Ike Jones, a behind-the-scenes icon of Black Hollywood, died on Sunday at the age of 84. The veteran producer had a stroke several months ago and also suffered from congestive heart failure, said his friend Ann Stone.
Jones worked for production companies that oversaw projects for Harry Belafonte and Burt Lancaster and he headed Nat King Cole's Kell-Cole Productions, which produced the singer's highly successful live shows.
Jones was one of the producers of the film A Man Called Adam, starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Louis Armstrong, marking the first time a Black producer had his name on an A-list film. His last producing credit was on the 1978 TV miniseries A Woman Called Moses, with Cicely Tyson as Harriet Tubman.
But it was Jones's personal life that made him an interesting subject for a biopic, which was in the works at the time of his death. The filmmaker was married to Swedish-born actress Inger Stevens and the relationship was kept secret to avoid harming her career. Stevens died of an overdose, later ruled a suicide, when the couple was estranged in 1970.
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(Photo: Trace-Mark Productions)