Dean Jones dies at 84; starred in ‘The Love Bug,’ ‘That Darn Cat!’ and ‘Beethoven’

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Dean Jones, a stage and screen actor who starred in numerous Disney movies, including “The Love Bug,” “That Darn Cat!” and “Beethoven,” died Tuesday in Los Angeles of Parkinson’s disease, his publicist said. He was 84.

Born Jan. 25, 1931, in Decatur, Ala., Jones was inducted into the Disney Legends Hall of Fame in 1995.

Jones was perhaps best known for playing Jim Douglas, a race car driver who sat behind the wheel of Herbie, a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own, in 1968’s “The Love Bug” and one of its sequels, “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo,” as well as a 1982 television series and a 1997 TV movie.


In 1965’s “That Darn Cat!” he played an FBI agent who helped foil a bank robbery with the assistance of a rambunctious Siamese housepet.

He was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1972 for his performance as Professor Albert Dooley in “The Million Dollar Duck.”

And he took a villainous turn in 1992, filling the role of a scheming veterinarian in “Beethoven,” a comedy about a slobbering St. Bernard.

The actor made the most of his career in family comedies. “I see something in them that is pure form. Just entertainment. No preaching. We’re always looking for social significance, but maybe people just like to be entertained,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1966.

He also had several roles on Broadway, appearing in “Under the Yum-Yum Tree” and other shows.

Jones is survived by his wife, Lory Basham Jones; three children, Caroline Jones, Deanna Demaree and Michael Pastick; 8 grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.


A full obituary will be posted at


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