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Jones, James Earl (1931–)

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JONES, JAMES EARL (1931–). Actor. The son of actor Robert Earl Jones, James Earl Jones was born in Tate County, Mississippi, and raised on his grandparent’s farm near Jackson, Michigan. He has had a distinguished career on stage, television, and film. Highly praised for his numerous Shakespearean roles, including Othello , he also embraced a number of contemporary and avant-garde stage productions. After a short time as a University of Michigan pre-medical student, and a stint in the military, Jones gravitated to New York and studied at the American Theater Wing. His off-Broadway debut came in 1957 in Wedding in Japan . Other notable stage performances include The Cool World, The Blood Knot , and The Blacks . He has won numerous awards, including an Obie Award in 1961, and the 1961–62 Daniel Blum Theater World Award. Jones’ career took off in 1969 after portraying Jack Jefferson in the smash Broadway hit The Great White Hope , based on the life of the first black heavyweight, boxing champion Jack Johnson. He received a Tony Award for best dramatic actor in a Broadway play, and a Drama Desk best-performance award. He also starred in the film version and received an Academy Award nomination for his onscreen portrayal of the pugilist. He received numerous stage roles in the 1970s that had mostly gone to white actors, including the title role in King Lear , and the portrayal of Lenny in Of Mice and Men . In 1987, Jones won another Tony Award for the lead in Fences , August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. His powerful television appearances include Roots: The Next Generation , Gabriel’s Fire , Percy and Thunder , and the CBS series Under One Roof . The University of Michigan honored Jones with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1971. New York gave him their Man of the Year Award in 1976. He was elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that same year, and he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1985. Perhaps one of his most notable accomplishments of his career is that Jones was the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars Trilogy . He is currently the national television spokesperson for Verizon Communications.

Filmography: Dr. Strangelove , 1964; The Great White Hope , 1970; End of the Road , 1970; Deadly Hero , 1975; Swashbuckler , 1976; The River Niger , 1976; Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings , 1976; Star Wars , 1977; A Piece of the Action , 1977; Paul Robeson , 1977; The Greatest , 1977; The Exorcist II , 1977; Roots: The Next Generation , 1979; The Empire Strikes Back , 1980; Flight of the Dragons , 1982; Conan the Barbarian , 1982; Blood Tide , 1982; Return of the Jedi , 1983; Soul Man , 1986; My Little Girl , 1987; Matewan , 1987; Gardens of Stone , 1987; Coming to America , 1988; Field of Dreams , 1989; Best of the Best , 1989; Ivory Hunters , 1990; The Hunt for Red October , 1990; Heatwave , 1990; Sneakers , 1992; Patriot Games , 1992; The Sandlot , 1993; Percy and Thunder , 1993; The Meteor Man , 1993; Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult , 1994; The Lion King , 1994; Clear and Present Danger , 1994; Cry the Beloved Country , 1995; Gang Related , 1996; A Family Thing , 1996; Horton’s Foot , 1997; Merlin , 1998; Undercover Angel , 1999; Summer’s End , 1999; The Annihilation of Fish , 2003.

Jones, John(1816–1879) - Chronology [next] [back] Jones, Edward Perry(1872–1924) - Activist, minister, Moves from Business to the Ministry, Chronology, Figures Prominently in Fraternal Societies

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over 6 years ago

James Earl Jones did not grow up near Jackson, Michigan. He lived in Dublin, Michigan...a very small town much further north. The rural and self-sufficient nature of how he grew up was very important to him and I thought it was important to make the correction. For for info, here is web address for a wonderful interview with him from 1996.