You may not recognize his face on first (or even second) glance, but chances are if you're a fan of film and television you're already more familiar with Doug Jones than you realize. A master of disguise who could be equated to a modern-day Boris Karloff, Jones can frequently be spotted under some of the most elaborate special-effects makeup ever to appear on camera and has an uncanny ability to instill his characters with a soulful sense of personality that simply isn't achievable through computer-generated animation.
Jones was born in Indianapolis, IN, the youngest of four brothers and raised on the city's northeast side. Upon graduating from Bishop Chatard High School, Jones enrolled in Ball State University to study telecommunications and theater. It was there that Jones first took to miming, and his skill as a contortionist soon lead to frequent commercial work (one of his earliest successes was being cast as the popular "Mac Tonight" character in a prominent, mid-'80s McDonald's advertising campaign). While a stint in the Indiana theater circuit helped Jones to get comfortable performing in front of an audience, it wasn't until moving to Los Angeles in 1985 that he would become a regular fixture in the worlds of film and television.
Early film roles for Jones included bit parts in Batman Returns, Hocus Pocus, and Tank Girl, with a small role in emerging Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's sophomore effort, Mimic (1997), serving to launch an enduring and fruitful partnership. An appearance by Jones as one of the terrifying "Gentlemen" in an Emmy-nominated Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode entitled "Hush" proved a highlight of the entire series. In the following year, Jones would appear in such prolific box-office blockbusters as Men in Black II and The Time Machine -- his visage frequently hidden under copious amounts of prosthetic special-effects makeup. While it was Jones' remarkable ability to project emotion through layer upon layer of monster makeup that enabled him to create unusual characters whom the audience could connect with, his talents as a contortionist also allowed him to instill those characters with a strangely fluid sense of movement that made them entirely believable.
While Jones' collaboration with del Toro momentarily lapsed with such efforts as The Devil's Backbone and Blade II, the release of Hellboy in 2004 found the partnership between the pair growing stronger than ever. Cast in the part of aquatic fish-man Abe Sapien, Jones proved so effective that actor David Hyde Pierce refused to take credit for voicing the role. Two short years later, Jones essayed the roles of both the titular character and the horrifying Pale Man in del Toro's Oscar-winning fantasy film Pan's Labyrinth.
Additional roles for Jones have included various imps in the movie Doom and Cesare in the 2005 "remake" The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. In 2006 and 2007, the increasingly prolific actor reprised his role as Abe Sapien in a pair of animated Hellboy tales before portraying the titular otherworldly visitor in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and preparing to bring Sapien back to the big screen in Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.