British-born singer and actor Davy Jones, best known as one of the members of 1960s band The Monkees, has died of a heart attack aged 66.
According to his publicist, Deborah Robicheau, he died in his sleep at his home in Florida.
Born in Manchester in 1945, Jones began his acting career in England at the age of 11. One of his earliest roles was playing Colin Lomax, Ena Sharples’s grandson in Coronation Street. He also appeared in the BBC police series Z Cars before temporarily giving up acting to train as a jockey in his teens.
However, Jones was always destined to return to the stage, and in the early 1960s joined the cast of the West End show Oliver! After touring the show in America he signed television and music recording contracts in the US which saw him make a number of TV appearances, release a single and an album.
In 1965, Jones’s television contract with Screen Gems got him shortlisted to be part of a new musical television series, The Monkees. He was chosen to be the lead singer of the band, who also had a television show of the same name. He was joined in The Monkees by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork.
The television programme went on to become a smash hit across the world and along with the music propelled Jones to international stardom.
The Monkees have sold more than 65 million records worldwide. Their biggest hits include (Theme from) The Monkees, Last Train to Clarksville, I’m a Believer and Daydream Believer (see video below).
After The Monkees were disbanded in 1971, Jones continued to act and appeared in a number of small roles on television and in film. He also returned to stage with Oliver! on several occasions, playing Fagin in a number of productions.
Jones and his bandmates reunited for extensive periods during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s for reunion tours that took The Monkees all over the world once again.
In December 2008, Yahoo Music named Jones “Number 1 teen idol of all time”.
Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and four daughters.