Thursday, January 04, 2018

Happy Birthday to Athlete and 'Glee' Star Dot Jones

Dorothy-Marie "Dot" Jones was born today, January 4, in 1964. She is an actress and retired athlete. She attended California State University, Fresno, where she set records for shot put. Jones is also a 15-time world arm wrestling champion. She was a recurring guest star starting in the second season of the musical television series Glee as Coach Beiste. 

Jones was raised in Hilmar, California. She first got involved in strength competitions at a fairly young age. She started track in middle school. While Jones attended Hilmar High School, she was a champion weight lifter and named female athlete of the year. She started arm wrestling on a whim, and won her first arm wrestling world championship at 19 years old and went on to win 14 more.

After graduating from Hilmar High School, Jones attended Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, where she continued her involvement with sports. She earned a scholarship in track which paid her way through junior college and university. Jones played softball and competed in shot put and powerlifting. She won All-America honors in shot put both at junior college and university, was state champion in 1983 and 1984 and set the national record at the junior college level from 1983 to 1990. 

Jones qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1988 for shot put with a 56 ft 6 1⁄4 in (17.23 m) throw, surpassing the qualifying mark of 55 ft (17 m). She finished sixth. During her sporting career, she suffered 11 knee injuries, bringing her height of 6 ft 4 in down to 6 ft 3 in. After college, Jones worked as a youth counselor at the Fresno County Juvenile Probation center while continuing her involvement with sports.

Jones, who originally had no acting aspirations, was discovered at a bodybuilding competition by Shirley Eson of American Gladiators fame. Eson urged Jones to audition for the Gladiators-like Knights and Warriors, and Jones got the part, becoming one of the few female warriors. Jones was also offered a position in professional wrestling, but turned it down because, she said it was "too fakey."

Knights and Warriors only lasted one season, but Jones' acting career was just starting. She became a bit actor, playing small roles in several television series throughout the 1990s and 2000s and breaking into feature films in the late 1990s, including the cult film The Boondock Saints. While acting, Jones kept up her involvement with arm wrestling. In 1995, her biceps measured 17 1⁄2 in.

Jones' first recurring role after Knights was as a character named "Dot" on the popular show Married... with Children in the mid-90s. She appeared in five episodes over two seasons. Jones' next break was on the kids show Lizzie McGuire as Coach Kelly. Since then, she has appeared in popular shows Nip/Tuck, Desperate Housewives, and Prison Break.

Jones, being a fan of Glee and having worked with series co-creator Ryan Murphy on Nip/Tuck and Pretty/Handsome, asked co-executive producer Brad Falchuk during an encounter at a supermarket if she could be on the show. Soon after, the character of Coach Shannon Beiste (later Sheldon) in Glee was created for her. She guest starred in seasons two, three, four, and five, and was a main cast member for the sixth and the final season. 
She was nominated for the an Emmy Award three times for the show.

Jones married Bridgett Casteen on December 21, 2013.The two first met in December 2010 and Jones proposed on October 4, 2013, during Anaheim Gay Days.

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