore Waltz," Paula Vogel's drama about a fantasy vacation involving two siblings, one of whom is dying of AIDS. She reunited with Vogel for "And Baby Makes Seven," playing one half of a lesbian couple and parents-to-be. Over the next few years, she also enjoyed a number of replacement roles in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches" and "Angels in America: Perestroika."

In her first Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-winning performance, Jones took the lead as a woman who gets revenge on the scheming lover who broke her heart in a Broadway revival of "The Heiress" (1995). Her Tony acceptance speech marked a significant moment for gay rights advocates, with the actress thanking her then-partner and outing herself to become the first openly lesbian Tony winning actress. The following year, she was welcomed back to Broadway in a revival of the Tennessee Williams drama "The Night of the Iguana," and began to increase her screen appearances with supporting roles as the deaf maid Lucy in Alan Wade's interesting "Julian Po" (1997) and as a veterinarian in Robert Redford's ranch-set romance "The Horse Whisperer" (1998).

Jones succeeded in the difficult challenge of playing the 90-year-old lead in the memoir "Pride's Crossing" (1997-98), which earned another round of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. She built further screen recognition with her portrayal of the head of the Depression era Federal Theater Project in Tim Robbins' "Cradle will Rock" (1999), which she followed with supporting parts in the Hollywood-made "Erin Brockovich" (2000) and "The Perfect Storm" (2000). For her lead performance in a Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (2000), Jones earned another Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Play and stayed in the neighborhood to star in a revival of George Bernard Shaw's "Major Barbara," as the titular, power-crazed lead. In her first leading role in a television movie, she costarred with Brooke Shields in "What Makes a Family?" (Lifetime, 2001), based on the true story of a lesbian mother's fight to maintain custody of her child following the death of her partner.

Venturing further, but cautiously, into the lucrative world of film, Jones gave a memorable turn as the matriarch Grandma Buggy in "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" (2002) and appeared in two thrillers from M. Night Shyamalan, "Signs" (2002) and "The Village" (2004). In the ensemble heist sequel "Ocean's 12" (2004), Jones had a small but crucial role as the mother of Matt Damon's conman character. Returning to her first love, Jones took Broadway by storm once again with her more than 500 performances as Sister Aloysius in John Patrick Shanley's moral drama "Doubt." She took home another Tony Award statue in 2005 before quickly turning around to give a Drama Desk Award-nominated performance in the Broadway revival of "Faith Healer." In 2009, Jones accepted her first regular television series role, where she was well cast as the pragmatic, idealistic first female American president, Allison Taylor, on the hit espionage series "24" (Fox, 2001- ). For her work that year, she earned an Emmy Award win for Outstanding Supporting Actress - the first such recognition of her illustrious career.




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