Think you have your Tommy Lee Jones trivia on lock? Sure, he’s made reporters cry and fellow actors extremely uncomfortable, but the world is much brighter with TLJ in it, right? Let’s look at a few facts about Tommy Lee Jones that might surprise you. He’s brainy, gutsy, rugged, and loves polo like no other.
He's also gracious, dapper, generous, and charming, and has written some of his most famous lines. His “I don’t care!” to Harrison Ford’s “I didn’t kill my wife!” in The Fugitive earned him an Oscar. But he’s been creating his own iconic lines for a while. He wrote his character’s final speech in The Eyes of Laura Mars and flung out gold such as the “Saturday morning cartoons” line in Under Siege.
The Tommy Lee Jones biography may be rife with tears, scowls, and dead air, but it also has little fun facts such as his iconic status in Japan. He’s appeared in coffee and phone ads there since the early aughts and is beloved in the country. Jones was the only foreigner to appear in a celebrity video to lift spirits after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Let’s sit by the fire and take in these facts about the gentleman from Texas.
He Wrote His Thesis About Flannery O’ConnorPhoto: Photographer Unknown / Creative Commons
Jones earned a scholarship to a Dallas prep school, St. Marks Schools of Texas (where he is a board member), then attended Harvard. His room was across the hall from Al Gore in Mower B-12 when they were freshmen. He got a BA in English lit and his senior thesis was on the mechanics of Catholicism in Flannery O’Connor’s Books. He graduated cum laude.
He's Ad Libbed Some Of His Most Well Known LinesVideo: YouTube
The Fugitive - Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) tells US Marshal Sam Gerard, "I didn't kill my wife." Jones ad libbed, "I don't care!" Surely, he had something to do with the “Think me up a cup of coffee and a chocolate doughnut with those little sprinkles on top” line?
Under Siege - William Strannix's speech after he loses his mind: "Saturday morning cartoons…" "This little piggy... "
Eyes of Laura Mars - John Neville's speech at the end of the movie.
Loretta Lynn’s Husband Taught Him How To Drive A BulldozerPhoto: Universal Pictures
In researching the role of Loretta Lynn’s husband in Coal Miner’s Daughter, Jones spent some time with Loretta's husband Doolittle. He taught Jones how to operate machinery his character would have used, and the memory of it made Jones smile very briefly during an interview with EW, and enthusiastically exlaim, "Yeah! He taught me how to drive that bulldozer. In fact, that bulldozer was his.”
Note to interviewers: let him drive around on heavy machinery. The noise will also down out the awkward silence.
He’s Mentioned In Ripley’s Believe It Or Not For Landing An Agent And Part In 10 DaysPhoto: New World Pictures
Only 10 days after graduating from Harvard in 1969, Jones moved to New York and landed an agent and Broadway debut (A Patriot for Me) so fast in he made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not.