Simon Jones was born in Wiltshire in the West of England. At Cambridge University he became friends with Douglas Adams, who persuaded him, without difficulty, a few years later, to play the role of Arthur Dent, the central character and sole survivor of Earth’s destruction, in a radio series he had written for BBC Radio: “The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.” Over the following forty years he has been Arthur in all media – except the Disney Feature , in which he had to settle for a feeble almost invisible cameo. He was also “Bridey” in Granada TV’s epic “Brideshead Revisited” and appeared as Sir Walter (“Rather a Wally”) Raleigh in “Blackadder II”.
After seasons in regional repertory theatre, in Bradford, Crewe, and Derby, he made his debut in London’s West End in 1974 in “Bloomsbury” by Peter Luke. Ten years later, following his marriage to his wife of 36 years, Nancy Lewis, the manager in America of all things Monty Python, he appeared for the first time on Broadway in “The Real Thing”, directed by Mike Nichols. Since then he has been in thirteen shows on the Great White Way, ranging from starring opposite Joan Collins in “Private Lives” to his latest, as a senile stage doorman in “Trouble in Mind” by Alice Childress which completed its run at The American Airlines Theatre on January 9th 2022.
For twelve years he was co-artistic director of the Off- Broadway TACT (The Actors Company Theatre). He is Honorary President of The Coffee House – a club founded in 1917 by Frank Crowninshield, the first publisher of Vanity Fair - and a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
His most recent film appearance was as King George V in “Downton Abbey”, and he can be seen currently as Bannister the butler in “The Gilded Age” on HBO Max.