If you grew up in the nineties, there is no doubt that you would recognize Walter Jones as the original Black Ranger in the wildly popular original Power Rangers series. Although Jones was written out of the series during the second season–rumor has it, due to disagreements over his salary–he is still wildly remembered for his role by many people who grew up loving the original series.
But where is Walter Jones today? It may be surprising, especially for those who know nothing of his work outside of his role as the original Black Ranger, but Jones continued his acting career throughout the 90s and 00s. He even did work for several other Power Rangers series and shows, despite the rumors of his early disagreements with the original Power Rangers producers over his wages and fees. In 1999 and 2002, he made a special appearance in the Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy and Power Rangers: Wild Force series respectively, doing voice overs for several monsters and villains. A far cry from his earlier days playing a Power Ranger who would fight them! He even re-united with his former co-stars, Amy Jo Johnson (original Pink Ranger) and Austin St. John (original red Ranger) for the special I Love the 90’s and a special airing of the original pilot episode of the Power Rangers series.
In addition to his work on several Power Rangers series, Jones landed major and minor roles in several different productions. He appeared in the independent film The Dogwalker and in Backyard Dogs; gave a special appearance in a season 4 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; appeared in the Disney Channel film Brink; had a main role in the Nickelodeon series Space Cases; guest starred in both Family Matters and the Shield; and he even gave a cameo appearance in the film Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Recently, he appeared as a salsa dance instructor–a nod to his love of dancing–on Age of Love and in the Disney XD series, Pair of Kings.
In his personal life, Jones has embraced his love of dancing–particularly salsa and Capoeira. He currently holds a Mestre level in Capoeira and occasionally holds salsa dancing classes. Jones sometimes gives guest appearances at conventions to celebrate his role as the original Black Power Ranger and, unlike some stars of the 90s, embraces the special place that he has in the hearts of people around the world.
Walter graciously sat down with The Levity Ball to tell us more.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Black Panther. I love the mystery of this graceful and powerful animal. He’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.
What were your dreams as a child and how did they influence you to go into acting/cinema?
My dream as a child was to be a comedic actor in a series similar to Michael J. Fox in Family Ties. A girl I had a crush on use to say I reminded her of him.
What interests do you have in common with Zack from the TV series, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?”
Zack and I are both protective of the underdog. We don’t like seeing people bullied.
What was the highlight of your acting career and why?
I worked on the Shield with Michael Chiklis. He and the show won a Golden globe and an Emmy during the seasons I worked on the show. The day after the Golden Globes Michael shared his experience of winning with me as we got make up and hair done for our scenes. I did some great work on that show. I was also recurring on a comedy called Off Center at the time.
What’s on your DVR other than the programs you’ve featured in?
UFC Fighting, Game of Thrones, House of Lies, Beverly Hill Husbands, and the Daily Show to name a few.
Zack comes across as an energetic, fun-loving and confident ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. On a personal level, in retrospect, are there aspects of Zack that you aren’t proud of?
Zack’s fear of bugs was the only fault I really had with him.
What is your favorite dance style?
Salsa… I’m a World Champion!
What’s your definition of happiness?
Being grateful and appreciative for every moment!
What advice would you have to anyone interested in starting a career in acting?
Get in it because you love it! Not because you want wealth and fame!
What kind of music do you listen to?
I appreciate all kinds of music. I listen to Hip Hop and R & B the most.
What would be the first thing you would do if today were your last day?
Gather all the people I love and have a final adventure together. Cliff Jumping or Go Cart Racing…something to remember me by! Experiences are the one wealth that is forever yours.
What does the future hold for Walter Jones?
Directing, Producing, and Creating.
How are you celebrating the release of the 20th anniversary DVD collection of Power Rangers?
I don’t know yet… Who’s throwing the party!!!!!