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Richard Percy Jones, Voice of Pinocchio, Dies at 87

In addition to 1940’s animated classic, the actor appeared in the “Our Gang” films as well as numerous Westerns.

Richard Percy Jones, Voice of Pinocchio, Dies at 87

By Kimberly Nordyke

Richard Percy Jones, who voiced the title character in Disney’s 1940 animated film Pinocchio, died at his home in Northridge, Calif. He was 87.

Lt. Fred Corral, of the L.A. Coroner’s Office investigation division, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that an 87-year-old man was found dead Monday by his wife on the bathroom floor of their Northridge home. She called 911, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

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Jones voiced the role of the puppet who wants to be a boy — and whose nose grows each time he tells a lie — in the classic Disney film as a child actor. He also performed on the songs “Give a Little Whistle,” “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” and “I’ve Got No Strings.”

Pinocchio

Also known as Dickie or Dick Jones, he also had small roles in the Our Gang movies as well as Babes in Toyland (1934), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Knute Rockne All American (1940) and Heaven Can Wait (1943).

Jones was born Feb. 25, 1927, in Snyder, Texas, according to his IMDb page, and was the son of a newspaper editor. He reportedly worked in Hoot Gibson’s rodeo as a trick rider and roper before moving to Los Angeles with his mom to pursue acting.

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His first role was an uncredited part in 1934’s Burn ‘Em Up Barnes. He went on to have small roles in several Westerns, in both film and TV.

From 1951-53, Jones played Dick West/Jimmy the Kid in 78 episodes of the TV series The Range Rider. He also made several appearances as various characters on the 1950-54 series The Gene Autry Show and the 1954-55 series Annie Oakley. He went on to play the title character in 1955-56’s Buffalo Bill Jr.

His last credit was the 1965 film Requiem for a Gunfighter.

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According to City News Service, Jones pursued a career in real estate and banking after he retired from acting in the 1960s.

See Pinocchio speak for the first time at the 35-second mark: 

Photo credits: Everett