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Person Facts

Known Credits: 127

Birthday: 1931-01-17

Place of Birth: Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA

Adult Actor: False

Official Homepage: -

Also Known As

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James Earl Jones

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.

Acting
2014 The Angriest Man in Brooklyn as Ruben
2013 Gimme Shelter as Frank McCarthy
2013 Blackfish as Himself (archive footage)
2012 Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey as Admiral (voice)
2011 Star Tours: The Adventures Continue as Darth Vader
2010 Jack and the Beanstalk as The Giant (voice)
2008 Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins as Papa Jenkins
2007 Earth as Narrator
2006 Vader Sessions as Darth Vader
2006 The One Show - (1 episode)
2005 Deal or No Deal - (1 episode)
2005 The Reading Room
2005 The Sandlot 2 as Mr. Mertle
2004 House - (1 episode)
2004 Nine Dog Christmas as Narrator
2003 Two and a Half Men - (1 episode)
2003 The Great Year as Narrator
2002 Everwood - (2 episodes)
2002 American Legends as Narrator
2001 Feast of All Saints as Older Marcel
2001 According to Jim - (1 episode)
2001 Finder's Fee as Avery Phillips
2000 Summer's End as Dr. William 'Bill' Blakely
2000 Conan Unchained: The Making of 'Conan' as Himself
1999 Fantasia 2000 as Himself
1999 Santa and Pete as James Earl Jones
1999 Undercover Angel as The Judge
1998 The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride as Mufasa (voice)
1998 Will & Grace - (1 episode)
1998 Merlin - (4 episodes) as Rock of Ages
1997 What the Deaf Man Heard as Archibald Thacker
1997 Gang Related as Arthur Baylor
1997 Stargate SG-1 - (1 episode)
1997 The Second Civil War as Jim Kalla
1996 Timepiece as Lawrence
1996 Looking For Richard as Himself/Interview
1996 A Family Thing
1996 Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault as Dr. McDuffie
1995 Cry, the Beloved Country as Rev. Stephen Kumalo
1995 The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies
1995 The Making of 'Jurassic Park' as Host
1995 Under One Roof - (6 episodes)
1994 Clear and Present Danger as Admiral James Greer
1994 The Lion King as King Mufasa
1994 Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics as Host
1994 Clean Slate as John Dolby
1994 IMAX - Africa: The Serengeti as Narrator
1994 The Vernon Johns Story
1993 Michael Jackson - Dangerous - The Short Films as Himself (Superbowl Heal The World) Voice
1993 Frasier - (1 episode)
1993 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - (1 episode)
1993 The Meteor Man as Earnest Moses
1993 Excessive Force as Jake
1993 The Sandlot as Mr. Mertle
1993 Sommersby as Judge Barry Conrad Issacs
1993 Homicide: Life on the Street - (4 episodes)
1992 Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama as Narrator (English)
1992 Sneakers as NSA Agent Bernard Abbott
1992 Patriot Games as Adm. James Greer
1991 Pros and Cons - (12 episodes)
1991 True Identity as Himself
1991 Scorchers as Bear
1991 Convicts as Ben Johnson
1990 Grim Prairie Tales as Morrison
1990 Law & Order - (1 episode)
1990 Gabriel's Fire - (33 episodes) as Gabriel Bird
1990 By Dawn's Early Light as Looking Glass General - 'Alice'
1990 The Ambulance as Lt. Spencer
1990 The Hunt for Red October as Admiral James Greer
1989 The Simpsons - (3 episodes)
1989 Best of the Best as Frank Couzo
1989 Field of Dreams as Terrence Mann
1989 Three Fugitives as Dugan
1988 Coming to America as King Jaffe Joffer
1987 Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night as Emperor of the Night (voice)
1987 Matewan as 'Few Clothes' Johnson
1987 Gardens of Stone as Sgt. Maj.'Goody' Nelson
1986 Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold as Umslopogaas
1986 Soul Man as Professor Banks
1986 L.A. Law - (1 episode)
1986 My Little Girl as Ike Bailey
1985 Me and Mom - (2 episodes)
1984 The Vegas Strip War as Jack Madrid
1983 Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi as Voice of Darth Vader (voice)
1982 Blood Tide as Frye
1982 The Flight of Dragons as Omadon
1982 Conan the Barbarian as Thulsa Doom
1981 The Bushido Blade as The Prisoner
1981 The Creation as Narrator
1980 Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back as Darth Vader (Voice)
1980 CBS Schoolbreak Special - (29 episodes) as Detective Robb
1980 Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones as Father Divine
1979 Paris - (13 episodes)
1979 Roots: The Next Generations - (8 episodes)
1978 The Kennedy Center Honors - (1 episode)
1978 Star Wars: Holiday Special as Darth Vader (Voice)
1977 A Piece of the Action as Joshua Burke
1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic as Older Kokumo
1977 The Last Remake of Beau Geste as Sheikh
1977 Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope as Darth Vader (voice)
1977 Jesus of Nazareth as Balthasar
1977 Jesus of Nazareth - (4 episodes)
1976 The River Niger as Johnny Williams
1976 Swashbuckler as Nick Debrett
1976 The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings as Leon Carter
1975 Deadly Hero as Rabbit Shazam
1975 The UFO Incident as Barney Hill
1975 Vegetable Soup - (57 episodes)
1974 The Cay as Timothy
1974 Claudine as Roop
1973 The American Film Institute Salute to ... - (1 episode)
1972 The Man as Douglass Dilman
1970 The Great White Hope as Jack Jefferson
1970 End of the Road as Doctor D
1969 Sesame Street - (1 episode)
1967 The Comedians as Dr. Magiot
1966 Tarzan - (2 episodes)
1964 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb as Lt. Lothar Zogg
1963 East Side/West Side - (1 episode)
1961 Dr. Kildare - (3 episodes)
1961 The Defenders - (1 episode)
1951 Hallmark Hall of Fame - (1 episode)
1948 The Ed Sullivan Show - (1 episode)
1900 The Atlanta Child Murders - (0 episodes)
1900 Black Indians: An American Story as Narrator
1900 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child - (0 episodes)
1900 Film Night - (1 episode)