March 1, 2012 by Amy Gold
Singer and actor Davy Jones (December 30, 1945 - February 29, 2012), most famous as the frontman of The Monkees, died at 66 in West Palm Beach, FL on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 following a heart attack. Jones is survived by his wife Jessica Pacheco and his four daughters from earlier marriages.
Jones was born on December 30, 1945 in Manchester, England as David Thomas Jones. The popular 1960s teen heartthrob began his career in his native England as a child star in the theater and on TV. In 1961, at age 11, he had a role in the British soap opera, “Coronation Street,” but when his mother died three years later, the 5 foot 3 inch tall actor left television to start training as a horse jockey. Jones’ trainer, Basil Foster, became instrumental in leading him back to acting when Foster recommended him to a friend for the role of the “Artful Dodger” in London’s production of “Oliver!”. At 16, he earned recognition and a Tony Award while reprising his role of the “Artful Dodger” in the Broadway rendition of “Oliver!”.
Jones’ talents on Broadway won him the attention of the Columbia Pictures and Screen Gems Productions team that was creating The Monkees. Winning the role of frontman over hundreds of others, Jones and the other Monkees could never have anticipated what lay ahead. The Monkees reached the height of their fame from 1966-1968, and for awhile, their popularity rivaled that of The Beatles, due in no small part to Jones’ good looks and charisma. This made-for-TV group had a long string of hits that included the chart-topping “Last Train To Clarksville” (1966), “I’m A Believer” (1966), and “Daydream Believer” (1967). After The Monkees disbanded in 1969, the group experienced a revival some 20 years later due to the renewed popularity of their TV show, leading to reunion tours and other projects that included the 1996 album, “Justus,” and the 1997 TV movie, “Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees!”.
Over the years, Jones continued to make numerous stage and TV appearances, both solo and with his former Monkees band mates. He is remembered by those closest to him as a lovable spirit and a very talented performer.