O-Lan Jones

Actor, Playwright, Composer
This dark-haired, sweet-faced but sometimes tough-acting character actress first gained notice in the plays of Sam Shepard to whom she married from 1969 until 1984.

Named for the character in Pearl Buck's "The Good ... Read more »

Born: 05/22/1950 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Filmography

Actor (38)

Head Case 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Chicago Hope 1993 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Diagnosis Murder 1993 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Martial Law 1993 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

The X-Files 1993 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Live Virgin 2000 (Movie)

(Actor)

JAG 1993 - 1996, 1998 - 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Spa-Tel 1999 (Movie)

Bea (Actor)

The Gold Cup 1999 (Movie)

Jill (Actor)

Clockwatchers 1998 (Movie)

Madame Debbie (Actor)

Michael Hayes 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Truman Show 1998 (Movie)

Bar Waitress (Actor)

Animals 1997 (Movie)

Essie (Actor)

Touch 1997 (Movie)

Bib Overalls (Actor)

Mars Attacks! 1996 (Movie)

Sue Ann Norris (Actor)

Nash Bridges 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Harts of the West 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Natural Born Killers 1994 (Movie)

Mabel (Actor)

The Favor 1994 (Movie)

Mrs Moyer--Lamaze Class (Actor)

The John Larroquette Show 1993 - 1994 (Tv Show)

Actor

Shelf Life 1993 (Movie)

Tina (Actor)

Beethoven 1992 (Movie)

Biker Woman (Actor)

Danielle Steel's "Secrets" 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Seinfeld 1992 (Tv Show)

Actor

Edward Scissorhands 1990 (Movie)

Esmeralda (Actor)

False Identity 1990 (Movie)

Irma (Actor)

Pacific Heights 1990 (Movie)

Hotel Maid (Actor)

How I Got Into College 1989 (Movie)

Sally (Actor)

Miracle Mile 1989 (Movie)

Waitress (Actor)

Married to the Mob 1988 (Movie)

Phyllis (Actor)

Wildfire 1988 (Movie)

Mrs Johnson (Actor)

The Right Stuff 1983 (Movie)

Pretty Girl (Actor)

Shoot the Moon 1982 (Movie)

Countergirl (Actor)

Out 1981 (Movie)

Nixie (Actor)

A Death in Canaan (TV Show)

Actor

Convicted: A Mother's Story (TV Show)

Actor

Lonesome Dove (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (1)

Shelf Life 1993 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Biography

This dark-haired, sweet-faced but sometimes tough-acting character actress first gained notice in the plays of Sam Shepard to whom she married from 1969 until 1984.

Named for the character in Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth", O-Lan Jones and her mother and younger sister left her native Los Angeles for New York when her father abandoned them. After dropping out of school, the teenager began acting in Off-Off-Broadway productions, scoring her first success as a Rice Krispies-eating girl in Shepard's "Forensic and the Navigators" (1968). Though her 15-year marriage to Shepard might be politely termed "open," she continued to work in his plays. Jones was a rock star in "Mad Dog Blues" (1971), a voodoo woman in "Back Bog Beast Bait", starred in the all-female "Little Ocean" (1974), "Angel City", "Suicide in B-Flat" and others. She also appeared in non-Shepard plays like Len Jenkin's "The Death and Life of Jesse James" and Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party".

In 1979, Jones co-founded Overtone Industries, a San Francisco-based theater company, using a settlement she received after being fired from the film "Private Benjamin". She has written a number of plays and composed musicals, including 1980's "After Stardive" (co-written with Kathleen Cramer). Among the other works, Jones has authored or co-authored are "Katy Cruel", "The Man Whose Brother was Eaten by Wolves" and "Heracles and the Hydra".

Billed as O-Lan Shepard, she broke into TV and films in the late 1970s and early 80s. Her big screen appearance was a bit part in Alan Parker's "Shoot the Moon" (1981). She was briefly alongside Shepard in Philip Kaufman's acclaimed "The Right Stuff" (1983). After her 1984 divorce, she reverted her billing to O-Lan Jones and appeared in "Wildfire" (1987) and has played small but strong character roles in numerous films, including a Mafia wife in Jonathan Demme's comedy "Married to the Mob" (1988), one of the neighborhood women entranced by the title character in Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), a biker chick in the dog comedy "Beethoven" (1992), and Lukas Haas' mother in Burton's "Mars Attacks!" (1996). With co-writers and co-stars Andrea Stein and Jim Turner, Jones adapted and appeared in Paul Bartel's film version of their dark comedy "Still Life" (1993), about three siblings who have lived in a bomb shelter since 1963.

On the small screen, Jones has generally appeared in small roles in TV-movies like the acclaimed "A Death in Canaan" (CBS, 1978), "Convicted: A Mother's Story" (NBC, 1987) and "Danielle Steel's 'Secrets'" (NBC, 1992). She was a series regular as the town waitress in "Harts of the West" (CBS, 1993-94), alongside Beau Bridges and Harley Jane Kozak and has guested on such series as "Seinfeld" and "Chicago Hope".

Relationships

Johnny Dark

Step-Father
married Jones' mother in the late 1960s

Halldor Enard

Companion
holds dual French and Icelandic citizenship

Scarlett Johnson

Mother
divorced Johnson's father married to second husband Johnny Dark in the late 1960s

Kristy Johnson

Sister
younger

Sam Shepard Actor

Husband
Born November 5, 1943 in Illinois married on November 9, 1969 divorced in 1984

Jesse Shepard

Son
born in May 1970

EDUCATION

dropped out of school at age 14

Milestones

2001

Composed the chamber opera "The Woman Who Forgot Her Sweater"

2000

Acted in the film "Live Virgin"

1998

Was briefly seen in "The Truman Show" as a waitress

1996

Had small role in Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!"

1994

Made cameo appearance in "Natural Born Killers"

1993

Screenwriting debut, "Shelf Life"; adapted stage play with co-authors and co-stars Andrea Stein and Jim Turner; also co-starred

1990

First collaboration with Tim Burton, "Edward Scissorhands"

1984

Divorced Shepard

1983

Made brief appearance in Phil Kaufman's "The Right Stuff", co-starring Sam Shepard

1981

Feature film debut in Alan Parker's "Shoot the Moon", billed as O-lan Shepard

1979

Co-wrote musical "After Stardive" with Kathleen Cramer

1979

Founded Overtone Industries, a theater company

1978

TV-movie debut, "A Death in Canaan", billed as O-lan Shepard

1970

Lived in England with Shepard (dates approximate)

1968

Married Shepard

1968

First gained notice in Sam Shepard's play "Forensic and the Navigators"

Left school at 14 and began acting in off-off-Broadway productions

Raised in California

Moved with mother and sister to NYC

At age 15, moved with mother to the jungles of the Yucatan

Was series regular on the CBS drama "Harts of the West"

Resumed using her former stage name, O-Lan Jones

Bonus Trivia

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Her mother named her after the heroine of Pearl S Buck's novel "The Good Earth".

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"I'm probably the only actress in Hollywood who's waited more tables on-screen than off." --O-Lan Jones, quoted in the press kit for "Shelf Life" (1993).

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