Christopher Jones, an actor who seemed poised for stardom before abruptly abandoning his movie career in the late 1960s, died on Jan. 31 in Los Alamitos, Calif. He was 72.
The cause was gallbladder cancer, said Paula McKenna, his longtime companion.
Jones made only a few films, but his talent and star power drew comparisons with James Dean, whose brief career his own mimicked in some ways. Like Dean, Jones studied at the Actors Studio, worked on Broadway and in television and projected an aura of wild yearning and raw energy, which he showed in films such as “Wild in the Streets” (1968) and “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970).
No one seemed to know why Jones dropped out of the movie-star business. Speculation ranged across several possible explanations: a troubled personal history, a rebel’s rejection of the strict regimen of filmmaking, his shock when a loved one was murdered because of her fame.