The new NBC drama starring Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia earned 11 Emmy nominations, including one for Ron Cephas Jones. The show begins with Kate, Kevin, Randall, and Jack (four seemingly unrelated characters) each celebrating their birthdays before it’s revealed that Kate and Kevin are biological twins, Randall is their adopted triplet brother, and Jack is their father—the show time-hopping between present day and yesteryear.
For his 36th birthday, Randall, played by Sterling K. Brown, finally finds the father who abandoned him as an infant (cue Ron Cephas Jones). Known as the tear-jerker of the season, the relationship between Randall and his father is one of the most touching and memorable of the series. But before Cephas Jones portrayed the poet, musician, and overall cool cat that is William, he found his sealegs in theatre.
The actor has led an overwhelmingly successful career Off-Broadway and around the U.S., having performed at such reputable institutions as Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre, New York’s Second Stage Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Public Theater (notably as the title character in Richard III).
He made his Broadway debut in 2004 in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and took a six-year hiatus from the Main Stem before returning in The Motherf***ker With the Hat starring Chris Rock. In 2014, Cephas Jones delivered a touching performance as farmhand Crooks in the revival of Of Mice and Men.
And, Cephas Jones has passed his talent and passion for acting on to his daughter, Hamilton’s Jasmine Cephas Jones.
This Is Us marks Cephas Jones’ first Emmy nomination.
Tune in to the 69th Annual Emmys September 17 on CBS.