James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones

Actor
|
Life Story

James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred in many films over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). He is probably best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy (for the voice only, as the man in the Darth Vader suit was David Prowse, whose voice was dubbed because of his British West Country accent). He has appeared on the animated series The Simpsons (1989) three times and played Mufasa in The Lion King (1994). James Earl Jones returned as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016).

Family

Cecilia Hart (15 March 1982 - 16 October 2016) ( 1 child)

Trivia

Born at 6:05am.
Took acting lessons to control his stutter.
Son, with Cecilia Hart: Flynn Earl Jones.
Had a stuttering problem as a child and said very little as a child; still struggles with the problem and says he has to think about what he says carefully before saying it (impressive, since he is known widely for his voice).
Provided the thunderous voice (uncredited) of Darth Vader, the villain of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Son of prizefighter-turned-actor Robert Earl Jones, from whom he was (allegedly) estranged long into adulthood. Yet they starred together in a well-received stage revival of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men", as Lennie Small and Crooks, respectively (Kevin Conway also starred in the play, as George Milton).
He's the commanding voice that says "This is CNN".
Attended and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1955.
His first time acting was at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee, Michigan.
Attended and graduated from Kaleva-Norman-Dickson High School in Brethren.
Grew up in the small town of Dublin, Michigan.
Callers using Bell Atlantic pay phones often hear Jones's voice assuring them "Welcome to Bell Atlantic", just before a female voice asks for a calling card number.
Was once a United States Army officer after college.
His "death" was announced during a live broadcast of an NBA playoff game in April 1998. The deceased was actually James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King.
He received the John F. Kennedy Centre Honour in December 2002.
Narrated the documentary Black Indians: An American Story (2001) , which explores issues of racial identity between the mixed-descent peoples of both Native American and African American heritage. Jones himself is a Black Indian.
Announced the forty-fifth greatest movie villain of all time by Maxim Magazine's "Fifty Greatest Movie Villains of All Time" list for his character of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Co-starred with Madge Sinclair five times.
Has won two Tony Awards: in 1969, as Best Actor (Dramatic), for "The Great White Hope", a role he recreated in an Oscar-nominated performance in the film version of the same title, The Great White Hope (1970) and in 1987, as Best Actor (Play), for August Wilson's "Fences".
In the original Star Wars trilogy, he and Billy Dee Williams were the only black actors to play major roles. One of Billy Dee Williams' other roles was the title role in Scott Joplin (1977). Scott Joplin's ragtime music was used as the score for The Sting (1973), which features James's father, Robert Earl Jones.
Known for his humility, he declined to have his name appear on the credits of both Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), claiming that he felt his contribution wasn't significant enough to warrant a credit. He did agree to have his name appear of the credits of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
Has appeared in the animated comedy Robots (2005) with Stanley Tucci. In a television biopic of Peter Sellers, Stanley Tucci played Stanley Kubrick, who directed Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), which was also Jones' first film.
He was the first established celebrity to appear on the series Sesame Street (1969).
On October 8, 2002, he appeared along with Theo Lion from PBS's Between the Lions (1999) before the House Education Reform Subcommittee to explain the importance of supporting literacy programs.

Personal Quotes 

[from "James Earl Jones: Voices and Silences" page 360]: My voice is for hire. My endorsement is not for hire. I will do a voice-over, but I cannot endorse without making a different kind of commitment. My politics are very personal and subjective.
If you take a villain like Thulsa Doom or Darth Vader and have fun with it, that destroys the credibility of the character.
When I read that part in the script where it said, "Luke, I am your father", I thought, "He's lying. I have to see how they carry this lie out.".
[on the Iraq war]: All people have to be prepared. If we are going to be the police, we also have to be the guardians. We can no longer play games. I was not against the war in Bosnia. I was against it taking so long. I was not against the war in Somalia. Again, it took too long, and we didn't finish the job. We should've stayed and finished the job. About this pending war, I just think we should've finished that war the first time.
[on the terrible stutter he suffered from 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. To the best of my abilities, I give them Academy Award caliber performances. I can't put down any jobs that help me pay my bills. The problem is most of the movies and TV shows I've been in haven't given me much to do or say.
[on being the recipient of a lifetime achievement Oscar] If an actor's nightmare is being onstage buck naked and not knowing his lines, what the heck do you call this?
[on Star Wars] I am so pleased to be part of that full legend. Even as an observer. I am just an observer.

Filmography

Signup for Newsletter

Signup for the latest news about Movies & Events and exclusive offers.

Don't worry, we won't spam you. You will be able to unsubscribe with a single mouse click.
Subscribe for Our Whatsapp Updates

Which update you want to receive?