US actor Dean Jones, best known for a string of Disney movies including The Love Bug, has died aged 84.
The cause of death was Parkinson’s disease, according to his publicist.
Jones was much loved by movie audiences for personifying genial fathers or bemused leading men.
His Disney debut was in 1965’s That Darn Cat! as an FBI agent who solves a kidnapping with the help of Hayley Mills. He followed it up with such films as Monkeys, Go Home! and The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit.
But it was The Love Bug in 1969 that drew his biggest success, spawning 4 sequels and a TV series Herbie, The Love Bug. It led to further Disney box office hits including The Shaggy D.A.
“I see something in them that is pure form. Just entertainment. No preaching,” he once told the Los Angeles Times.
“We’re always looking for social significance but maybe people just like to be entertained.”
Other films included Somebody Up There Likes Me, Jailhouse Rock, St. John in Exile, The Sugarland Express, Beethoven and Other People’s Money.
There were also plenty of TV shows including Ensign O’Toole, Wagon Train, Bonanza, Outlaws, The Aquanauts, Medical Center, Ben Casey, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Nowhere Man, The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, What’s It All About World?, Beethoven, Superman and telemovies including The Chicago Teddy Bears, Long Days of Summer and Disney’s The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes.
He also starred on Broadway including originated the performance of Bobby in the 1970 production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.
“My bag is acting or getting into an amusing situation and then sharing my amusement,” he once said.
“I can sense a situation or a character much better than I can sense a line.”