Davy Jones of The Monkees dead at 66
Davy Jones, who rose to fame as a teen idol in the 1960s and 1970s as the lead singer of the pop-rock group The Monkees, has died at age 66.
"He died this morning of a heart attack in Indian Town, Florida," his spokesperson said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com on Wednesday, February 29.
The British singer, who lived in the state in his later years, is survived by his third wife, Jessica, four daughters from two previous marriages and three grandchildren.
He resided in Hollywood, Florida and was rushed to a hospital after suffering his cardiac arrest.
"He passed next to his passions, his horses, and was one hour away from his wife, Jessica Pacheco-Jones," his spokesperson said. "Davy was an integral part of the community, involved in philanthropy and committed to helping others."
The Monkees is touted as one of the first "boy bands" and was made up of Jones and U.S. singers Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. The group rose to fame with a own television show in the 1960s and released hits such as "Daydream Believer" and "(Theme From) The Monkees." Another hit, "I'm A Believer," featured Dolez singing lead vocals. Smash Mouth's cover of it is featured in the popular 2001 film "Shrek."
Jones also appeared on "The Brady Bunch" in the 1970s, as he was often touted as Marcia Brady's favorite singer. He and his fellow "Monkees" singers all starred in the 1995 Generation X-crossover film "The Brady Bunch Movie," which saw Jones performing a heavy metal version of his song, "Girl," to the delight of Brady and her middle-aged high school teachers.
Fellow Monkees singer Tork said in a statement on his Facebook page that Jones' "talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family," adding: "Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy."
"I am in a state of shock," Dolez said on his Facebook page. "Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena. The time we worked together and had together is something I'll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family."
'BEATLES,' 'STAR TREK' CONNECTION
The television show "The Monkees" was not a big hit during its first run, as it aired at the same time as "Gilligan's Island." But it made the group famous, especially among teenage girls. Jones in particular was so popular that he is said to have inspired the character of Chekov in the original "Star Trek" series in the 1960s.
Creator Gene Roddenberry said in his 1968 book, "The Making of 'Star Trek," that he told a casting director in a memo: "Keeping our teenage audience in mind, also keeping aware of current trends, let's watch for a young, irreverent, English-accent Beatle type to try on the show, possibly with an eye to him reoccurring. Like the smallish fellow who looks to be a hit on 'The Monkees.'"
Jones, who was 5-foot-3, was born in Manchester, England, on Dec. 40, 1945. He began his acting career before "The Monkees" television show was created, at age 11, when he was cast on the soap opera "Coronation Street" and "Z Cars" in his native UK.
He also played Artful Dodger in a London production of the musical "Oliver!" and reprised his role on Broadway, which earned him a Tony nomination. In 1964, Jones and his cast members performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show" during the same episode that featured the first U.S. appearance by the iconic rock band The Beatles.
"I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage," Jones said, according to the 2009 book "Right here on our stage tonight!: Ed Sullivan's America." "I saw the girls going crazy and I said to myself, 'I want a piece of that.'"
Jones later nabbed television roles in the United States, appearing on shows such as "The Farmer's Daughter" before signing on to launch the series "The Monkees."
Jones also had parts on U.S. programs such as "Boy Meets World" and provided the voice of Nigel on the Disney Channel series "Phineas and Ferb." Jones has also performed at Disney World's EPCOT Centre during its annual Flower & Garden Festivals and last sang at one in May 2011.
The Monkees singers have throughout the years also recorded and performed music on their own. The group's 11th and final studio album, "Justus" was released in 1996 to mark the group's 30th anniversary.
The singers toured together many times throughout the years. Nesmith left the group indefinitely in 1997. He posted a message on his Facebook page offering his condolences about Jones' passing.
"That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you," he said. "I will miss him, but I won't abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane."
"David's spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us," he said. "I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels."
Jones, Dolez and Tork performed together as recently as 2011 (see a fan-made video of The Monkees singing in Westbury, New York, on June 17, 2011). Concerts were scheduled to take place in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in June and July of this year.
Flowers will be placed on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on behalf of the Hollywood community by the Hollywood Historic Trust. Jones was given the honor in 1989. His star is located at 6675 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.