Dick Jones, Who Gave Voice to Disney’s Pinocchio, Dies at 87.
As Mr. Jones remembered it, he was chosen for the part from among 200 or so children who auditioned. Decades later, on the eve of “Pinocchio’s” 70th anniversary, Mr. Jones wryly recalled his preteenage world-weariness. After the auditions, Walt Disney invited him and his mother to lunch at the Hyperion Avenue studio, then home of Disney’s animation productions.
“That’s where he asked me: ‘Would you like to do the voice of Pinocchio?’ ” Mr. Jones said. “And in my mind I’m thinking, ‘What the heck do you think I’m here for?’ I didn’t say that. I said: ‘Oh boy, yeah, I really would.’” He paused. “I was acting,” he said.
Richard Percy Jones Jr. was born on Feb. 25, 1927, in Snyder, on the plains of north-central Texas. His father, a printer, was not part of the family for long. His mother, Icie Laverne Coppedge, encouraged young Dickie’s precocious gift for rodeo, and by the time he was 6 he was stunt riding and performing rope tricks. As Mr. Jones recounted the pivotal moment in his young life in The Los Angeles Times in 1984, Hoot Gibson, an early movie cowboy, saw him do his stuff at a Dallas rodeo and was suitably impressed.
“Hoot told my mother the famous words: ‘That kid ought to be in pictures,’ ” Mr. Jones recalled. “She said, ‘Whoopee!’ and away we went to Hollywood.”