Former Instructor Bill Jones Retires from San Francisco Opera

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- But Sunday’s matinee, in addition to being the last performance of the season, also marked the end of Jones’ 45-year tenure with the company. Just shy of his 82nd birthday, Jones — known to all on both sides of the curtain as Bill — is hanging up his brushes and powders and heading off into a well-earned retirement.

Jones’ legacy has spread beyond the confines of the War Memorial. For decades, he taught at San Francisco State University, where he nurtured several generations of students — many of whom have gone on to work alongside him at the Opera. He spent 18 years as art director of KQED-TV, which he credits with helping him to see in grayscale — a helpful ability when crafting theatrical makeup. He designed shows for the Lamplighters, and created many of the more outlandish costumes during the heyday of “Beach Blanket Babylon,” often on lightning-fast turnaround.