Actor Ron Cephas Jones, who was perhaps most well-known for his role as William “Shakespeare” Hill on the NBC Drama “This Is Us,” has died “due to a long-standing pulmonary issue,” according to a statement released by his manager on Saturday.
Jones was a long-time veteran of stage acting, appearing in numerous high profile Off-Broadway plays. He also appeared with smaller roles in a number of smaller roles in both television and film prior to This Is Us. His role as the estranged father of Randall Pearson won him Emmy awards for best guest actor in a drama series in 2018 and 2020.
According to the Associated Press, Jones had a double lung transplant in 2020 necessitated by COPD and spent nearly two months in a hospital learning to breathe and walk again. In spite of these health challenges, he returned to perform on the stage again and in a smaller role on the television show, saying, “The idea of not performing again seemed worse to me than death.” He even won a Tony Award for his role in Lynn Nottage’s play “Clyde” in 2022.
Show creator Dan Fogelman mourned his loss on Twitter, saying, “A massive loss. Ron was the best of the best — on screen, on stage, and in real life… I don’t think I ever changed a single take of his in a cut… because everything he did was perfect[.]”
He is survived by his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones.