Cherry Jones is a film, television, and theatre actress from America. She is known for her work in the 1995 revival of the play ‘The Heiress’, the 2005 original production of ‘Doubt’, Fox’s action-thriller TV series ‘24’, and the dystopian drama web series ‘The Handmaid's Tale’. She has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, winning twice. She has also won one Emmy Award and three Drama Desk Awards. A native of Tennessee, Jones harboured theatrical ambitions since she was a child. Encouraged by her parents, she took lessons under a local drama teacher and eventually graduated from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Over the course of her nearly four-decade-long career, Jones has established herself as one of the most prominent American stage actresses of all time. She made her screen debut in 1983 in the TV movie ‘O’Malley’. Four years later, she debuted on the big screen in the musical-drama ‘Light of Day’ and went on to appear in films like ‘The Horse Whisperer’, ‘Erin Brockovich’, ‘The Village’, ‘Amelia’, and ‘The Beaver’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on November 21, 1956, in Paris, Tennessee, USA, Cherry Jones is the daughter of a florist father and a high school teacher mother. She developed a deep interest in theatre when she was a child and her parents actively supported her in the pursuit of her dreams.
Her parents arranged for her to be given drama lessons by Ruby Krider. Her high school speech teacher, Linda Wilson, also significantly contributed to the development of her craft.
After graduating high school, she enrolled at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, from where she graduated with a BFA degree in drama in 1978. During her time at CMU, she performed in plays staged at City Theatre, a prominent fixture of Pittsburgh theatre, and was one of the earliest actors to do so.
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Cherry Jones is predominantly known for her contribution to theatre. In 1980, she co-founded the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She earned her first Tony Award nomination for ‘Our Country’s Good’ (1991).
From 2005 to 2006, she played Sister Aloysius in John Patrick Shanley’s play ‘Doubt’ and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the role.
She has also portrayed Lady Macduff in ‘Macbeth’ (1988), Mabel Tidings/Bigelow in ‘Pride's Crossing’ (1997-98), Josie Hogan in ‘A Moon for the Misbegotten’ (2000), and Amanda Wingfield in ‘The Glass Menagerie’ (2013-14 and 2017). She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2014.
In 1983, she debuted on television in the telefilm ‘O’Malley’. She starred in two other telefilms, ‘’Alex: The Life of a Child’ (1986) and ‘Adam’s Apple’ (1986) before making her cinematic debut in the Michael J. Fox-starrer ‘Light of Day’.
Her first prominent TV role was in the ABC soap opera ‘Loving’. She played Frankie in several episodes of the show in 1992. In 2012, she portrayed psychiatrist Dr Judith Evans in the NBC drama ‘Awake’. In the science fiction thriller miniseries ‘11.22.63’ (2016), she was cast in one of the supporting roles, Marguerite Oswald.
Jones played women’s studies professor Leslie Mackinaw in ‘Amazon Studios’ comedy-drama series ‘Transparent’ (2015-16). The character, being a lesbian and a feminist, reflects most of Jones’ real-life ideals. She garnered her second Emmy nomination for playing Holly Maddox in ‘The Handmaid's Tale’.
On the big screen, she has portrayed Pamela Duncan in ‘Erin Brockovich’ (2000), Eleanor Roosevelt in ‘Amelia’ (2009), Ruth in ‘Knight of Cups’ (2015), and Dr. Muldoon in ‘Boy Erased’ (2018).
She is set to appear in Netflix’s comedy film ‘Wine Country’, the crime drama ‘Motherless Brooklyn’, the romantic comedy ‘A Rainy Day in New York’, and the drama ‘The Friend’.
In the 1995 revival of Ruth and Augustus Goetz’s play ‘The Heiress’, Jones played Catherine Sloper, a plain-looking, shy, unsophisticated daughter of a rich doctor. The production garnered critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for Jones’ performance.
In the seventh and eighth seasons of ‘24’, Jones portrayed US President Allison Taylor. While the writers modelled the character after Hillary Clinton, Jones introduced the character attributes of Lyndon Johnson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, John Wayne, and Barack Obama into her portrayal. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2009 for her performance.
Personal Life & Family
In 1980, right at the start of her career, Cherry Jones came out as a lesbian and has since been a devoted LGBTQA+ rights activist. She has previously dated architect Mary O'Connor and actress Sarah Paulson. In mid-2015, she exchanged wedding vows with filmmaker and actress Sophie Huber.