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Richard Percy Jones, whose young voice will be immortalized in American culture forever as the voice of Pinocchio, has died. He was 87 years old.
Jones died at his Northridge, California home of natural causes Monday night, coroner’s Chief Craig Harvey told West Side Today.
Jones was born in 1927 in Snyder, Texas. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he began his career in the entertainment industry as a young trick rider before his mother took him to Los Angeles, where he went into acting. He was credited as Dickie or Dick Jones in Our Gang shorts and would go on to appear in Babes in Toyland (1934) and the Frank Capra classic Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
However, he made his mark in history in 1940, when Walt Disney cast him as the voice of Pinocchio, the puppet made out of wood who dreamed to be a real boy. The surprisingly dark film has gone on to be considered one of the great American animated films.
As he grew up, the roles dried up, but he did find a part in Heaven Can Wait (1943) and did appear on television throughout the 1950s. He retired from Hollywood in the 1960s, making one final appearance in Requiem for a Gunfighter (1965). Jones then spent his life in real estate and banking.