Mickey Jones, the American character actor and musician best known to Irish audiences for his roles in V and Home Improvement, and his drumming on Kenny Rogers' Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, has died in the US at the age of 76.

The Texan's publicist told US entertainment publication Variety that Jones passed away at his home from the "effects of a long illness".

Houston-born Jones started his showbiz career as a drummer, playing with Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.

He was also behind the kit for Bob Dylan's legendary 1966 show at the Manchester Free Trade Hall when the singer-songwriter was called "Judas" by an audience member for switching to electric guitar. 

Jones' Hollywood career began in 1971 and his television credits included such TV favourites as The Rockford Files, Charlie's Angels, The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team.

In the 1980s sci-fi series V he played the mercenary Chris Farber opposite Michael Ironside, while in Home Improvement he played Pete Bilker.

In recent years Jones appeared in such shows as Justified, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Bones and Entourage.

On the big screen his credits included Total Recall, National Lampoon's Vacation, Starman, Tin Cup and Sling Blade

Jones published his autobiography That Would Be Me - a play on his character Pete's catchphrase in Home Improvement - in 2007.

As Pete Bilker in Home Improvement