About Dot-Marie Jones
Dorothy-Marie Jones was born on Jan. 4, 1964 in Turlock, an agricultural town located in central California. She was introduced to the sporting world at a young age, competing in track during middle school before shifting into competitive weightlifting as a student at Hilmar High School in Hilmar, CA. Jones, who was voted female athlete of the year at her high school, began competing in arm wrestling, where she won her first championship at 19. She continued her athletic career well into her college years, attending Fresno State University on a track scholarship and competing in softball, shot put, and power lifting. Jones qualified for the 1988 Olympic trials in shot put, finishing sixth overall, but her sports career also came at a price. She suffered multiple body injuries and underwent a surgical procedure on her left knee that knocked her height down an inch. Jones spent her post-college years working as a youth counselor at the Fresno County Juvenile Probation Center while professionally competing in arm wrestling and winning multiple world titles.
With no intention of ever pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, a woman named Shirley Eson discovered Jones at a bodybuilding tournament. Eson, who went by the nickname "Sky" on the competitive game show "American Gladiators" (syndicated, 1989-1997), encouraged the stocky-framed and deep-voiced Jones to audition for a Medieval-themed game show titled "Knights and Warriors." Jones made her television debut on the short-lived series playing the female warrior "Lady Battleaxe." After the syndicated "Knights and Warriors" ended after only one season, Jones took on minor roles - often playing an athlete, bully or prison guard - on various television shows, including a recurring appearance on the hit family sitcom "Married with Children" (Fox, 1987-1997). She made her mainstream feature debut in 1998 opposite Robin Williams in the medical comedy "Patch Adams." Her athletic background helped Jones land her second recurring television role, playing a junior high school gym teacher on the highly successful Disney Channel series, "Lizzie McGuire" (2001-04).
Jones first worked with filmmaker and producer Ryan Murphy on his provocative medical drama series "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 2003-2010) The former arm wrestling champion appeared on several episodes - first as a studio grip who worked on the fictional show-within-the-show "Hearts n' Scalpels," and as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Roma Maffia's character, an anesthesiologist at a plastic surgery facility. Murphy went on to cast Jones in a supporting role on the 2008 unaired pilot "Pretty/Handsome," about a married father of two (Joseph Fiennes) who tells his family that he is transsexual. Even though "Pretty/Handsome" failed to make it on air, Murphy's next project "Glee" proved to be ratings gold. The series followed a rag-tag group of high school students involved in show choir. "Glee" launched the careers of several talented newcomers, including Lea Michele and Cory Monteith, and turned comic actress Jane Lynch into a superstar. Around the time "Glee" was taking off, Jones appeared on several critically acclaimed series, including "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004- ) and "Hawthorne" (TNT, 2009- ), yet a breakout role still eluded her career. Coincidentally, she ran into the show's co-producer Brad Falchuk - whom she worked with on "Nip/Tuck" and "Pretty Handsome" - at a Whole Foods market and asked him, point blank, for a job. The next thing she knew, Jones received a call from Murphy talking about a new character he had in mind for her. That role eventually turned into Shannon Beiste, a high school football coach with a big build and an even bigger heart. Jones, as Coach Beiste, joined the cast of "Glee" during its second season and instantly won over the show's most loyal fans and critics alike. In fact, the role eared her Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2011 and 2012.