By: Nick Thomas | Chron

For more than five decades, L.Q. Jones was a familiar supporting character actor in more than 150 films and television shows.

The lanky, tough and athletic actor, who died July 9 at the age of 94, could tackle any role — although he was often cast as the “heavy” in westerns and dramas, projecting the “bad guy” image with merely a sinister smirk or a menacing twinkle in the eye.

Born and raised in Texas as Justus McQueen, relatives took care of the young boy after his mother was killed in a car accident.

“I was born in Beaumont, although they may try to disclaim me, but it’s too late now!” Jones said during a 2017 interview. “We moved around quite a bit, to Houston to Dallas to Oklahoma City, back to Beaumont, and finally Port Neches. I had a horse by the time I was 8 or 9 and grew up around tough rodeo people – my uncle was into roping – so westerns were easy and fun.”

In college, at the University of Texas at Austin, he roomed with Fess Parker for more than a year. While the future Daniel Boone actor moved west to Hollywood, Jones headed south and took up ranching in Nicaragua. When Parker sent his buddy a copy of Leon Uris’s war novel “Battle Cry,” about to be filmed, Jones thought one character could be his ticket to Hollywood.

“Fess encouraged me to come out and drew me a map on the back of a laundry shirt stuffing showing how to get to the studio,” Jones said. “Within 2 days of arriving, I had the part of L.Q. Jones in ‘Battle Cry’ and probably would never have been in the business had it not been for Fess.”

Despite lacking Hollywood experience, Jones had worked some comedy acts during college to help pay the bills, so he played the comic relief character in the 1955 war drama with great comedic skill. Adopting his screen character’s name as his own, the lad from Texas quickly settled into Hollywood.

A veteran of many western movies, Jones still vividly recalled working with director Sam Peckinpah, as he became a favorite among the director’s casting repertoire.

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