James Earl Jones is an American actor best known for his portrayal as Darth Vader in the Star Wars saga. He’s also renowned for his roles in films such as ‘The Great White Hope,’ ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ and ‘Field of Dreams,’ as well as a variety of TV series. Learn more about the former host of CNN Voice James Earl Jones Wiki and Net Worth.
James Earl Jones Wiki
James Earl Jones was born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, on January 17, 1931. Jones had a terrible stammer as a kid, which he conquered throughout his high school years.
He went on to feature in a slew of popular films and stage productions and is most remembered for his role as Darth Vader in the Star Wars film trilogy. Jones who is also known for the Cnn Voice program received Tony Awards for The Great White Hope and Fences, as well as an honorary Academy Award in 2011. In addition, he is a two-time Emmy Award winner.
Early Life and Education of James Earl Jones
In the town of Arkabutla, Mississippi, James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931. As a child, his father, boxer and actor Robert Earl Jones, was mainly gone from his childhood. Jones was reared in Mississippi by his maternal grandparents from an early age before migrating to Michigan with them. His ancestors are of African, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Irish ancestry.
Jones suffered from a terrible stammer as a youngster, making him self-conscious and hesitant among other children. During his high school years, he didn’t talk until a teacher encouraged him to do so. Jones subsequently told the Hollywood Reporter, “…I had a fantastic English instructor who believed in words.” “‘It’s too excellent for you to have written, so please step up in front of the class and read it from memory,’ he urged, pointing to a poem I’d written. I performed it without stuttering as well. As a result, he exploited that as a ruse to get me to talk.”
Jones originally intended to pursue medicine at the University of Michigan, but he soon discovered acting. He served in the military during the Korean War after graduation but returned to his passion of performing once his duty was through. Jones moved to New York City to study at the American Theatre Wing, and for a short time using the stage name Todd Jones, which was inspired by a childhood nickname.
During the early stages of his career, he worked as a janitor to make ends meet and met his father, who was also involved in the theatrical arts.
Jones married Cecilia Hart in 1982 after previously marrying Julienne Marie, with whom he co-starred in Othello. They were married until Cecilia’s death in 2016. Flynn Earl Jones is the couple’s only child.
On the Camera
In the late 1950s, James Earl Jones made his Broadway debut in the drama Sunrise at Campobello. He acted in a variety of roles for theater, television, and cinema for numerous years. Jones was a founding member of the Shakespeare in the Park program, performing in one of the inaugural performances in 1962, and in 1964, he produced an outstanding performance as Othello’s title character, a role he would reprise several times.
Jones received his first Emmy Award nomination in 1963 for his role in the television program East Side/West Side.
The following year, he starred with Peter Sellers and George C. Scott as Lieutenant Lothar Zogg in Stanley Kubrick’s military comedy Dr. Strangelove. He also played doctors in two soap operas in the mid-’60s, Guiding Light and As the World Turns.
‘The Great White Hope’
Jones made his Broadway debut in 1968, playing boxer Jack Jefferson (a fictional character based on real-life fighter Jack Johnson) in the Broadway drama The Great White Hope. He won his first Tony Award for the performance.
He also appeared in the film adaptation of the play in 1970, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe.
‘Of Mice and Men,’ ‘Fences’
Jones continued to work in theater throughout the 1970s and 1980s, appearing in a number of Broadway shows. He appeared in a number of plays, including a 1974 staging of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and a 1978 two-man performance featuring Paul Robeson. Jones earned his second Tony Award in 1987 for his performance in August Wilson’s play Fences.
Darth Vader in ‘Star Wars’
Jones continued to work on the big screen, starring alongside Diahann Carroll in the 1974 drama/comedy Claudine and playing author Alex Haley in the renowned 1977 miniseries Roots and its 1979 sequel The Next Generations.
Jones began one of his most renowned cinematic roles in the late 1970s, delivering the voice of Darth Vader in George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983). (1983).
‘Coming to America,’ ‘The Hunt for Red October’
Jones was known for portraying powerful, authoritative characters on the big screen. In 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, he played the evil Thulsa Doom, and in 1988’s Coming to America, he played a king to Eddie Murphy’s prince. In the 1990s The Hunt for Red October, he played an admiral, a position he repeated in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1993). (1994).
He also supplied his authoritative voice to Mufasa in the blockbuster animated picture The Lion King that same year.
Historic Emmy Wins
Jones also had a successful career on television, earning two Emmy Awards in 1991 for his starring part in the drama Gabriel’s Fire and his supporting role in the miniseries Heat Wave. As a result, he became the first actor to win two Emmys in the drama category in the same year.
He played a former officer who was freed from jail after being convicted of murder on Gabriel’s Fire, which aired from 1990 to 1991.
In 1995, Jones returned to series television with the short-lived drama Under One Roof. He’s also appeared in guest roles on shows including Touched by an Angel, Frasier, Stargate SG-1, The Simpsons, Everwood, and The Big Bang Theory.
‘Golden Pond,’ ‘Tin Roof’ and ‘Gin’
Jones is still in demand as an actor, juggling a range of theater and movie roles. For his role on On Golden Pond, he received another Tony nomination in 2005 for Best Leading Actor in a Play.
Three years later, he starred alongside Terrence Howard, Anika Noni Rose, and Phylicia Rashad in the African-American production of Tennessee Williams’ classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Jones then played with another icon, Vanessa Redgrave, in the Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy in 2010.
The Best Man (2012), You Can’t Take It With You (2014), and The Gin Game (2015) followed, the last featuring fellow Tony winner Cicely Tyson.
‘The Best Man,’ ‘Gimme Shelter’
Jones received his fourth Tony nomination in 2012 for his performance in the revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. Around this time, he co-starred in the 2013 thriller Gimme Shelter with Vanessa Hudgens and Rosario Dawson, and in the dramatic comedy The Angriest Man in Brooklyn with Peter Dinklage and Mila Kunis.
Jones has won several awards for his services to the arts throughout the years, including a Kennedy Center Honor in 2002 and an honorary Academy Award in 2011.
Jones received the prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “for his record of continuous brilliance and exceptional flexibility,” according to the organization’s website.
Jones released Voices and Silences, a memoir of his work and early family life, in 1993.