Davy Jones was the lead singer and designated "cute one" of the 1960s pop band The Monkees
. Davy Jones was born in England just after the end of World War II, and by the time he was 11 he'd already made his first appearance on the TV soap opera Coronation Street
. He moved from there to live theater, taking over the role of The Artful Dodger in 1962 during the original London run of the hit play Oliver!
, and then playing the role in the play's original Broadway cast in 1963. But Jones is overwhelmingly remembered for his time with The Monkees, a made-for-TV band formed in 1965 and loosely modeled on The Beatles. (The Monkees also included Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, and Micky Dolenz; Jones was typically out front, singing and playing the tambourine.) The TV show The Monkees
debuted in 1966, mixing music with absurdist humor. The show had a short but wildly popular run of two years, making the dark-haired Davy Jones a heartthrob favorite of American teen girls. At first a goofy group with little musical talent, The Monkees matured into a solid band with hit singles including "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "I'm a Believer" and "Last Train to Clarksville." The group also appeared in the psychedelic 1968 film Head
, co-written by Jack Nicholson
. The Monkees broke up in 1970, but reunited for tours over the next four decades. Davy Jones also toured briefly with his own band, Toast, and remained a minor pop culture figure until his sudden death in 2012.