James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones, considered one of the great actors of
the 20th century, is noted for his particularly deep voice. His distinctive voice
has become well known through his character of Darth Vador in the films Star
Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi,
as Mufasa in The Lion King, and through many television commercials.
James attended the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor and initially studied
medicine. However, he changed his major after his freshman year and graduated
with a degree in drama. He moved to New York City in 1955 to pursue a stage career,
and was united with his father, actor Robert Earl Jones, who had left the family
before his birth. After years of playing bit parts, Jones won recognition for
his performance in Jean Genet's The Blacks and in 1962 won an Obie Award
(given for off-Broadway theater work) as best actor. James Earl Jones gained more
prominence with his classical acting ability after work in the New York Shakespeare
Festival production of Othello in 1964. It was that same year that he made his
film debut in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove.
Jones won national recognition and a Tony Award in 1969 for his portrayal of Jack
Johnson, the first black world heavyweight-boxing champion, in The Great White
Hope, and he won a second Tony for best actor in 1987 for his performance
James Earl Jones has gained national recognition lending his voice to numerous
documentaries, making appearances in a variety of television shows, and starring
in several feature films throughout his career. Among his most memorable roles
are those of Terence Mann in Field Of Dreams, and his portrayal of Adm.
James Greer in The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, and
Clear And Present Danger.
Jones holds honorary doctorates from Yale, Princeton, Columbia and New York Universities
and Emerson College. He was a presidential appointee to the National Council on
the Arts from 1970 to 1976. In 1992, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts
by President Bush. He is also the recipient of the prestigious NAACP Hall of Fame
Image Award for his contributions to the arts. James Earl Jones is a widely recognized
and beloved actor whose broad appeal has made him one of the most famous voices
of our time.