L. Q. Jones Nearly Killed Clint Eastwood’s Marshal Cooper in This Classic Western

by Taylor Cunningham
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Following the news of his passing, fans and friends are remembering L. Q. Jones’ illustrious Hollywood career.

Over a span of five decades in the industry, Jones wracked up an impressive 165 acting credits. He appeared in blockbusters like The Edge, The Mask of Zorro, and The Wild Bunch. And worked alongside dozens of A-listers who call him a friend.

But while his resume was versatile, it wasn’t cross-genre projects that made him famous. Instead, he earned his celebrity status in the Western genre. L.Q. Jones was lucky enough to find guest spots on classic TV series such as The Rifleman, Wagon train, and Have Gun-Will Travel. And thanks to the talents that he proved in those shows, he found a movie role alongside Western great Clint Eastwood in Hang ‘Em High.

The 1968 cult classic followed Eastwood’s Jed Cooper, a former US Marshal wrongly accused of cattle theft and murder by a band of vigilantes. To punish him for his supposed crimes, the men lynch him and leave him for dead. But Cooper survives. After the attack, Cooper returns to his career as a lawman and seeks revenge of the men who nearly took his life.

One of those men was Loomis—played by L. Q. Jones. The character was actually one of the men who actually slipped the noose over Eastwood’s neck in the film. And it was his first major role in a high-caliber film, which was fitting because the genre always held a special place in his heart.

L.Q. Jones Fell in Love with the Western Lifestyle as a Young Boy

“I was regular on about seven Westerns,” L.Q. Jones told True West Magazine in 2021. The actor was a regular on The Virginian. In it, he starred as ranch hand, Beldon.

“We became a family. We were putting on a new Virginian every other week. You had two weeks to make an hour-and-a-half show, which is a full motion picture.”

Jones was born Justice Ellis McQueen Jr. on Aug. 19, 1927. He was the son of a railroad worker in Beaumont, Texas. But as a young boy, his mother, Jessie, died in a car accident. And his father sent him to be raised by his aunt and uncle.

It was his uncle who gave introduced him to the cowboy lifestyle, which he passionately translated to the screen as an adult.

“I had a horse by the time I was 8 or 9 and grew up around tough rodeo people — my uncle was into roping — so Westerns were easy and fun,” he said, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Jones died of natural causes on Saturday, July 9th at his home in the Hollywood Hills, according to his grandson Erté deGarces. He was 94 years old. The actor is survived by his children, Randy, Steve, and Mindy.

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