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James Earl Jones


Born: 17 January 1931
Birthplace: Arkabutla, Mississippi
Best known as: The voice of Darth Vader
James Earl Jones is particularly known for his resonant basso voice and commanding presence. His early successes were in the New York theater, first in Shakespeare's Othello and The Emperor Jones (both 1964), and, more famously, The Great White Hope, for which he won the 1969 Tony award. He started in the movies in the mid-1960s, and won an Oscar for repeating his role as prizefighter Jack Jefferson in the 1970 film version of The Great White Hope. These days he's probably best known as the voice of Darth Vader in the George Lucas's Star Wars film series. His other movie roles include a reclusive Salinger-like author in Field of Dreams (1989, with Kevin Costner), an avuncular CIA chief in the spy flicks The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger (1990, '92 and '94, all based on novels by Tom Clancy) and the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994). His Broadway appearances include Paul Robeson (1978) and two more Tony-winning performances, in Fences (1987) and On Golden Pond (2005). Jones is also known for his TV voiceovers, particularly his sonorous "This... is CNN" for the Cable News Network.
Extra credit: According to National Public Radio, as a boy Jones "had such a severe stutter that, for eight years, he refused to talk and was functionally mute." He says his high school English teacher helped him by making him read poetry aloud... Jones played Malcolm X in the 1977 film The Greatest... He had a small role in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove... He played author Alex Haley in the 1979 TV miniseries Roots: The Next Generations... The on-screen role of Darth Vader was played by David Prowse.

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