Christopher Jones Cause of Death: How the Actor Left Hollywood After a Tragic Loss

Christopher Jones was a promising actor who rose to fame in the 1960s with roles in films like Wild in the Streets, The Looking Glass War, and Ryan’s Daughter. He was often compared to James Dean for his charisma and rebellious image. However, his career came to an abrupt halt after he suffered a personal tragedy that shattered his life. He died in 2014 at the age of 72 from complications of cancer. Here is a look at his life, career, and cause of death.

Early Life and Career

Christopher Jones was born William Frank Jones on August 18, 1941, in Jackson, Tennessee. He grew up as an orphan after his mother was committed to a mental hospital and his father abandoned him. He was raised by various relatives and friends until he ran away at the age of 15. He hitchhiked to New York City, where he pursued his dream of becoming an actor.

He changed his name to Christopher and studied at the Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg, the legendary teacher of method acting. He also appeared on Broadway in The Night of the Iguana in 1961. He married Susan Strasberg, the daughter of Lee Strasberg, in 1965. They had a daughter named Jennifer, but divorced in 1968.

He moved to Hollywood and landed his first starring role in the ABC series The Legend of Jesse James, where he played the notorious outlaw. The show lasted only one season, but it gave him exposure and recognition. He then starred in several movies that showcased his talent and appeal, such as Chubasco (1967), Wild in the Streets (1968), The Looking Glass War (1969), and Ryan’s Daughter (1970).

The Tragic Affair with Sharon Tate

Christopher Jones had a secret affair with actress Sharon Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski. They met on the set of The Wrecking Crew (1968), where Tate had a cameo role. Jones claimed that they fell in love and planned to run away together. However, their romance ended in tragedy when Tate was brutally murdered by members of Charles Manson’s cult on August 9, 1969.

Jones was devastated by the loss of Tate and blamed himself for not being with her that night. He said that he received a phone call from Tate hours before her death, asking him to come over to her house. He refused, saying that he had to work on his movie Ryan’s Daughter. He later regretted his decision and wished he could have saved her.

He also said that he received death threats from Manson’s followers, who believed that he was Polanski. He became paranoid and depressed, and lost interest in acting. He walked away from Hollywood at the peak of his career and never returned.

Later Years and Death

Christopher Jones lived a reclusive life after leaving Hollywood. He focused on painting and sculpting, and occasionally gave interviews about his past. He had four more children with his partner Paule McKenna, whom he met in 1986.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and underwent chemotherapy. He died on January 31, 2014, at Los Alamitos Medical Center in California. He was 72 years old.

He is survived by his partner Paule McKenna and seven children: Jennifer Jones Simon (from his marriage to Susan Strasberg), Christopher Jones Jr., Delon Jones, Max Jones, Sevi Jones, Dashiell Jones, and Gaston Jones.

Christopher Jones was a talented actor who left behind a legacy of memorable performances. He also left behind a mystery of what could have been if he had not quit Hollywood after losing his love Sharon Tate.

According to TV Guide, Quentin Tarantino once said about him: “He had excitement. He was a movie star. He looked like James Dean, but Chris Jones didn’t take himself seriously like James Dean. He was a big comer — and with the right person handling and directing, he could still be as big as anybody.”

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