Director Duncan Jones, the only son of David Bowie from his first marriage to Angela Barnett, confirmed that his father died at age 69 earlier today.
It is never easy to lose a parent, and certainly, Duncan Jones has been through his fair share of loss, given his parents divorced in 1980 when the director would have just been 9-years-old. However, Duncan Jones is opting to pull back from social media following the death of his father from cancer, according to E! Online.
Duncan Jones is also gearing up for the debut of his movie Warcraft, due out in March. Based on the ultra-popular video game World of Warcraft, this is perhaps the movie that fans of the video game have been keeping a close eye on for some time.
However, Duncan Jones is now under media scrutiny for his connection to his world-famous and much-beloved father, who reinvented himself constantly over a career that spanned decades. From Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, his father gave audiences several different versions of himself, with a new one having bowed as late as January 8, which was the singer’s 69th birthday. Blackstar premiered to strong reviews and will doubtless still sell in the millions, thanks to the Bowie name.
In tweeting news of his father’s death from cancer, Duncan Jones shared a sweet image of the two of them from his childhood. It’s clear that this was a happy memory from a memorable childhood.
“I could hear the noise up front but I’d spend most of my time hanging out with the roadies and playing with them,” Duncan Jones said of his childhood during his 2011 interview with Daily Mail. “You know those big crash cases that they put the equipment in? Big, thick metal boxes with foam padding – well, I’d stand inside one of them and get the roadies to push me around like I was in a go-kart.”
Duncan Jones, who has always used his father’s real surname rather than the name “Bowie,” never felt the need to cash in on his father’s celebrity. He said during his Daily Mail interview that it was his experiences being photographed during his childhood that impacted his distaste of being photographed. He said it was his wife, Rodene Ronquillo, who desensitized him to being photographed; she is a photographer.
Not only did Duncan Jones lose his father to cancer, so did his young half-sister, Alexandria Zahra Jones, Bowie’s daughter with supermodel Iman. Just 15, she has led a relatively quiet life as David Bowie’s daughter, but now, she is doubtless feeling the effects of her father’s celebrity as the entertainment world mourns his death.
Duncan Jones said it was when his father was acting that he felt the bond between father and son really strengthened.
“That was like going to Disneyland,” he told Daily Mail. “I’d see the amazing sets being built, how the make-up worked. In The Hunger (the vampire classic co-starring Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve), Dad had to age at one point to become an old man and I remember him scaring the **** out of me.”
NBC News reported that Bowie’s new album, Blackstar, features a track called “Lazarus.” The lyrics seem particularly eerie now that news of the musician’s death has broken.
“Look up here, I’m in heaven / I’ve got scars that can’t be seen / I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen / Everybody knows me now.”
That said, Duncan Jones also has some cause for celebration in spite of the grief he feels with his father’s passing. His new film, Warcraft, is set to bow in March 2016, and interestingly, the director credits his father with having introduced him to the world of filmmaking.
“He taught me, in a lovely way, the basics of making a movie, like how to do storyboards, write a script, do the lighting,” Duncan Jones said of his father’s instruction. “He also taught me how to use a splicer – cutting the film and sticking it back together in the projector. I had this big blue box that was full of my storyboards and scripts. I’d make these little sets and I’d set up backstage with my Star Wars and Smurfs toys. While Dad would go on stage I’d be making my little movies.”
Most of all, though, Duncan Jones has high praise for David Bowie, the father.
“He’s just a wonderful guy and father and I think he understands that I’m a creative person in my own right,” Duncan Jones said of his father. “He gave me the time and the support to find my feet and the confidence to do what I do.”
[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]