‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Cooter Actor Ben Jones Grew Up in a Railroad Shack Without Plumbing and Electricity

by Matthew Memrick
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“Dukes of Hazzard” actor and politician Ben Jones came from simple beginnings in North Carolina, but who knew that he lived in a railroad shack with no plumbing or electricity.

Born in Tarboro, the 80-year-old man grew up in a railroad family His dad, Hubert, was a railroad section foreman, while his mom, Ila, was the daughter of another railroad section foreman.  Over the years, the man learned he is a descendant of Gabriel Jacobs, a slave who was freed in Northampton County, VA, in 1690.

According to IMDb, Jones lived in a “section house,” a railroad-owned shack at or near a railroad section. Jones and his family lived in a Portsmouth, Va. shed next to the Pinners Point Railyard.

Now, Jones lives in a colonial log cabin and farm in Rappahannock County, Virginia. The farm is next to Shenandoah National Park. 

In 1999, the actor and his wife, Alma, created a “Dukes of Hazzard” themed museum and theme store in Sperryville, Virginia, called “Cooter’s.”

“Dukes of Hazzard” Actor Made Himself Successful 

Jones worked hard at his studies and entered East Carolina University before transferring to North Carolina.

In college, he spent summers with the railroad on a work train. In 1962, he caught the acting bug and worked with The Carolina Playmakers. He found additional work with summer productions and the “Unto These Hills” outdoor drama in Cherokee, N.C. 

Jones ended up in Atlanta and found roles “Smokey and The Bandit” and “The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars” before making it big with “Dukes of Hazzard.”

A supporting role in an independent movie called “The Moonrunners” helped Jones get into the “Dukes of Hazzard” role. Interestingly enough, country music singer and future “Dukes” narrator Waylon Jennings was in that movie. 

After the show ran seven years, Jones found success as a U.S. Representative from Georgia from 1989 to 1993. Jones was successful, even becoming a Democratic Whip at one point. He took on Newt Gingrich and forced him out of office over tax-exempt group usage.

After his Congress time, Jones returned to acting with roles in “Meet Joe Black” and “Primary Colors.” Of course, he also worked in two “Dukes of Hazzard” reunion specials.

The actor also stays close to his music roots, playing with Cooter’s Garage Band. The act plays Southern Country/Rock music and has made 11 CD projects, including 2020’s “Play Me an Old Song.”

“Dukes of Hazzard” Actor In Upcoming Stanley Movie

According to IMDb, Jones will play himself in a Ralph Stanley biographical movie called. “Unbreakable.” Nathan Stanley will play himself, and Kady Thompson takes on a role for the film. Other than that, details are thin on the movie.

Johnny Reeves directed the movie, which is set for a Christmas release this year.

Outsider.com