Allan Jones was born Theodore Allen Jones in Old Forge, Pennsylvania. A coal miner's son, he worked in the mines until 1926. At that point in time, he received a scholarship from Syracuse University, but chose instead to study music at New York University with Claude Warford and then with Felix Leroux in Paris and Sir Henry Wood in London.
Classically trained in opera, the handsome Jones worked on Broadway and in operettas until 1935. At that point, Jones was signed by MGM Grand. He is best remembered for his roles in the two Marx Brothers movies A Night at the Opera (1935) and A Day at the Races (1937), and for his costarring role in Show Boat (1936). The movie The Firefly (1937) produced the song "Donkey Serenade", which became Jones's signature song. Jones was relegated to minor roles at MGM after this. He moved to Universal Studios in 1940, and he starred or appeared in several B musicals there and at Paramount.
During the war years, Jones was one of the first entertainers to volunteer to sing for the troops overseas. In 1945, Jones left Hollywood and toured Great Britain for two years. He returned to the stage and toured with several off-Broadway musicals. Over the next twenty years, he worked the nightclub circuit, appeared in summer-stock and off-Broadway productions, and recorded extensively, including several short "songfests", meant to be fillers in the early days of TV.
In the mid 1960s the busy Jones managed to fit a few appearances on television and in movies into his busy theater, nightclub, and recording career. In 1971, he took on the role of Don Quixote in "Man of La Mancha", a role he would perform off and on for the next eight years. He also was very successful on the lecture circuit.
In 1982, the 75-year-old Jones cut yet another LP, his voice belying his age: as clear and vibrant as singers a third his age.
Jones continued to work for the remainder of his life, finishing a successful tour of Australia a few weeks before his death, at 84, in 1992.