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James Earl Jones
Born January 17, 1931

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.


Coming 2 America
 2020, Roi Jaffe Joffer
The Lion King
 2019, Mufasa (voice)
Warning Shot
 2018, Pendleton
The Lion Guard: Life In The Pride Lands
 2017, Mufasa
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
 2016, Darth Vader (voice)
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
 2015, Mufasa (voice)
Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal
 2015, Darth Vader (voice)
August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand
Driving Miss Daisy
 2014, Hoke Colburn
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
 2014, Ruben
Gimme Shelter
 2013, Frank McCarthy
Muse of Fire
 2013, Himself
 2013, Himself (archive footage)
 2013, Himself
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
 2012, Admiral (voice)
Jack and the Beanstalk
 2009, The Giant (voice)
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
 2008, Papa Jenkins
 2007, Narrator
John, Paul, George and Ben
 2007, Narrator
Vader Sessions
 2006, Darth Vader
 2006, Narrator of Michael's Past (uncredited)
The Best of The Tony Awards: The Plays
 2006, Jack Jefferson (segment "The Great White Hope") / Troy Maxson (segment "Fences")
The Benchwarmers
 2006, Darth Vader (voice)
The Reading Room
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
 2005, Darth Vader (voice - uncredited)
The Sandlot 2
 2005, Mr. Mertle
 2005, Voice Box at Hardware Store (voice)
By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X
 2005, Narrator
Nine Dog Christmas
 2004, Narrator
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy
 2004, Himself
The Story of Star Wars
 2004, Darth Vader
Black Indians: An American Story
 2004, Narrator
The Great Year
 2003, Narrator
Beneath the Surface: The Making of 'The Hunt for Red October'
 2003, Himself
Muhammad Ali - Through The Eyes Of The World
Feast of All Saints
 2001, Older Marcel
Visitors from the Unknown
 2001, Narrator
Disney's American Legends
 2001, Narrator
Finder's Fee
 2001, Avery Phillips
Summer's End
 2000, Dr. William 'Bill' Blakely
Fantasia 2000
 2000, Himself - Host
Conan Unchained: The Making of 'Conan'
 2000, Himself
Santa and Pete
 1999, James Earl Jones
Undercover Angel
 1999, The Judge
On the Q.T.
 1999, Leo
Our Friend, Martin
 1999, Daddy King (voice)
The Annihilation of Fish
 1999, Fish
The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride
 1998, Mufasa (voice)
 1997, Grey
What the Deaf Man Heard
 1997, Archibald Thacker
Gang Related
 1997, Arthur Baylor
The Second Civil War
 1997, Jim Kalla
Afro Promo
 1997, Himself (archive footage)
 1996, Lawrence
Looking for Richard
 1996, Himself/Interview
A Family Thing
 1996, Ray Murdock
Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault
 1996, Dr. McDuffie
Cry, the Beloved Country
 1995, Rev. Stephen Kumalo
Judge Dredd
 1995, Narrator (uncredited)
The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies
The Making of 'Jurassic Park'
 1995, Host
Jefferson in Paris
 1995, Madison Hemings
Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable
 1995, Mufasa (voice)
Clear and Present Danger
 1994, Admiral James Greer
The Lion King
 1994, King Mufasa (voice)
Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics
 1994, Host
Clean Slate
 1994, John Dolby
Africa: The Serengeti
 1994, Narrator
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult
 1994, James Earl Jones
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult
 1994, Himself
Confessions: Two Face of Evil
 1994, Charles Lloyd
The Vernon Johns Story
 1994, Vernon Johns
Michael Jackson - Dangerous - The Short Films
 1993, Himself (Superbowl Heal The World) Voice
The Meteor Man
 1993, Earnest Moses
Excessive Force
 1993, Jake
The Sandlot
 1993, Mr. Mertle
 1993, Judge Barry Conrad Issacs
Ramayana: The Legend of Prince Rama
 1992, Narrator (English)
 1992, NSA Agent Bernard Abbott
Patriot Games
 1992, Adm. James Greer
True Identity
 1991, Himself
 1991, Bear
 1991, Ben Johnson
Grim Prairie Tales
 1990, Morrison
Ivory Hunters
 1990, Inspector Nkuru
Heat Wave
 1990, Junius Johnson
Last Flight Out
 1990, Al Topping
By Dawn's Early Light
 1990, Looking Glass General - 'Alice'
The Ambulance
 1990, Lt. Spencer
The Hunt for Red October
 1990, Admiral James Greer
Teach 109
 1990, Dr. Winston
Best of the Best
 1989, Frank Couzo
Field of Dreams
 1989, Terrence Mann
Three Fugitives
 1989, Dugan
Stories to Remember: Noah's Ark
 1989, Narrator
 1988, Retribution (voice)
Coming to America
 1988, King Jaffe Joffer
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night
 1987, Emperor of the Night (voice)
 1987, 'Few Clothes' Johnson
Gardens of Stone
 1987, Sgt. Maj.'Goody' Nelson
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold
 1986, Umslopogaas
Soul Man
 1986, Professor Banks
My Little Girl
 1986, Ike Bailey
The Flight of Dragons
 1986, Omadon
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp
 1986, Genie / Narrator
The Lone Star Kid
 1986, Holmes
The Vegas Strip War
 1984, Jack Madrid
City Limits
 1984, Albert
Return of the Jedi
 1983, Voice of Darth Vader (voice)
Blood Tide
 1982, Frye
Conan the Barbarian
 1982, Thulsa Doom
The Bushido Blade
 1981, The Prisoner
The Creation
 1981, Narrator
God's Trombones
 1981, Himself - Narrator (segment "The Creation")
The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story
 1980, Dane Oliver
The Empire Strikes Back
 1980, Darth Vader (voice - uncredited)
The Star Wars Holiday Special
 1978, Darth Vader (voice)
The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened
 1977, Morris Bird, Jr.
A Piece of the Action
 1977, Joshua Burke
The Making of 'Star Wars'
 1977, Darth Vader (voice) (uncredited)
Exorcist II: The Heretic
 1977, Older Kokumo
The Last Remake of Beau Geste
 1977, Sheikh
Star Wars
 1977, Darth Vader (voice)
The Greatest
 1977, Malcolm X
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
 1976, Leon Carter
The River Niger
 1976, Johnny Williams
 1976, Nick Debrett
Deadly Hero
 1975, Rabbit Shazam
The UFO Incident
 1975, Barney Hill
The Cay
 1974, Timothy
 1974, Rupert D. "Roop" Marshall
King Lear
 1974, King Lear
The Man
 1972, Douglass Dilman
Malcolm X
 1972, Biographical Narration (voice)
The Great White Hope
 1970, Jack Jefferson
King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis
End of the Road
 1970, Doctor D
The Comedians
 1967, Dr. Magiot
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
 1964, Lt. Lothar Zogg



The Simpsons
 1989, Narrator (voice)
Pros and Cons
The Defenders
Dr. Kildare
Jesus of Nazareth
 1977, Balthazar
The Kennedy Center Honors
The American Film Institute Salute to ...
Film Night
Me and Mom
Deal or No Deal
Long Ago and Far Away
 1989, Host
 1998, Rock of Ages
The Big Bang Theory
 2007, Himself
Star Wars Rebels
 2014, Darth Vader (voice)
Faerie Tale Theatre
 1982, Genie / Narrator
The Atlanta Child Murders
 1985, Major Walker
Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones
 1980, Father Divine
The Simpsons
 1989, Moving Man / Serak the Preparer / Narrator (voice)
The Simpsons
 1989, Maggie Simpson (voice, as James Earl Boggins Jones)
East Side/West Side
Hallmark Hall of Fame
The One Show
Roots: The Next Generations
 1979, Alex Haley
Will & Grace
Stargate SG-1
 1997, Unas (Voice)
The Ed Sullivan Show
Under One Roof
 1995, Neb Langston
CBS Schoolbreak Special
 1980, Detective Robb
Vegetable Soup
Sesame Street
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
 1993, Franklin Stern
Law & Order
 1990, Attorney Horace McCoy
L.A. Law
Gabriel's Fire
 1990, Gabriel Bird
 2004, Dibala
According to Jim
 2001, Royal Flush Voice (voice)
Two and a Half Men
 1993, Norman Royster
Homicide: Life on the Street
The Tony Awards
 1947, Nominee / Performer


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