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Mickey Jones
Super special thanks to Mickey Jones for the interview!
Mickey Jones

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Born:  June 10, 1941 in Houston, Texas, USA

Spouse:  Phyllis (? - present)

Biography
Filmography
Gallery
Music



Biography:  Mickey Jones is the first person I've ever split into two Departments in Polar Blair's Den.  When I was redoing the website in 2008, it took me a long time to figure out where I wanted his feature.  I finally decided that he has two very distinct careers, actor and musician, so he deserves to have a feature in both such Departments.

   
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jones in 2007.  First of all, I want to make it clear I'm not talking about Mick Jones, the guitarist from Foreigner.  This is Mickey Jones, hard-hitting drummer for Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers, Bob Dylan, The Band, and, my favorite, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.  But since the days of The First Edition, Mickey switched gears full-time into acting and has given TV and movies some really interesting characters to watch.

    Out of all these characters, the one people tend to remember most is Peter Bilker, member of the recurring K&B Construction crew on TVs "Home Improvement" (or is that "Tool Time"?).  His popular line, when introduced on the show-within-the-show, was "That would be me."  It is also the name of his fascinating autobiography which chronicles everything from his rock 'n' roll days to Hollywood actor.

    Says Mickey, "I actually went in on Home Improvement for another character and did not get the job.  When my agent called me she said, 'I have good news and bad news.  You did not get the part, but they liked you very much'.  Several weeks later I got the role of Pete Bilker with the K&B boys.  Two weeks after my first episode, which was supposed to be the only one, we got a call that they wanted us back on the show.  That was the start of an eight-year run.  God bless Tim Allen."

    Incidentally, Pete Bilker is Mickey's favorite character that he's played in TV or film, "but I also loved playing Scooter, the organist, in 'The Fighting Temptations' with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyonce Knowles."  When asked about his least favorite role, "There are too many to name."


    Mickey Jones started his acting career "on the lowest rung of the ladder" as a movie extra.  It was in 1966, after the controversial Bob Dylan tour, but before Dylan's motorcycle accident later that year.  Jones always liked the idea of acting, anyway, but another part of his decision to leave Dylan's band came from the rather hard-living lifestyle of his bandmates.  "I knew what would happen," says Mickey.  "Everyday it would be, 'Let's get loaded'.  I was never into drugs and alcohol.  It's a crutch I didn't need."  When I asked Mickey of the actors who really served as inspiration he answered, "Growing up there was only one, Marlon Brando."  Today, he admires Daniel Day Lewis.

    Jones agreed to rejoin Bob Dylan in August of 1966 for rehearsals of upcoming shows in New York City at the Shea Stadium, and in Moscow.  But then he got the fateful phone call from Bob.  He was in the hospital!  Dylan had flipped his motorcycle and broken his neck!  He was in traction and everything was cancelled!  Everything, that is, except Bob's two-year deal with Mickey.  Mickey was still kept on salary for another year.  "Bob never tried to renege.  He's a man of his word."

    But Mickey needed regular paying work (as being a movie extra doesn't cut it) and he got it, via old acquaintances Tom and Dick, the Smothers Brothers.  There were four singers who needed a drummer.  This flowered into the group that took the name The First Edition.  When he first met them Mickey thought, "I was really impressed by their unique vocal sound and when we rehearsed it was like I'd known them all my life.  Everything just fell into place."  This highly successful musical relationship would last ten years (1966-1976).  Mickey's favorite songs with the FE?  "I would have to say 'Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town' and 'Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)'.


    But Mickey's love for acting never died, despite the hot music success of Kenny Rogers & the First Edition.  As he told me, "We did our own TV series called 'Rollin' on the River' for two years.  It was a one-hour series on CTV network in Canada and the CBS-owned-and-operated stations where it was syndicated in the U.S.  The movie we did was called 'The Dream Makers' where we play a rock band.  That is where I fell in love with acting.  I dreamed of being an actor when I was eight-years-old, but never believed it would happen.  Now I tell kids, 'I am living proof that you can do or be anything you want if you are willing to put out the work, effort, and time it takes to do it.'."

    When the First Edition split up in 1976, Mickey Jones concentrated all his energies into acting.  As he says, "I mostly played killers, thugs, and bad guys."  But they were cool, interesting-to-watch bad guys, and this career move ultimately led to great success with his role as Pete on TV's "Home Improvement" and the still-enormously-popular Breath Savers commercial.  In the First Edition days, Mickey didn't always sport facial hair.  The long beard became a calling card of sorts when he took to acting full-time, and it became something that fans expected to see.

    TV commercials, as a rule, generally don't last that long in the public's mind.  They are usually run for about two months, and are quickly forgotten afterwards.  Mickey, however, broke the mold with his Breath Savers commercial.  It ran for two years.  You may remember how it goes.  Big, burly Mickey Jones, evidently a biker, is on a subway with regular-looking folk.  All of a sudden, these people, including a little old lady, compliment him on his fresh, minty breath.  Then Mickey's scowling expression changes into one of delight, saying "Thank you very much" where he offers the other passengers some of his breath mints.  Very memorable.

    "The Breath Savers commercial was truly my gift from God," Mickey told me.  "I wish every actor could experience what happened to me with that commercial.  I had five call backs and did not think I was going to get it.  I ended up flying to San Francisco with one other actor to meet the client and the director.  It came down to the two of us.  The other guy was 6' 9".  I thought I was dead, but they liked my long hair and shaggy beard so they decided they could put me on an apple box to make me taller and I got that job.  The commercial was to run for roughly two years.  At the end of the two years, my agent called me and told me that they had just renewed my Breath Savers commercial for four more years at a higher residual rate plus a $40,000 signing bonus.  I made close to three-quarters of a million dollars on that commercial.  All I can say is 'GOD BLESS AMERICA!'."

    It isn't all showbiz for Mickey Jones, however.  Far from it.

    "I probably do more charity motorcycle events than any other actor.  However, the Mickey Jones CHOC Ride is no more.  I do a big motorcycle and golf event in Daytona Beach, Florida for St. Jude Childrens' Research Hospital.  I probably do 50 celebrity golf tournaments a year so I am pretty busy doing charity events."

    "I'm addicted to golf," Mickey adds.

    Does Mickey still do anything in music?  He seldom drums anymore, but he did release an album in 1978, now on CD, called "She Loves My Troubles Away".  "...For my wife, Phyllis," he says.  "She is on the cover.  I really did it just for her."  He also did a song called "Double Bogey Blues" for the CD soundtrack of the 1996 movie "Tin Cup", of which he also stars.


Filmography:

Film:

1980

Tom Horn (1980) (Brown's Hole Rustler)
Stir Crazy (1980) (Guard #8)

1982

Making Love (1982) (Cowboy Musician)
Wrong is Right (1982) (Gunman)
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) (Henry)

1983

China Lake (1983) (Big Guy)
National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) (Mechanic)

1984

Starman (1984) (Trucker)

1985

Savage Dawn (1985) (Zero)

1986

Welcome to 18 (1986) (Harper)

1987

Hunter's Blood (1987) (Wash Pot)
Talking Walls (1987) (?)
Extreme Prejudice (1987) (Chub Luke)
Nadine (1987) (Floyd)

1988

The Couch Trip (1988) (Watkins)
It Takes Two (1988)

1989

Dead Bang (1989) (Sleepy)
Homer and Eddie (1989) (Man at Pizza Joint)

1990

Total Recall (1990) (Burly Miner)

1991

Pyrates (1991) (Wisconsin Del)
Dutch (1991) (Truck Driver)

1992

Black Ice (1992) (Lloyd Carter)
Out on a Limb (1992) (Virgil)

1993

Forced to Kill (1993) (Neil)
Night Trap (1993) (Bartender)
The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) (Spittin' Sam)

1994

Bolt (1994)
Drop Zone (1994) (Deuce)

1996

The Sunchaser (1996) (Fuzzy, Biker #1)
Tin Cup (1996) (Turk)
Sling Blade (1996) (Monty Johnson)

1997

The Fanatics (1997) (Rex Tweedy)

1998

My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (1998) (Head Biker)
Ringmaster (1998) (Man on Show)

1999

Grizzly Adams and the Legend of Dark Mountain (1999) (Sergeant Evans)
The Last Best Sunday (1999) (Bartender)

2000

Never Look Back (2000)
Vice (2000) (Officer Duke)
The Last Real Cowboys (2000) (Slope)
View From the Swing (2000) (Mountain Man)

2002

Jane White is Sick & Twisted (2002) (Kenny Kingman)
Shattered Lies (2002) (William Holt)

2003

True Legends of the West (2003) (Two Gun Sly Willy)
The Fighting Temptations (2003) (Scooter)

2005

Iowa (2005) (Darrel McNeely)

2006

Penny Dreadful (2006) (Eddie)

2007

Simple Things (2007) (Stan Slyder)
Revamped (2007) (Roadkill)

2008

TV, Non-Home Improvement Roles:

1971

Rollin' on the River (1971-1973) (self, regular)

1975

The Dream Makers (1975 TV movie) (Jesse the drummer)

1978

See How She Runs (1978 TV movie) (Punk)
Lacy & the Mississippi Queen (1978 TV movie) (?)
The Incredible Hulk- Ricky (1978) (Ricky)

1979

Charlie's Angels- Angels Go Truckin' (1979) (Bo Mackey)
The Dukes of Hazzard- Granny Annie (1979) (B.B. Davenport)

1980

Galactica 1980- Galactica Discovers Earth Part 1 (1980) (Donzo)
The Incredible Hulk- The Long Way Home (1980) (Doc)
Flo (1980-1981) (Chester, regular)
Chips- Satan's Angels (1980) (Big Daddy)

1981

Stand by Your Man (1981 TV movie) (Eddie)
The Incredible Hulk- Triangle (1981) (George)
Hart to Hart- Rhinestone Harts (1981) (Announcer)
MASH- Snap Judgment (1981) (M.P. #2)
Flamingo Road- The Powers That Be (1981) (?)

1982

Father Murphy- Eighty-Eight Keys to Happiness (1982) (Leon)
Simon & Simon- Tanks for the Memories (1982) (Ron at the Survivor's Store)
Madame's Place- Episode 21 (1982) (Pinhead Flanigan)
Johnny Belinda (1982 TV movie) (Lowell)
T.J. Hooker- Hooker's War (1982) (Orson)
Hear no Evil (1982 TV movie) (Blackman)

1983

Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story (1983 TV movie) (Mickey)
Automan- Automan (1983) (Gang Member #2)
The A-Team- Holiday in the Hills (1983) (?)

1984

The Master- State of the Union (1984) (Hog)
Gone are the Dayes (1984 TV movie) (Mad Dog)
V: The Final Battle (1984 TV miniseries) (Chris Farber)
Jessie- The Long Fuse (1984) (?)
Gimme a Break- Daddy's Little Girl (1984) (?)
T.J. Hooker- Model for Murder (1984) (Dave Bowman)
V (1984-1985) (Chris Farber, recurring)

1985

Alice- Alice Doesn't Work Here Anymore Part 1 & 2 (1985) (Buford)
The A-Team- Bounty (1985) (Radio DJ Cowboy Billy Bob)
Misfits of Science (1985 TV movie) (The Iceman)
Misfits of Science (1985) (The Iceman, regular)

1986

The Colbys- Fallen Idol (1986) (Bubba)
ALF- On the Road Again (1986) (Artie)

1987

Tales From the Hollywood Hills: Natica Jackson (1987 TV movie) (Red Barry)
Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge (1987 TV movie) (Oakum)

1988

Probe- Now You See It (1988) (Mr. Jordan the Security Guard)
Scandal in a Small Town (1988 TV movie) (Glenn)
Something is Out There (1988 TV movie) (Arnie McKuen)

1989

In the Heat of the Night- Country Mouse, City Mouse (1989) (Willie)
Life Goes On- Call of the Wild (1989) (Big Al)
21 Jump Street- Wheels and Deals Part 2 (1989) (?)

1990

Baywatch- Home Cort (1990) (Red)

1991

Get a Life- The Construction Worker Show (1991) (Ray)

1992

Matlock- The Outcast (1992) (Ernie)
Baywatch- River of no Return Part 1 & 2 (1992) (Lonny)
Northern Exposure- Heroes (1992) (Tooley)

1993

Step by Step- Close Encounters of the Marital Kind (1993) (Virgil)

1994

Step by Step- Pretty Woman (1994) (Virgil)
Northern Exposure- Fish Story (1994) (Tiny)
Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas (1994 TV movie) (Ray)
Hearts Afire- Born to Dance (1994) (Driver)

1996

Married With Children- Spring Break Part 2 (1996) (Parley Wayne Rockefeller)
It Came From Outer Space II (1996 TV movie) (Chance Madson)
Don't Look Back (1996 TV movie) (Calvin)
Boy Meets World- Janitor Dad (1996) (Ezekial)

1997

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction- The Diner (1997) (?)

1998

The Jamie Foxx Show- The Lonesome Cow-Bro (1998) (Big Bart)

1999

Boy Meets World- Road Trip (1999) (Milkshake Guy)
Martial Law- Breakout (1999) (Man)

2000

Son of the Beach- Attack of the Cocktopuss (2000) (Vernon)

2001

JAG- Answered Prayers (2001) (Tiny)

2002

Lizzie McGuire- Gordo's Bar Mitzvah (2002) (Biker Guy)
The District- Twist of Hate (2002) (Fred Eggerts)
Providence- Act Naturally (2002)
Son of the Beach- Long Hot Johnson (2002) (Vernon)

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Home Improvement Appearance List (COMING SOON)
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