Well known as a premiere theater actress and an advocate for gay rights, Cherry Jones has also appeared in a number of high-profile films. Born and raised in Tennessee, Jones headed north to study drama at Carnegie Mellon University. A founding member of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, Jones spent the early years of her professional career performing in a wide range of plays. After she relocated to New York, Jones acted in numerous Broadway productions, including Angels in America, The Night of the Iguana, Our Country's Good, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. Her performance as the lonely heroine in the 1995 production of The Heiress earned Jones several awards, including the Tony.
Even as she became a theater star, Jones added TV and films to her repertoire in the 1980s, with supporting roles in the TV docudrama Alex: The Life of a Child (1986) and Paul Schrader's Light of Day (1987). Though drama was her primary forte, Jones also appeared in the hit comedies Housesitter (1992) and A League of Their Own (1992). After several years of stage work, Jones returned to films in the independent black comedy Julian Po (1997), and Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer (1998). Jones brought an air of forceful integrity to her roles as the embattled head of the Federal Theater Project in Tim Robbins' 1930s tapestry Cradle Will Rock (1999) and as one of the chemical contamination victims in Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich (2000).