Image of James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones

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.

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Jan 17, 1931 In Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the series Rocket Robin Hood
Latest Project:
Movie Warning Shot 2018-09-14
Known For
Poster of Rome
Poster of Mystery Hunters
Poster of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Poster of Field of Dreams
Series Rocket Robin Hood Unknown 2020
Movie Warning Shot Pendleton 2018-09-14
Movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Darth Vader (voice) 2016-12-14
Movie The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar Mufasa (voice) 2015-11-22
Series Konchem Touch Lo Unte Chepta James Earl Jones 2014-09-27
Movie The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Ruben 2014-05-23
Movie Milius Himself 2013-03-09
Movie Gimme Shelter Frank McCarthy 2013-10-17
Movie Blackfish Himself (archive footage) 2013-06-07
Movie Muse of Fire Himself 2013-09-26
Movie Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Admiral (voice) 2012-12-02
Series Hotel 13 Himself - Host 2012-09-03
Movie Star Tours: The Adventures Continue Darth Vader 2011-05-20
Movie Jack and the Beanstalk The Giant (voice) 2009-11-06
Movie Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Papa Jenkins 2008-02-08
Series Alma de Hierro Emperor of the Night (voice) 2008-02-25
Movie The Benchwarmers Darth Vader (voice) 2006-04-07
Movie Click Narrator of Michael's Past (uncredited) 2006-06-22
Series The One Show Unknown 2006-08-14
Movie When Darkness Falls 2006-10-20
Movie Vader Sessions Darth Vader 2006-08-25
Movie The Sandlot 2 Mr. Mertle 2005-05-03
Movie Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader (voice - uncredited) 2005-05-17
Movie Robots Voice Box at Hardware Store (voice) 2005-03-10
Series Deal or No Deal Unknown 2005-12-19
Movie The Reading Room 2005-11-04
Series Criss Angel Mindfreak Professor Banks 2005-07-20
Series Rome Darth Vader (voice - uncredited) 2005-08-28
Movie Black Indians: An American Story Narrator 2004-01-01
Movie Nine Dog Christmas Narrator 2004-10-05
Movie Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy Himself 2004-09-12
Series House Unknown 2004-11-16
Movie Beneath the Surface: The Making of 'The Hunt for Red October' Himself 2003-05-06
Movie The Great Year Narrator 2003-08-01
Series Celebrities Uncensored Narrator 2003-06-04
Series Two and a Half Men Unknown 2003-09-21
Series Mystery Hunters NSA Agent Bernard Abbott 2002-09-09
Series Everwood Unknown 2002-09-16
Series Strawberry on the Shortcake Unknown 2001-01-12
Movie Disney's American Legends Narrator 2001-02-12
Movie Finder's Fee Avery Phillips 2001-01-01
Movie Feast of All Saints Older Marcel 2001-11-11
Movie Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World 2001-11-19
Series According to Jim Unknown 2001-10-03
Movie Cats & Dogs Unknown 2001-07-04
Movie Conan Unchained: The Making of 'Conan' Himself 2000-01-01
Movie Summer's End Dr. William 'Bill' Blakely 2000-04-18
Movie The Annihilation of Fish Fish 1999-01-01
Movie Our Friend, Martin Daddy King (voice) 1999-01-12
Movie On the Q.T. Leo 1999-04-01
Movie Stuart Little Neb Langston 1999-01-18
Movie Undercover Angel The Judge 1999-05-16
Series Merlin Rock of Ages 1998-04-26
Movie The Temptations Unknown 1998-11-01
Series Will & Grace Unknown 1998-09-21
Movie The Second Civil War Jim Kalla 1997-03-15
Movie What the Deaf Man Heard Archibald Thacker 1997-11-23
Movie The Sweet Hereafter Detective Robb 1997-05-14
Series Stargate SG-1 Unknown 1997-07-27
Movie Gang Related Arthur Baylor 1997-10-08
Movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault Dr. McDuffie 1996-01-01
Movie Timepiece Lawrence 1996-12-22
Movie Looking for Richard Himself/Interview 1996-10-11
Movie Cry, the Beloved Country Rev. Stephen Kumalo 1995-12-15
Movie Jefferson in Paris Madison Hemings 1995-03-31
Movie The Making of 'Jurassic Park' Host 1995-05-09
Movie Judge Dredd Narrator (uncredited) 1995-06-30
Movie The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies 1995-06-05
Movie Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult James Earl Jones 1994-03-18
Movie The Vernon Johns Story Vernon Johns 1994-01-15
Movie The Lion King King Mufasa (voice) 1994-05-07
Movie Clean Slate John Dolby 1994-05-06
Movie Clear and Present Danger Admiral James Greer 1994-08-03
Movie Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics Host 1994-05-19
Movie The Sandlot Mr. Mertle 1993-04-07
Series Homicide: Life on the Street Unknown 1993-01-31
Movie Sommersby Judge Barry Conrad Issacs 1993-02-05
Movie Excessive Force Jake 1993-05-14
Movie The Meteor Man Earnest Moses 1993-08-06
Movie Michael Jackson - Dangerous - The Short Films Himself (Superbowl Heal The World) Voice 1993-09-28
Series Frasier Unknown 1993-09-16
Series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Unknown 1993-09-12
Movie Patriot Games Adm. James Greer 1992-06-04
Movie Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama Narrator (English) 1992-12-05
Movie Pet Sematary II Unknown 1992-08-28
Movie Convicts Ben Johnson 1991-01-01
Series Pros and Cons 1991-09-26
Movie Scorchers Bear 1991-07-07
Movie True Identity Himself 1991-07-23
Movie The Ambulance Lt. Spencer 1990-03-22
Movie By Dawn's Early Light Looking Glass General - 'Alice' 1990-05-19
Movie The Hunt for Red October Admiral James Greer 1990-03-02
Series Making News Umslopogaas 1990-01-16
Movie Grim Prairie Tales Morrison 1990-09-14
Movie Last Flight Out Al Topping 1990-05-22
Series Law & Order Unknown 1990-09-13
Movie Heat Wave Junius Johnson 1990-08-13
Series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Voice of Darth Vader (voice) 1990-09-10
Movie Three Fugitives Dugan 1989-01-27
Series Long Ago and Far Away Host 1989-02-11
Movie Best of the Best Frank Couzo 1989-11-10
Movie Field of Dreams Terrence Mann 1989-04-21
Series The Simpsons Unknown 1989-12-17
Series Gentlemen and Players Mufasa (voice) 1988-04-10
Movie Coming to America King Jaffe Joffer 1988-06-29
Movie Terrorgram Retribution (voice) 1988-08-08
Movie Gardens of Stone Sgt. Maj.'Goody' Nelson 1987-05-05
Movie Matewan 'Few Clothes' Johnson 1987-08-28
Movie The Lone Star Kid Holmes 1986-02-10
Movie Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp Genie / Narrator 1986-07-14
Series L.A. Law Unknown 1986-09-15
Movie My Little Girl Ike Bailey 1986-08-31
Series The Atlanta Child Murders Major Walker 1985-02-10
Movie The Vegas Strip War Jack Madrid 1984-11-25
Movie City Limits Albert 1984-01-01
Movie Conan the Barbarian Thulsa Doom 1982-04-02
Movie Blood Tide Frye 1982-09-01
Movie The Flight of Dragons Omadon 1982-08-17
Movie The Creation Narrator 1981-01-01
Movie The Bushido Blade The Prisoner 1981-11-20
Series Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones Father Divine 1980-04-15
Movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones Father Divine 1980-04-15
Movie The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story Dane Oliver 1980-05-25
Series Roots: The Next Generations Alex Haley 1979-02-18
Series Paris 1979-09-29
Series The Kennedy Center Honors Unknown 1978-12-28
Movie The Star Wars Holiday Special Darth Vader (voice) 1978-12-01
Movie The Greatest Malcolm X 1977-05-17
Series Jesus of Nazareth Balthazar 1977-01-06
Movie Star Wars Darth Vader (voice) 1977-05-25
Movie The Last Remake of Beau Geste Sheikh 1977-06-15
Movie The Making of 'Star Wars' Darth Vader (voice) (uncredited) 1977-09-16
Movie Exorcist II: The Heretic Older Kokumo 1977-06-17
Movie A Piece of the Action Joshua Burke 1977-10-07
Movie Swashbuckler Nick Debrett 1976-01-01
Movie The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings Leon Carter 1976-07-16
Movie The River Niger Johnny Williams 1976-04-14
Series Vegetable Soup 1975-09-22
Movie The UFO Incident Barney Hill 1975-10-20
Movie Deadly Hero Rabbit Shazam 1975-12-14
Movie Claudine Rupert D. "Roop" Marshall 1974-04-22
Movie The Cay Timothy 1974-10-24
Series The American Film Institute Salute to ... Unknown 1973-04-02
Movie The Man Douglass Dilman 1972-07-19
Movie The Great White Hope Jack Jefferson 1970-10-11
Movie End of the Road Doctor D 1970-02-10
Movie The Comedians Dr. Magiot 1967-10-31
Series Tarzan Unknown 1966-09-08
Movie For a Few Dollars More Gabriel Bird 1965-12-18
Movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Lt. Lothar Zogg 1964-01-29
Series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Balthasar 1964-09-25
Movie Fail-Safe Unknown 1964-10-07
Series Dr. Kildare Unknown 1961-09-27
Series The Defenders Unknown 1961-09-16
Series Hallmark Hall of Fame Unknown 1951-12-24
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20