Jones was born in Spokane, Washington. He moved to Los Angeles at a young age. Jones' interest in animation peaked when his father (a proprietor) would bring home stationery from every business he closed. Jones later cited in Chuck Amuck that his father was a large influence of making him who he was. Jones dropped out of high school and later attended Chouinard Art Institute.
When Jones was first starting out, his first cartoons were following Disney's footsteps. Chuck Jones started his career in animation in 1933 as an assistant animator for Friz Freleng. After Frank Tashlin left Warner Bros., Jones later had the opportunity to become an animation director in 1938. He accepted and his work went to new heights over the years.
Jones created his first recurring character Sniffles for Warner Bros. After he retired Sniffles, Jones moved away from the Disney style animation. "The Dover Boys" is one of the first uses of stylized animation in American film, breaking away from the more realistic animation styles influenced by the Walt Disney Studios.
During the closure of Warner Bros. animation studio, Jones got a job in Disney, where he teamed up with Ward Kimball for a four month period of uncredited work on Sleeping Beauty. Jones however disliked the experience because every aspect of his work was dictated, as opposed to the creative freedom the Warner Bros' studio granted him.
Jones' was fired from Warner Bros. after violating his contract that he couldn't work with other studios, as he worked with UPA in 1961 on Gay Purr-ee, let alone his short period with Disney. His animation unit was laid off after completing the final cartoon in their pipeline, "The Iceman Ducketh", and the rest of the Warner Bros. Cartoons studio was closed in early 1963. Jones later found work at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and worked on Tom and Jerry at his own studio Sib-Tower 12, as well as directing the 1966 holiday special How the Grinch Stole Christmas based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. Jones frequently claimed, including in the aforementioned autobiography, that this happened because Warner finally learned they weren't making Mickey Mouse cartoons.
Jones later returned to Disney briefly and worked as a consultant on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and storyboarded the piano duel sequence with Donald Duck and Daffy Duck, laying out most of Daffy's scenes, and also drawn the Singing Sword.
In 1992, when Jones went to see Disney’s Aladdin, he went on to call it 'the funniest feature ever made', marking it as his favorite film.
Jones died on February 22, 2002 at his house in Corona Del Mar, California, due to heart failure. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea, at his request. Although Jones is no longer around, many cite his works as one of the best in animation history.
Connection with Walt Disney
Jones always openly admired Walt Disney, though he disagreed with his politics. During the Disney Animators' Strike, Jones joined several other Warners' employees in support of the strikers.
In spite of this, he continued to show his respect for Disney, and wrote letters to him several times over the years, to which Disney always replied. Shortly before Disney's death, Jones visited him in the hospital to thank him. In his book Chuck Reducks, he quotes Disney telling him "You are the only animator who ever wrote to me." Even towards the end of his own life, Jones admitted "Even though we didn't know it at the time, we learned from Disney." He also stated, in his earlier book Chuck Amuck, that "Walt Disney, along with many other producers, may have had the political acumen of a squid, but to me he is the patron saint of all animators."