As an entertainer, CJ Jones has done just about everything, from performing a Tony Award winning play on National Tour, to directing Deaf kids from high school to kindergarten in their own productions. He has acted in TV, written several one-man shows that have toured the US and internationally, and gives motivational speeches to colleges and companies. CJ has performed his one-man show in Ecuador, Japan, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the US Virgin Islands, and in every state in the union. He has performed in hundreds of elementary, high schools, universities, colleges, conventions, and many events across the continent, inspiring hearing and deaf, young and old.
CJ was born in St. Louis, MO, one of seven hearing children born to deaf parents. At age 7 he was struck very ill with spinal meningitis, and consequently lost his hearing. After he became deaf, he briefly tried an oral education in a local school, then transferred to Missouri School for the Deaf, where he graduated High School. After High School, CJ attended National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. The summer after NTID, CJ joined the National Theater for the Deaf, where he toured nationally with main stage plays and Little Theater of the Deaf.
Cast as Orin in “Children of a Lesser God”, he toured USA and Canada for 2 years, and garnered a group Tony award for their performances. He has also appeared on NBC’s “Frasier,” ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights,” the PBS television shows “Sesame Street” and “Rainbow’s End,” and was the host of “Happy Hands Kids Klub.” He has even done voice over roles, voicing a Deaf Indian (played by a hearing actor) in a movie called “PathFinder” from 20th Century Fox. CJ is one of 4 Deaf performers showcased in the 2010 documentary “See What I’m Saying”, directed by Hilari Scarl. CJ also appeared “Through Deaf Eyes” on PBS, and in all 6 “Once Upon a Sign” titles. This year CJ got the role as “Joseph” in the block-buster movie called “Baby Driver”. It will be released March 2017.
During 2011, CJ was a consultant with Downtown Disney to host Deaf celebrities, performers, dancers, storytellers, and more… on March 16 – 18, 2012 at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California. He is also a consultant with a short film project called “Championship Rounds”.
For more than 35 years, CJ has shared his talents with Deaf and hearing schools, events, and universities across the country and around the world. CJ vigorously spreads the message to students and adults alike, that being different does not mean being less worthwhile.
CJ received Nevil Award 2013 at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf on graduation day when he gave his graduation speech. This award is given to an individual, hearing or deaf, who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
Through his media company, Sign World TV, CJ co-wrote, Directed, and Acted in a series of 6 classic fairytales titled “Once Upon A Sign”, Produced with Dawn Sign Press. All titles have been released direct to DVD. Once Upon A Sign is created by Deaf, for Deaf, filmed in American Sign Language.
• “Unsung Hero Award of the Year” 2008 – KCET-WAMU, Los Angeles.
• “NTID Alumni Association Outstanding Award″ 2008 – NTID/RIT, Rochester New York
• “Outstanding Service to the Deaf Community” 2011–The Spirit of Excellence
• CJ received “Nevil Award” 2013 presented by Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. He was the Graduation speaker for 2013 PSD students.
• L.A. Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles – Artistic Director – ASL Poetry – “Show of Hands “1994-97
• Deaf Culture Playwrights – “Everyday Cafe” & “Say What?” (TV Pilot Project)
• Toyota Foundation – Hands Across Communications, Inc., 1998
• Weingart Foundation – Hands Across Communications, Inc., 1999
• Sign World TV – Founder/CEO
California School for the Deaf – Fremont (2nd time)
California School for the Deaf – Riverside (2nd time)
Pennsylvania School for the Deaf – Philadelphia, PA
Missouri School for the Deaf – Fulton, Missouri
New York School for the Deaf – Fanwood, New York