Birth Date: April 10th, 1968 - Mobile, Alabama, USA
A comic actor who began his Hollywood career working behind the scenes, Orlando Jones is more than just the popular pitch man exhorting the 2000-2001 TV audience to "Make 7-Up Yours."
Raised in South Carolina, Jones discovered acting when he was cast in a school play while attending the College of Charleston. Aiming to make it in show business one way or another, Jones also formed Homeboy's Productions and Advertising while in college. Jones got his break, however, when a Hollywood visitor in Charleston saw him perform and signed him up, leading to a writing job on the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. Jones then wrote for the sitcom Roc in 1991 and became a producer on The Sinbad Show in 1993.
Jones finally got to act as well as write when he was cast in Fox's sketch comedy show Mad TV in 1995. After two seasons, Jones left the series and moved to films with a small part in Seinfeld co-creator Larry David's first feature Sour Grapes (1998). Jones managed to work consistently in movies from then on, with bit parts in Mike Judge's comedy Office Space (1999) and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia (1999), as well as a starring role in Barry Levinson's praised but little-seen nostalgia piece Liberty Heights (1999). In 2000, Jones made his mark in TV advertising as the humorously incompetent advocate for 7-Up, enhancing his potential as a comic draw. Jones' lead role as one of the hapless scabs in The Replacements (2000) and a multi-character turn in Harold Ramis' version of Bedazzled (2000) further revealed his goofy versatility. After his action-comedy vehicle Double Take was a January 2001 washout, Jones was poised to team with Ivan Reitman for the latter's summer 2001 sci-fi comedy Evolution.
Despite Reitman's prior track record with summer comedy blockbusters and a cast that included The X Files' David Duchovny, Evolution bombed. Still, Jones retired as 7-Up's pitch man in early 2002, shortly before the delayed release of Simon Wells's glossy remake of The Time Machine (2002). Featuring Jones in a more low-key role as the 21st century cyborg who helps time-traveling scientist Guy Pearce, The Time Machine opened well despite a September 11-delayed release date, but it quickly tapered off in the wake of poor reviews. ~ Lucia Bozzola