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March 02, 2012

Davy Jones, Actor, Singer, Monkees Star

Jones rose to fame as a member of the Monkees, the hugely popular musical group — and television stars — of the late 1960s.

Davy Jones, an actor and singer best known as a former member of television pop band the Monkees, died February 29, 2012, in Martin County, Florida. He was 66.

According to news reports, the cause was a heart attack.

Sparked by the success of the Beatles, the Monkees was the creation of Screen Gems Television, which launched a talent search to form a band around which to create a TV series. Jones was one of four young men chosen for the group — along with Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork.

Born in Manchester, England, on December 30, 1945, Jones was a child star in Britain, where he worked extensively in both theater and television. An early highlight was the role of the adolescent pickpocket known as the Artful Dodger in a London production of the musical Oliver, based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

When the show crossed the Atlantic for a run on Broadway, Jones came as well, and earned a Tony nomination at age 16 for his performance. This brought him to the attention of Screen Gems.

The television series, a mix of comedy and music called simply The Monkees, premiered in 1966 and became a hit, running for four years. In addition, the band recorded several successful singles, including “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer” and “Daydream Believer,” all of which went to No. 1 on the charts.

Jones left the band in late 1970. The following year, he recorded a solo hit “Rainy Jane” and made a series of appearances on American variety and television shows, including Love American Style and The Brady Bunch, one of the most memorable in the show’s history.

In the1980s, Jones, along with former Monkees Tork and Dolenz, collaborated with promoter David Fishof for a reunion tour. The tour’s success resulted in MTV’s decision to air reruns of the original The Monkees series, which brought them new popularity among younger viewers.

In 1987, Jones, Tork and Dolenz recorded Pool It, al album of new material. In 1989, the group was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In the late 1990s, the group made a television special called Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees.

Other television credits included Boy Meets World, My Two Dads and Phineas and Ferb.

He is survived by his wife, Jessica Pacheco, and four daughters from previous marriages.

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