Emmy-winning actor Ron Cephas Jones, renowned for his portrayal of William Hill on the hit show This Is Us, has passed away at the age of 66. A spokesperson for the actor confirmed his passing to PEOPLE on Saturday, attributing it to a long-standing pulmonary issue.
The spokesperson’s statement paid tribute to Jones, describing him as a beloved and award-winning actor whose warmth, beauty, generosity, kindness, and heart left a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him. His journey began at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and his love for the stage remained unwavering throughout his career, culminating in his Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning performance in Clyde’s on Broadway.
Jones’ inner beauty and soul radiated to a broad audience through his Emmy-winning performance on This Is Us. Survived by his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ron’s legacy lives on.
The actor is most recognized for his role as William Hill in This Is Us, the biological father of Randall Pearson, portrayed by Sterling K. Brown. His exceptional performance on the show earned him two guest acting Emmys in 2018 and 2020. In a historic moment, his daughter Jasmine, aged 34, earned her own Emmy in 2020, making them the first-ever father-daughter duo to win Emmys in the same year.
Ron Cephas Jones also disclosed to The New York Times in 2021 that he had privately confronted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, undergoing a double lung transplant at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in 2020, where he spent nearly two months as a patient. In a testament to the support of his colleagues and producers, he shared with Entertainment Weekly in May 2022 how they stood by him during a life-threatening health scare on his final day of filming. His sentiment echoed that they had been a pillar of strength during a challenging phase of his life, referring to them as “You cats [who] held me when I was struggling and you didn’t let me go. You’ve been there for a very difficult part of my life. I’m a walking miracle.”
Jones once expressed, “My whole life has been the stage.” For him, the thought of not performing again was more daunting than death itself.