Dean Jones of Herbie, the Love Bug and Ensign O'Toole Fame, Dies at 84

Dean Jones, who rose to fame as TV’s Ensign O’Toole — and later, briefly brought Disney’s Love Bug franchise to the small screen — died today at 84.

The actor, who succumbed to complications from Parkinson’s disease, also had guest roles on such series as Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, and Nowhere Man — and did voiceover work on the animated Beethoven series.

Jones, whose acting career spanned more than 50 years, was best known for playing Jim Douglas, driver of a sentient Volkswagen racing Beetle, in Disney’s 1968 family comedy The Love Bug, which spawned several sequels and was later spun off as the short lived 1982 series Herbie, the Love Bug.

Watch some clips of his work below, then share your memories in the comments.


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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13 Comments
  1. N says:

    I loved him…..R I P

  2. Kimberly S. says:

    welcome to the Hawaiian Hideway, your cares will glide away, with the sun in the morning and the moon at night…. RIP Dean

  3. BrightLight says:

    Oh no! I loved him in the Herbie movies but he’ll always be the original Bobby from “Company” for me. Off to listen to his version of “Being Alive” right now.

    RIP Dean Jones!

  4. Sheryl says:

    I remember seeing The Love Bug at the drive-in… I was 11. RIP Dean Jones

  5. maregolden says:

    My favorite Dean Jones movie was “The Ugly Dachshund”. Mostly I think because my Mom and my late sister loved it so much. I grew up with several doxies around all the time.

    • Nero tTVfiddler says:

      Thank you for your comments…I was about to mirror your sentiments – one of my favorite childhood movies – The Ugly Dachshund with Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette. I still watch that movie once in a blue moon (VHS) and still smile. Can you imagine being a little kid and watching that movie and the chaos those dogs created on film? Great stuff!! I laughed so much as a young boy watching that movie on TV.

      He also starred in Blackbeard’s Ghost (again with Suzanne Pleshette and Peter Ustinov), and in another favorite from my early childhood – Monkey’s Go Home with Yvette Mimieux. What a movie that was – chimpanzees going wild and out of control! Lots of good fun.

      He did an early ’70s series called the Chicago Teddy Bears as well as the Ensign O’Toole series a decade earlier.

      But, to see him in a action as a dramatic actor, my favorite was ‘The New Interns’, where he played a young intern/doctor alongside a who’s-who of young actors from the early 60’s, all just starting their careers – Dean Jones, Michael Callan, George Segal, Inger Stevens, Stefanie Powers, Barbara Eden, Greg Morris and Dawn Wells along with Telly Savalas. Quite a movie. One of my all-time favorites.

      RIP Dean Jones

  6. ninamags says:

    Damn. He was a staple on the Disney Channel back in the day. I love the Herbie movies.

  7. Et al. says:

    Somebody, hold me too close,
    Somebody, hurt me too deep,
    Somebody, sit in my chair
    And ruin my sleep
    And make me aware
    Of being alive.

  8. Avery says:

    He was such a part of my childhood. I also loved the interviews I heard of him talking about his faith and love for his family.

  9. Susan says:

    He was a wonderful actor! Some of my favorites were: Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Ugly Daschund, That Darn Cat, Any Wednesday.

  10. Elle says:

    Snowball Express.

  11. Mark says:

    I loved The Love Bug as a kid. And That Darn Cat. I even enjoyed his turn as the villain in Beethoven. He will definitely be missed.

  12. Whatevah says:

    When I was a little girl I wanted to be Hayley Mills and marry Dean Jones. RIP Mr. Jones.