Sam J. Jones

Samuel Gerald Jones (born August 12, 1954), known professionally as Sam J. Jones, is an American actor. He has arguably become best known for having played the title characters in the 1980 film Flash Gordon and in the short-lived TV series The Highwayman (1987–1988).

Sam J. Jones
Jones in April 2016
Samuel Gerald Jones

(1954-08-12) August 12, 1954
Years active1975–present
Known forFlash Gordon
Lynn Eriks
(m. 1982; div. 1987)

Ramona Lynn Jones (m. 1992)
Military service
Allegiance United States
BranchUnited States Marine Corps
Rank Private First Class (PFC)

Early life

Jones was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Sacramento, California. In 1972, after high school, Jones enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he played American football.[1] With service in the Corps completed, he moved to Seattle with the ambition of joining the Seahawks but was turned down.[2] Instead, in 1976, he played for their practice team, the Flyers, as a semi-professional.[3]

In parallel and to supplement his income, Jones also began modelling. Starting in 1975, he appeared in full-frontal nude under the alias "Andrew Cooper III" as the centerfold for a photo-spread in the June issue of Playgirl magazine.[4] He also starred in TV commercials for a local sporting goods store in Seattle before finally moving to Los Angeles in 1977.[5]


Jones made his first film appearance in the 1979 romantic comedy film 10.[6] His appearance in 10 allowed him to beat Kurt Russell and Arnold Schwarzenegger for his most famous role, that of Flash Gordon in the 1980 film of the same name.[7] Jones dyed his hair blonde for this role. The film was moderately successful at the box office grossing $27.1 million in North America, and $22 million in the UK: double its $20 million budget. However, a falling out between Jones and the producers helped to scrap the planned trilogy.[8]

After the release of Flash Gordon, Playgirl reprinted his 1975 photo-spread in its January 1981 issue, this time using his real name. He went on to play Chris Rorchek in the TV series Code Red (1981–1982). He had guest roles in other TV shows including The A-Team, Hunter, and Riptide. In 1987, he played the lead role in a TV adaptation of Will Eisner's comics character The Spirit.[9] He also played the title character in the short-lived NBC sci-fi series The Highwayman.[9] In the late 1980s and early 1990s he portrayed Johnny Valentine on the HBO series 1st & Ten.

Jones starred in the 1986 theatrical release My Chauffeur[10] and the straight-to-video movies Jungle Heat (1985), Jane and the Lost City (1987), Under the Gun (1988), Silent Assassins (1988), Whiteforce (1988), Driving Force (1989), and One Man Force (1989). In the 1990s, Jones had roles in films including In Gold We Trust (1990), Maximum Force (1992), Fist of Honor (1993), Hard Vice (1994), Enter the Shootfighter (1995), Texas Payback (1995), The Killer Inside (1996), Earth Minus Zero (1996), Baja Run (1996) and American Tigers (1996), and guest roles in the TV shows Baywatch, Diagnosis Murder and Walker: Texas Ranger.

In 2001, Jones was cast in Animal Planet's family series Hollywood Safari as a park ranger. He appeared in "Deadman Switch", an episode of the television series Stargate SG-1. in 2002, Jones retrained and, when he is not acting or working autograph booths on the ComicCon circuit, he works as a high-end security professional in San Diego, protecting traveling executives to Mexico. In his words "I became a security professional 15 years ago. My wife looked at me and said, 'You've been waiting for the phone to ring. The phone isn't ringing. We have kids. There's the door. Don’t come back until you’re providing.' That’s why I walked away from labels years ago. Actor? I'm a working man. Whatever it takes to provide, I'm a working man".[11]

In 2007, he played the prisoner Krebb in the Sci Fi Channel original television series Flash Gordon. He also had extended cameos (as himself, with his blond Flash Gordon hairstyle) in both the 2012 comedy film Ted and its 2015 sequel, Ted 2. In 2019, Life After Flash, a feature-length documentary starring Jones, directed by Lisa Downs & produced by Ashley Pugh, was released worldwide.[12] Life After Flash not only celebrates the 1980 classic featuring interviews with cast, crew and fans including Melody Anderson, Brian Blessed, Peter Wyngarde, Mark Millar, Robert Rodriguez, Stan Lee and Brian May, but also explores the aftermath of when star Sam J Jones went up against one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood: Dino De Laurentiis.

Personal life

Jones married Lynn Eriks in 1982; they had two children and divorced in 1987. He married Ramona Lynn Jones on June 26, 1992; they have three children.[13]


  • 1979 10 as David Hanley (as Sam Jones) Feature film
  • 1980 Stunts Unlimited as Bo Carlson TV movie
  • 1980 Flash Gordon as Flash Gordon Feature film
  • 1981-1982 Code Red as Chris Rorcheck TV series (14 episodes)
  • 1984 The A-Team as Eric Episode TV series (1 episode)
  • 1984 Hunter as Lance Lance TV series (1 episode)
  • 1984 Riptide as Rick Beever TV series (1 episode)
  • 1985 Hardcastle and McCormick as Grant Miller TV series (1 episode)
  • 1985 Jungle Heat as Gordon Feature film
  • 1986 My Chauffeur as Battle Witherspoon Feature film
  • 1987 The Spirit as The Spirit / Denny Colt (as Sam Jones) – TV movie
  • 1987–1988 The Highwayman as The Highwayman; TV series (Pilot + 9 episodes)
  • 1993-1995 Renegade as Haggerty / Nicky Griffin / Earl Lyons TV series (3 episodes)
  • 1999 Stargate SG-1 as Aris Boch TV series (1 episode)
  • 2007 Flash Gordon as Krebb – TV series
  • 2012 Ted as Himself; Feature film
  • 2015 Ted 2 as Himself; Feature film
  • 2017 Head Games as Spokesman; Short
  • 2018 Fury of the Fist and the Golden Fleece as Flash/Man with the Golden Fleece; Film
  • 2018 The Silent Natural as Jacob Hoy; Biography (Completed)
  • 2018 One of the Good Ones as Billy; Drama (Completed)
  • 2019 Axcellerator as Brink; Film
  • (TBA) Edgar Allen Poe's Decapitarium as Dean Usher; Horror


  1. Adams, Casey (17 March 2017). "'Flash Gordon' actor Sam J. Jones shares impact of role, character and visit to Salt Lake Comic Con". Deseret News. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  2. "Sam Jones credits Clint Eastwood for 'Flash Gordon' career at Tidewater Comicon". 25 May 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  3. "Sea-Tac Flyers (1973-1977) Burien Flyers (1978-80)". Greater Northwest Football Association. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  4. Lodge, Jack (1992). Hollywood: Sixty Great Years. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 572. ISBN 978-1-5661-9606-2. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  5. Wilson, Karen E (December 1980). "Sam J. Jones: A New Career is Born for the Latest Portrayer of America's Original Space Hero, Flash Gordon". Starlog Magazine. 41.
  6. Ebert, Roger (1987). Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion. Andrews, McMeel & Parker. ISBN 978-0-8362-6212-4. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  7. "Mike Hodges: "Flash Gordon was a bumpy ride… "". Total Sci-fi Online. Archived from the original on 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  8. "Sequel Baiting Endings That Didn't Work". Empire. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
  9. Sam J Jones interview: Flash Gordon , Ted 2, Flash remake
  10. McKenzie, Steven (September 10, 2013). "Flash Gordon: Actor Sam J Jones on the Skye connection". BBC News.
  11. Pinchefsky, Carol (8 November 2017). "Flash Gordon star Sam Jones looks back on the film, his career mistakes and personal Triumphs". SyFy Wire. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  13. "Sam J Jones". Empire. 91: 44. 1997.
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