James Earl Jones

Birthday:

01/17/1931

Place of birth:

Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA:

Biography:

James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is a multi-award-winning American actor of theater and film, well known for his distinctive bass voice and for his portrayal of characters of substance, gravitas and leadership. He is known for providing the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise and the tagline for CNN. James Earl Jones was born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, the son of Ruth (née Connolly) and Robert Earl Jones. At the age of five, he moved to Jackson, Michigan, to be raised by his maternal grandparents, but the adoption was traumatic and he developed a stutter so severe he refused to speak aloud. When he moved to Brethren, Michigan in later years a teacher at the Brethren schools started to help him with his stutter. He remained functionally mute for eight years until he reached high school. He credits his high school teacher, Donald Crouch, who discovered he had a gift for writing poetry, with helping him out of his silence. Jones attended the University of Michigan where he was a pre-med major. While there, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps, and excelled. During the course of his studies, Jones discovered he was not cut out to be a doctor. Instead he focused himself on drama, with the thought of doing something he enjoyed, before, he assumed, he would have to go off to fight in the Korean War. After four years of college, Jones left without his degree. In 1953 he found a part-time stage crew job at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, Michigan, which marked the beginning of his acting career. During the 1955–1957 seasons he was an actor and stage manager. He performed his first portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello in this theater in 1955. After his discharge from the Military, Jones moved to New York, where he attended the American Theatre Wing to further his training and worked as a janitor to earn a living. His first film role was as a young and trim Lt. Lothar Zogg, the B-52 bombardier in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in 1964. His first big role came with his portrayal of boxer Jack Jefferson in the film version of the Broadway play The Great White Hope, which was based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson. For his role, Jones was nominated Best Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making him the second African-American male performer (following Sidney Poitier) to receive a nomination. In 1969, Jones participated in making test films for a proposed children's television series; these shorts, combined with animated segments were the beginnings of the Sesame Street format. The next year, in the early 1970s, James appeared with Diahann Carroll in the film called Claudine. While he has appeared in many roles, he is well known as the voice of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Darth Vader was portrayed in costume by David Prowse in the original trilogy, with Jones dubbing Vader's dialogue in postproduction due to Prowse's strong West Country accent being unsuitable for the role. At his own request, he was originally uncredited for the release of the first two films (he would later be credited for the two in the 1997 re-release).  His other voice roles include Mufasa in the 1994 film Disney animated blockbuster The Lion King, and its direct-to-video sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. He also has done the CNN tagline, "This is CNN", as well as "This is CNN International", and the Bell Atlantic tagline, "Bell Atlantic: The heart of communication". When Bell Atlantic became Verizon, Jones used the tagline greeting of "Welcome to Verizon" or "Verizon 411" right before a phone call would go through. The opening for NBC's coverage of the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics; "the Big PI in the Sky" (God) in the computer game Under a Killing Moon; a Claymation film about The Creation; and several guest spots on The Simpsons. In addition to his film and voice over work, Jones is an accomplished stage actor as well; he has won Tony awards in 1969 for The Great White Hope and in 1987 for Fences. Othello, King Lear, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Abhorson in Measure for Measure, and Claudius in Hamlet are Shakespearean roles he has played. He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2002. Jones has been married to actress Cecilia Hart since 1982. They have one child, Flynn Earl Jones. He was previously married to American actress/singer Julienne Marie (born March 21, 1933, Toledo, Ohio); they had no children. Jones is a registered Republican.


Film Credits

The Lion King (2019)
as Mufasa
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
as Darth Vader (voice)
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar (2015)
as Mufasa (voice)
Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal (2015)
as Darth Vader (voice)
August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand (2015)
as
Driving Miss Daisy (2014)
as Hoke Colburn
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014)
as Ruben
Gimme Shelter (2013)
as Frank McCarthy
Muse of Fire (2013)
as Himself
Blackfish (2013)
as Himself (archive footage)
Milius (2013)
as Himself
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey (2012)
as Admiral (voice)
Jack and the Beanstalk (2009)
as The Giant (voice)
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)
as Papa Jenkins
Earth (2007)
as Narrator
Vader Sessions (2006)
as Darth Vader
The Reading Room (2005)
as
The Story of Star Wars (2005)
as Darth Vader
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)
as Darth Vader (voice)
The Sandlot 2 (2005)
as Mr. Mertle
Robots (2005)
as Voice Box at Hardware Store (voice)
By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X (2005)
as Narrator
Nine Dog Christmas (2004)
as Narrator
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (2004)
as Himself
Black Indians: An American Story (2004)
as Narrator
The Great Year (2003)
as Narrator
Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World (2001)
as
Feast of All Saints (2001)
as Older Marcel
American Legends (2001)
as Narrator
Finder's Fee (2001)
as Avery Phillips
Summer's End (2000)
as Dr. William 'Bill' Blakely
Conan Unchained: The Making of 'Conan' (2000)
as Himself
Fantasia 2000 (1999)
as Host
Santa and Pete (1999)
as James Earl Jones
Undercover Angel (1999)
as The Judge
Our Friend, Martin (1999)
as Daddy King (voice)
The Annihilation of Fish (1999)
as Fish
The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride (1998)
as Mufasa (voice)
Merlin (1998)
as Mountain King
Alone (1997)
as Grey
What the Deaf Man Heard (1997)
as Archibald Thacker
Gang Related (1997)
as Arthur Baylor
The Second Civil War (1997)
as Jim Kalla
Afro Promo (1997)
as Himself (archive footage)
Timepiece (1996)
as Lawrence
Looking For Richard (1996)
as Himself/Interview
A Family Thing (1996)
as Ray Murdock
Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault (1996)
as Dr. McDuffie
Cry, the Beloved Country (1995)
as Rev. Stephen Kumalo
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies (1995)
as
The Making of 'Jurassic Park' (1995)
as Host
Jefferson in Paris (1995)
as Madison Hemings
Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable (1995)
as Mufasa (voice)
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
as Admiral James Greer
The Lion King (1994)
as King Mufasa
Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics (1994)
as Host
Clean Slate (1994)
as John Dolby
Africa: The Serengeti (1994)
as Narrator
The Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)
as Himself
The Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)
as James Earl Jones
Confessions: Two Face of Evil (1994)
as Charles Lloyd
The Vernon Johns Story (1994)
as
Michael Jackson - Dangerous - The Short Films (1993)
as Himself (Superbowl Heal The World) Voice
The Meteor Man (1993)
as Earnest Moses
Excessive Force (1993)
as Jake
The Sandlot (1993)
as Mr. Mertle
Sommersby (1993)
as Judge Barry Conrad Issacs
Lincoln (1992)
as
Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama (1992)
as Narrator (English)
Sneakers (1992)
as NSA Agent Bernard Abbott
Patriot Games (1992)
as Adm. James Greer
True Identity (1991)
as Himself
Scorchers (1991)
as Bear
Convicts (1991)
as Ben Johnson
Grim Prairie Tales (1990)
as Morrison
Ivory Hunters (1990)
as Inspector Nkuru
Heat Wave (1990)
as Junius Johnson
Last Flight Out (1990)
as Al Topping
By Dawn's Early Light (1990)
as Looking Glass General - 'Alice'
The Ambulance (1990)
as Lt. Spencer
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
as Admiral James Greer
Teach 109 (1990)
as Dr. Winston
Best of the Best (1989)
as Frank Couzo
Field of Dreams (1989)
as Terrence Mann
Three Fugitives (1989)
as Dugan
Stories to Remember: Noah's Ark (1989)
as Narrator
Terrorgram (1988)
as Retribution (voice)
Coming to America (1988)
as King Jaffe Joffer
Matewan (1987)
as 'Few Clothes' Johnson
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
as Emperor of the Night (voice)
Gardens of Stone (1987)
as Sgt. Maj.'Goody' Nelson
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)
as Umslopogaas
Soul Man (1986)
as Professor Banks
My Little Girl (1986)
as Ike Bailey
The Atlanta Child Murders (1985)
as Major Walker
The Vegas Strip War (1984)
as Jack Madrid
City Limits (1984)
as Albert
Return of the Jedi (1983)
as Voice of Darth Vader (voice)
Blood Tide (1982)
as Frye
The Flight of Dragons (1982)
as Omadon
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
as Thulsa Doom
The Bushido Blade (1981)
as The Prisoner
The Creation (1981)
as Narrator
The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story (1980)
as Dane Oliver
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
as Darth Vader (Voice)
Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980)
as Father Divine
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
as Darth Vader (voice)
The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened (1977)
as Morris Bird, Jr.
A Piece of the Action (1977)
as Joshua Burke
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
as Older Kokumo
The Last Remake of Beau Geste (1977)
as Sheikh
Star Wars (1977)
as Voice of Darth Vader (voice)
The Greatest (1977)
as Malcolm X
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
as Balthasar
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
as Leon Carter
The River Niger (1976)
as Johnny Williams
Deadly Hero (1976)
as Rabbit Shazam
Swashbuckler (1976)
as Nick Debrett
The UFO Incident (1975)
as Barney Hill
The Cay (1974)
as Timothy
Claudine (1974)
as Roop
The Man (1972)
as Douglass Dilman
Malcolm X (1972)
as Biographical Narration (voice)
The Great White Hope (1970)
as Jack Jefferson
King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis (1970)
as
End of the Road (1970)
as Doctor D
The Comedians (1967)
as Dr. Magiot
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
as Lt. Lothar Zogg
Beneath the Surface: The Making of 'The Hunt for Red October' ()
as Himself