Tommy Lee Jones, born on September 15, 1946, is an American actor and film director. He was little known until his big breaks in the 1990s, where he scored roles in three blockbuster films: The Fugitive, Batman Forever, and Men in Black. He fell off the radar for a few years until his resurgence with No Country for Old Men.
He tends to play snarky, grumpy, and usually very badass characters.
He was also Al Gore's roommate at Harvard. Figure that one out. And in case you've managed to wrap your head around that, according to author Erich Segal (who attended Harvard at the same time), the hero of his novel Love Story was based on a fusion of the two of them.note
Roles of Note:
- Love Story (1970): Hank Simpson (film debut)
- Coal Miner's Daughter (1980): Doolittle "Mooney" Lynn
- The Exectioner's Song (1982): Gary Mark Gilmore (won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie)
- Nate and Hayes (1983): Captain Bully Hayes
- Lonesome Dove (1989): Woodrow F. Call
- JFK (1991): Clay Shaw
- Under Siege (1992): Billy Stranix
- Heaven & Earth (1993) : Steve Butler
- The Fugitive (1993): Marshal Samuel Gerard (won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor)
- Blown Away (1994): Ryan Gaerity
- The Client (1994): Roy Foltrigg
- Natural Born Killers (1994): Warden Dwight McClusky
- Cobb (1994): Ty Cobb
- Batman Forever (1995): Harvey Dent/Two-Face
- Volcano (1997): Mike Roark
- Men in Black (1997): Agent K
- U.S. Marshals (1998): Marshal Samuel Gerard
- Small Soldiers (1998): Major Chip Hazard (voice)
- Double Jeopardy (1999): Travis
- Space Cowboys (2000): William "Hawk" Hawkins
- Men in Black II (2002) : Agent K
- The Hunted (2003): L.T. Bonham
- The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005): Pete Perkins (won Best Actor Award at Cannes Festival)
- Man of the House (2005): Roland Sharp
- A Prairie Home Companion (2006): Axeman
- No Country for Old Men (2007): Ed Tom Bell
- In the Valley of Elah (2007): Hank Deerfield
- The Company Men (2010): Gene McClary
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Colonel Chester Philips
- Men in Black 3 (2012) : Agent K
- Emperor (2012): General Douglas MacArthur
- Lincoln (2012): Thaddeus Stevens
- Jason Bourne (2016): CIA Director Robert Dewey
Try not to confuse him with Tom Jones.
- The Cast Showoff: He is fluent in Spanish and speaks it in some of his films.
- The Comically Serious: When cast in comedic roles, he tends to be this (barring Batman Forever).
- Cowboy: In Real Life as well as some of his roles. He owns at least two ranches, one of which was the setting for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, a film he also directed and starred in.
- He also speaks fluent Spanish, likely due to his being born and raised in West Texas. The scene at the start of Men in Black where he was talking to the immigrants at the Mexican border? Ad-libbed.
- Deadpan Snarker: Practically an artform when he is doing it. No one can get across sarcasm like TLJ.
- Disapproving Look: Pretty much his default expression. Also known as the "Implied Facepalm".
- Hidden Depths: He is a graduate of Harvard University and a good friend of Al Gore.
- I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: Since nearly every role of his tends to be a grumpy fellow, it's often joked that he's just playing himself.
- Improv: Famously disliked a good deal of his lines in Men in Black, so about half of K's lines are Jones' ad-libs. It works perfectly for the movie, because J's fresh-faced rookie trying to catch-up is most of the time Will Smith legitimately getting just taken for a ride by Jones, and the director saving the results.
- Japandering: Played an alien disguised as himself in a series of Boss Coffee ads.
- Large Ham: His performances in Under Siege and Batman Forever can go ham-to-ham with anybody."Four minutes ahead of schedule. Damn, I'm good."
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: While a lot of his characters are somewhat stoic and snarky, Jones himself is friendly and jocular off the set.
- Perpetual Frowner: Most of his characters rarely smile.
- Seen It All: Most of his characters tend to have a lot of experience and be jaded against the craziest things that happen, in conjunction with The Comically Serious. He plays the type extremely well.
- Silent Snarker: To wit◊
- Stock Shout-Out: Variations of the following:"What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area."
- The Stoic: Most of his characters.
- Younger Than They Look: Has always looked between ten to fifteen years older than he actually is, though nowadays he's starting to look his age. This actually allowed him to be cast in Space Cowboys with Clint Eastwood; despite ranging from 12-20 years younger than his three castmates, his character was portrayed in the same age bracket as them.