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James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones
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Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Birth Name: James Earl Jones

Nickname/Stage Name: James Earl Jones

Birth Date: January 17, 1931

Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi, 

Occupation: Actor

Years Active: 1953 till Present

Net Worth: $40 million

 

Personal Life

James Earl Jones was born in Mississippi. His mother was a teacher and maid, while his father was a butler, boxer, and chauffeur.

Jones had a military career and served in the Korean War. 

He married actress and singer Julienne Marie in 1968. They had no children until they divorced in 1972. Jones married actress Cecelia Hart in 1982, with whom he has one son, Flynn Earl Jones (born 1982). Hart died of ovarian cancer in 2016.

Education

He got his education at the Browning School for Boys, graduating as vice president of his class from Dickson Rural Agricultural School (now Brethren High School), Michigan. 

Jones attended the University of Michigan where he was initially a pre-med major. He subsequently became a part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps where he excelled. 

He focused on drama at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. He graduated after four years of college from the university in 1955.

Career

Jones started acting at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, Michigan, serving as a stage carpenter in 1953. He was an actor and stage manager from 1955 to 1957. He performed his first portrayal of Shakespeare's Othello in the theater in 1955.

He made an appearance in the ABC radio anthology series Theatre-Five (1964 to 1965) and made his film debut in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

The actor starred opposite Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Alec Guinness in The Comedians (1967). In 1977, he got his iconic voiceover role as Darth Vader in the sci-fi blockbuster Star Wars: A New Hope. He reprised the role for the sequels.

Jones also appeared in other box office hits such as Conan the Barbarian (1982) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America (1988), and the sports fantasy Field of Dreams (1989).

In the 1990s, he featured in several more successful films, including The Hunt for Rad October (1990), Patriot Games (1992), and Cry, the Beloved Country (1995). He provided the voice of Mufasa in the Disney animated film The Lion King (1994).

During the 2000s, Jones made appearances in various TV shows such as CBS's Two and a Half Men, WB's Everwood, Fox's House, M.D.

In 2019, he reprised the voiceover role of Mufasa in the CGI remake of The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau and alongside most of the main cast, returned in Coming 2 America, the 2021 sequel of the 1988 hit comedy.

Awards

Tony Award (1969, 1987)

Golden Globe Award (1970)

Grammy Award (1977)

Primetime Emmy Award (1991)

Screen Actors Guild Award (2009)

Academy Award (2011)

Special Tony Award (2017)

Quotes

[On suffering a terrible stutter as a young man] "One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter."

"The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent, law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise, they will win and the decent people will lose."

"I have to look for film or TV work. If the great roles aren't around - and they usually aren't - then I try to pick projects which will at least take me to interesting locations."

Trivia

Took acting lessons to control his stutter.

His is the commanding voice that says, "This is CNN."

He is known for his humility.

Served in the United States Army as a Lieutenant in the Korean War.

Movies

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

The Comedians (1967)

The Great White Hope (1970)

Malcolm X (1972)

The River Niger (1976)

The Greatest (1977)

A Piece of the Action (1977)

The Flight of Dragons (1982)

Soul Man (1986)

Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)

Best of the Best (1989)

The Ambulance (1990)

The Meteor Man (1993)

Judge Dredd (1995)

Gang Related (1997)

Robots (2005)

Scary Movie 4 (2006)

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014)

Rogue One (2016)

The Lion King (2019)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Coming 2 America (2021)

 

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