Local College Grad Makes Good: Duncan ‘Zowie Bowie’ Jones

July 1, 2012

Last week I’m in a retail store and on the way out I run into an old acquaintance of mine that I hadn’t seen in a number of years. We get to talking about the old days, the music we were into, the concerts we attended, all that. For some reason the College of Wooster came up (a college about 6 miles from where I live), we may have been talking about some of the concerts that were held there, but he laughed and said a long time ago he heard a rumor that David Bowie’s son, known as Zowie Bowie back in the day, had attended and graduated from the College of Wooster.
He was slightly taken aback when I confirmed that, yes, Duncan ‘Zowie Bowie’ Jones had indeed attended and graduated from the College of Wooster. He seemed dumbfounded that the son of an international superstar would attend college in a small, quaint, rural community in Ohio. C’mon, you even see, on occasions, an Amish buggy slowly meandering down a street.

Well, he did, as I explained, and it wasn’t really a secret and that word was most everyone treated him as just another student. He still wasn’t convinced until I told him my brother was a supervisor at the College of Wooster during Jones’ time there and in fact, commented at the time how cool it was that David Bowie and his wife, Iman, had attended graduation ceremonies. And yes, it made the local papers.
Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones was born on May 30, 1971, and at the time David Bowie and then-wife & mother Angie dubbed the young boy Zowie Bowie. On Bowie’s Hunky Dory album the song, Kooks, was written for his then newborn son. After the couple divorced in 1980 David Bowie was awarded custody and raised his son. (In 1992 Bowie married model Iman and they subsequently had a daughter born on August 15, 2000 named Alexandria Zahra Jones.)

 Entering the College of Wooster, he then decided on using Duncan Jones as his personal and professional name. He graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and then pursued a PhD degree at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee but departed to attend the London Film School, where he graduated as a director.
Why the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH? Jones once told an interviewer it was because of it was “Comfortable, multicultural and multinational.”

In this Daily Record staff photo proud father David Bowie is shown taking photos of his son’s graduation at the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH in 1995.

Jones appreciated his time at the College of Wooster, a private liberal arts college that has a renowned Independent Study program. Jones once told a College of Wooster publication:
“Wooster hit me at just the right time in my life. I was just starting to get excited about what I could do with my life. I took creative writing and art classes, and tried to spread out as much as possible. One of the wonderful things about Wooster was it gave us all a sense of empowerment. We wanted to make a difference and do things that people would notice.”

Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones

Since graduating he has went on to become a highly successful film director and has garnered respect and attention with the science fiction films Moon, in 2009 and Source Code in 2011, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal.
For a while Jones was one of the leading candidates to direct the upcoming Superman reboot film and the next X-Men film. He turned down the director’s role for the upcoming Judge Dredd film instead writing the script for his third, still untitled film.

Son & father

During the past couple weeks Jones has made another big step, becoming engaged to photographer Rodene Ronquillo, his long-time girlfriend. Ronquillo, after the engagement became public, joked on Twitter, “Even if he is just after a green card, he’s all mine now.”
Whatever the future holds, we haven’t heard the last of Duncan Zowie ‘Bowie’ Haywood Jones.

Duncan Jones & fiancee Rodene Ronquillo

(c)2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!

One comment

  1. Nice Doc. I remember when David Bowie was in Wooster.

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