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Where Are They Now? : Jon Van Ness

I was going to do this Where Are They Now entry about Barbi Benton, but after reading her comments about how animals deserve to die so they can be made into fur coats – I’m going to pass. Instead, I’m going to focus on Jon Van Ness, especially considering he has a bigger resume in horror and science fiction. Jon was born in December 1957 in Summitville, Indiana and eventually began studying acting at the Christian Theological Seminary Reportory Theater in Butler. At the age of 20, he booked his first credited gig, which so happens to be a horror-scifi film titled End of the World (1977). Most of his career in the 70’s was spent on television, as seen in episodes of “Baretta,” “CHIPS” and “The Runaways,” but he did return to our favorite genre by the end of the decade while playing the male lead, Jerry, in Tourist Trap (1979). In 1981, he co-starred as Jack in X-Ray (also known as Hospital Massacre). A Valentine’s Day themed slasher flick, Jack is beheaded and his skull is delivered as a present in a box.

Jon Van Ness was also featured in Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land (1983) before booking a number of small roles in Oscar Nominated pictures including Brubaker (1980), The Natural (1984) and The Bostonians (1984). His career was further bolstered with more television appearances including “Cagney and Lacey,” “Days of our Lives” and “Hart to Hart.” Capping off the 80’s on a good note, Jon held a small role in cult classic The Hitcher (1986) as a state trooper. The 90’s was much of the same, with the actor being featured in creature-feature Alligator 2: The Mutation (1991) and guest spots on television in shows like “Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction,” “Lois & Clark” and “Reasonable Doubts.” Then, for reasons I haven’t been able to discover, Mr. Ness started taking a break from the entertainment industry.

So, where is Jon Van Ness now?

He’s still acting, although it is every so often. In the early 2000’s, he appeared in episodes of “Supernatural” and “West Wing.” In 2012, he returned to the horror genre after 21 years with a small part in Visible Scars. And he filmed a scifi film that was released last year titled Q-4: Dream Corporation. He did extensive promotion for Dream Corporation, giving fans a good look at his appearance and life so many years after his career began. He also wrote and starred in a short drama titled Actor on the Brink. Only coming in at age 61, I don’t think it’ll be long before Jon pops up in something new again. We’ll be waiting!

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)