He was the original voice behind “Pinocchio”—and he was only ten years old at the time. Disney voice legend Dick Jones died on Monday, according to a report on Wednesday by People magazine. The 87-year-old voice actor died after a fall in his Northridge, Calif. home.
Jones was just a kid when he voiced the iconic Disney character made famous in the classic Walt Disney animated feature, but the child actor known as Dickie had an impressive acting resume before he landed the coveted role of the wooden puppet-turned-real boy.
According to the Los Angeles Times, as a young child star, Jones wanted nothing more than to be a regular boy himself. "I didn't like going to school on the set,” he said. “I wanted to get back to the public school. I wanted to be a real boy.”
In honor of the 70th anniversary of “Pinocchio,” digitally restored DVD and Blue Ray editions of the movie were released in 2009. In an interview with @The Movies, Jones recalled working with the legendary Walt Disney during the making of the film.
"He supervised every scene that I was in," Jones revealed. "I'd be on the soundstage and he'd be in the control behind the director… We would then stand there patiently and anxiously watching Walt Disney, because if he smiled and nodded his head to the director, we knew that it was a print. If he shook his head and paced back and forth, we knew that we would have to do it again."
While he voiced the Pinocchio character in the famous cartoon feature, Jones actually went a step beyond, wearing a puppet costume as he acted out scenes to help Disney animators draw the cartoon character.
Jones’s acting creds date back to the mid-1930s when he appeared in films such as “Little Men” and “Flying Fists.” He even appeared in “The Our Gang Follies of 1938” in an uncredited role as a curtain operator.
He later landed a part in the Jimmy Stewart classic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and appeared in several TV series, including “The Gene Autry Show,” “Annie Oakley,” “Gunsmoke,” and “The Lone Ranger,” as well as the lead role on the 1950s series “Buffalo Bill, Jr.” Jones retired from acting in the early 1960s to start a career in real estate, but he leaves us with more than 100 movies to his name.