James Earl Jones

Actor, Floor waxer
One of the preeminent stage and screen performers of his generation, award-winning actor James Earl Jones primarily functioned as a high-quality supporting player after a brief run in the 1970s as a leading man. But ... Read more »
Born: 01/16/1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA

Filmography

Actor (242)

Gimme Shelter 2014 (Movie)

Frank McCarthy (Actor)

Jack and the Beanstalk 2014 (Movie)

Giant (Actor)

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn 2014 (Movie)

Ruben (Actor)

The Big Bang Theory 2014 (Tv Show)

Actor

Quantum Quest 2012 (Movie)

General Halifax (Voice)

The 65th Annual Tony Awards 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Presenter

As the World Turns 1955 - 2010 (TV Show)

Actor

Earth 2009 (Movie)

(USA release) (Narrator)

Guiding Light 1951 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

House 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

The Poker House 2009 (Movie)

Popeye (Actor)

AFI's 100 Years...AFI's 10 Top 10 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Two and a Half Men 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins 2008 (Movie)

Papa Jenkins (Actor)

Scary Movie 4 2006 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Benchwarmers 2006 (Movie)

Voice of Darth Vader (Actor)

Robots 2005 (Movie)

Voice Box at Hardware Store (Voice)

Searching for Orson 2005 (Movie)

Interviewee (Actor)

According to Jim 2004 (Tv Show)

Voice

Everwood 2003 - 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Brilliant But Cancelled 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Will & Grace 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

Disney's Recess 1997 - 2002 (TV Show)

Voice

Finder's Fee 2002 (Movie)

Avery Phillips (Actor)

The Annihilation of Fish 2001 (Movie)

Fish (Actor)

Dreamrider 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Fantasia 2000 2000 (Movie)

Host (Actor)

In Search of Liberty Bell 7 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Narrator

On the Q.T. 2000 (Movie)

Leo (Actor)

The 27th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The Washington Monument: It Stands For All 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Narrator

GQ Men of the Year Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Jane Alexander 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Dark Religions 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Forces of the Wild 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Narrator

Homicide: Life on the Street 1987 - 1989, 1993 - 1994, 1996 - 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

Horton Foote's Alone 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Merlin 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Voice

Primary Colors 1998 (Movie)

CNN Voiceover (Actor)

Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories 1991 - 1998 (TV Show)

Narrator

Somalia: Blackhawk Down 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Kennedys in Crisis 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride 1998 (Movie)

of Mufasa (Voice)

Undercover Angel 1998 (Movie)

Judge (Actor)

Casper: A Spirited Beginning 1997 (Movie)

of Kibosh (Voice)

Frasier 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Gang Related 1997 (Movie)

Arthur Baylor (Actor)

Good Luck 1997 (Movie)

James Bing (Actor)

L.A. Law 1987 - 1989, 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman 1987 - 1989, 1993 - 1994, 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Mad About You 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Voice

National Memorial Day Concert (1997) 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Nickelodeon's 10th Annual Kids' Choice Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Picket Fences 1987 - 1989, 1993 - 1994, 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

Rebound: The Legend of Earl 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Sports on the Silver Screen 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Star Wars: The Magic and the Mystery 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Stargate SG-1 1997 (Tv Show)

Voice

The 23rd Annual People's Choice Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The Second Civil War 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Timepiece 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Touched By an Angel 1987 - 1989, 1993 - 1994, 1996 - 1997 (Tv Show)

Actor

A Family Thing 1996 (Movie)

Roy Murdoch (Actor)

James Earl Jones 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

Looking for Richard 1996 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

People 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Voice

Signs and Wonders 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1996 Essence Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The 50th Annual Tony Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The Second Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

Bah! Humbug! 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Cry, the Beloved Country 1995 (Movie)

Reverend Stephen Kumalo (Actor)

Great American Music: A Salute to Fast Cars 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Jefferson in Paris 1995 (Movie)

Madison Hemings (Actor)

Water 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Baseball Relief: An All-Star Comedy Salute 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Clean Slate 1994 (Movie)

Dolby (Actor)

Clear and Present Danger 1994 (Movie)

Admiral Greer (Actor)

Hallelujah 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Hollywood Gets MADD 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Narrator

Movie News Hot Summer Sneak Preview 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Square One TV 1986 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lion King 1994 (Movie)

of Mufasa (Voice)

The Living Cathedral: Saint John the Divine 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Making of the Lion King 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Simpsons 1990, 1994 (Tv Show)

Voice

The Vernon Johns Story 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Conversations 1993 (Movie)

Man No 7 (Actor)

Diamonds on the Silver Screen 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Excessive Force 1993 (Movie)

(Actor)

George Lucas: Heroes, Myths and Magic 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Narrator

Lincoln 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Narrator

Long Ago and Far Away 1988 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

National Memorial Day Concert (1993) 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Race For Life: Africa's Great Migration 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Narrator

Sommersby 1993 (Movie)

Judge Issacs (Actor)

The 47th Annual Tony Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The Meteor Man 1993 (Movie)

Mr Moses (Actor)

The Parsley Garden 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Sandlot 1993 (Movie)

Mr Mertle (Actor)

A Party For Richard Pryor 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

AFI Salute to Sidney Poitier 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Freddie as F.R.O.7 1992 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Great Lakes, Bitter Legacy 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

JFK Conspiracy 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Michael Jackson... The Legend Continues 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Narrator

Muhammad Ali's 50th Birthday Celebration 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Patriot Games 1992 (Movie)

Admiral James Greer (Actor)

Pros & Cons 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Sneakers 1992 (Movie)

Mr Bernard Abbott (Actor)

The 24th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The Creative Spirit 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

2 Years... Later 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

America's All-Star Tribute to Oprah Winfrey 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Convicts 1991 (Movie)

Ben Johnson (Actor)

Gabriel's Fire 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Portrait of Castro's Cuba 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Scorchers 1991 (Movie)

Bear (Actor)

The 12th Annual ACE Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The 17th Annual People's Choice Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The 23rd Annual NAACP Image Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

True Identity 1991 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Visitors From the Unknown 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Narrator

When It Was a Game 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Voice

Grim Prairie Tales 1990 (Movie)

Morrison (Actor)

National Memorial Day Concert 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Teach 109 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Terrorgram 1990 (Movie)

of Retribution (Voice)

The 44th Annual Tony Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Ambulance 1990 (Movie)

Lieutenant Spencer (Actor)

The Hunt for Red October 1990 (Movie)

US Admiral Greer (Actor)

The Ivory Hunters 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Third and Oak: The Pool Hall 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

World Series 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Narrator

America Picks the All-Time Favorite Movies 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Best of the Best 1989 (Movie)

Coach Couzo (Actor)

Field of Dreams 1989 (Movie)

Terence Mann (Actor)

The 43rd Annual Tony Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Way We Wear 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Three Fugitives 1989 (Movie)

Dugan (Actor)

Coming to America 1988 (Movie)

King Jaffe Joffer (Actor)

Michael Jackson 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Narrator

Soldier Boys 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Who Lives, Who Dies 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold 1987 (Movie)

Umslopogaas (Actor)

Gardens of Stone 1987 (Movie)

"Goody" Nelson (Actor)

Matewan 1987 (Movie)

"Few Clothes" Johnson (Actor)

My Little Girl 1987 (Movie)

Ike Bailey (Actor)

Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night 1987 (Movie)

of Emperor of the Night (Voice)

The 41st Annual Tony Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Lions of Etosha -- King of the Beasts 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Narrator

Soul Man 1986 (Movie)

Professor Rutherford Banks (Actor)

The Lone Star Kid 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

City Limits 1985 (Movie)

Albert (Actor)

Me and Mom 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Atlanta Child Murders 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Return of the Jedi 1983 (Movie)

of Lord Darth Vader (Voice)

Conan the Barbarian 1982 (Movie)

Thulsa Doom (Actor)

Blood Tide 1981 (Movie)

Frye (Actor)

The Bushido Blade 1981 (Movie)

Harpooner (Actor)

Paris 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

The Empire Strikes Back 1980 (Movie)

of Lord Darth Vader (Voice)

A Piece of the Action 1977 (Movie)

Detective Joshua Burke (Actor)

Exorcist II: The Heretic 1977 (Movie)

Older Kokumo (Actor)

Star Wars 1977 (Movie)

of Lord Darth Vader (Voice)

Swashbuckler 1976 (Movie)

Nick Debrett (Actor)

The Greatest 1976 (Movie)

Malcolm X (Actor)

The Last Remake of Beau Geste 1976 (Movie)

Sheikh Abdul (Actor)

Deadly Hero 1975 (Movie)

Rabbit (Actor)

Happy Endings 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

Sojourner 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Narrator

Claudine 1974 (Movie)

Roop (Actor)

King Lear 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

The River Niger 1974 (Movie)

Johnny Williams (Actor)

Malcolm X 1972 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

The Man 1971 (Movie)

Douglas Dilman (Actor)

King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis 1970 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The End of the Road 1970 (Movie)

Doctor D (Actor)

The Great White Hope 1970 (Movie)

Jack Jefferson (Actor)

The Comedians 1967 (Movie)

Doctor Magiot (Actor)

Dr. Strangelove 1964 (Movie)

Lieutenant Lothar Zog--Bombardier (Actor)

Amy and the Angel (TV Show)

Actor

Border Patrol (TV Show)

Actor

By Dawn's Early Light (TV Show)

Actor

Gloria: The Life of Christ (TV Show)

Actor

Grow Old Along With Me (TV Show)

Actor

Heat Wave (TV Show)

Actor

Jesus of Nazareth (TV Show)

Actor

Last Flight Out (TV Show)

Actor

Muhammad Ali (TV Show)

Actor

Noah's Ark (Movie)

Narrator (Actor)

Noah's Ark (Movie)

Narrator (Voice)

Our Friend, Martin (TV Show)

Voice

Percy and Thunder (TV Show)

Actor

Roots: The Next Generations (TV Show)

Actor

Santa and Pete (TV Show)

Actor

Second Coming (Movie)

Narrator (Voice)

Summer's End (TV Show)

Actor

The Feast of All Saints (TV Show)

Actor

The Making of Jurassic Park (TV Show)

Actor

The Reading Room (TV Show)

Actor

The UFO Incident (TV Show)

Actor

The Vegas Strip War (TV Show)

Actor

Timepiece (Movie)

Lawrence Flynn (Actor)

Under One Roof (TV Show)

Actor

What the Deaf Man Heard (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

One of the preeminent stage and screen performers of his generation, award-winning actor James Earl Jones primarily functioned as a high-quality supporting player after a brief run in the 1970s as a leading man. But more famous than any onscreen role was his deep, resonant voice that first gave authority and menace to Darth Vader in "Star Wars" (1977), "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Return of the Jedi" (1983) - a startling achievement due to his overcoming a debilitating childhood stutter that remained with him throughout his career. Prior to his iconic voice performance in "Star Wars," he made a name for himself on the stage, especially in Shakespearean roles not normally associated with being played by African-Americans. Once his voice became famous, it was only a matter of time until his face became renowned as well, which happened after appearing in a range of movies, from John Sayles' small independent "Matewan" (1987) to "Field of Dreams" (1989) to a trio of blockbusters based on the novels of Tom Clancy, "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "Patriot Games" (1992) and "Clear and Present Danger" (1994).

Relationships

Cecilia Hart

Wife
Co-starred with Jones in "Othello" (1982) on Broadway married March 15, 1982

Julienne Hendricks

Wife
Previously married divorced

Robert Jones

Father
Born February 3, 1911 left the family before James Earl's birth reconciled with son many years later father and son lived together in NYC when James was starting out as an actor died September 2006

Ruth Jones

Mother

Flynn Jones

Son
Born in 1983 mother, Cecilia Hart

John Williams

Grandfather
Raised him maternal grandfather

Maggie Williams

Grandmother
Raised him maternal grandmother

EDUCATION

Studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Ted Danielewsky

American Theatre Wing

New York , New York 1957
Received diploma

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor , Michigan 1953
Initially intended to study medicine, but switched to drama

Milestones

2012

Joined an all-star cast for "Gore Vidal's The Best Man" on Broadway

2011

Received an honorary Academy Award

2010

Returned to the Broadway stage in Alfred Uhry's "Driving Miss Daisy" along with Vanessa Redgrave

2008

Starred in Debbie Allen's revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

2005

Headed the cast in an African-American Broadway revival version of "On Golden Pond," directed by Leonard Foglia; earned a Tony nomination; production closed early due Jones' illness

2005

Returned as the voice of Darth Vader in "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith," the final installment of the series

2003

Guest starred on The WB's "Everwood" as a jazz pianist and Ephram's mentor; received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

1999

Starred as Dr. William Blakely in Showtime movie "Summer's End"; earned Daytime Emmy Award

1998

Reprised the voice of Mufasa in the direct-to-video sequel "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride"

1997

Portrayed the best friend of Hume Cronyn in the Showtime movie "Horton Foote's Alone"

1996

Co-starred with Duvall in "A Family Thing"; pair played half-brothers in a script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson

1995

Movingly portrayed the South African minister in film remake of Alan Paton's famed classic "Cry the Beloved Country"

1994

Returned to series TV in short-lived "Under One Roof" (CBS)

1994

Spoke with leonine authority as King Mustafa in Disney's animated feature "The Lion King"

1991

Acted with Duvall in Peter Masterson's "Convicts"

1990

Reteamed with Cicely Tyson for the TNT miniseries "Heat Wave," based on the 1965 Watts riots

1990

Cast as the title character in the ABC drama "Gabriel's Fire" (later retitled "Pros and Cons")

1990

Cast as a CIA offical in "The Hunt for Red October," the first of three films based on Tom Clancy novels (also "Patriot Games" in 1992 and "Clear and Present Danger" in 1994)

1989

Portrayed skeptical and reclusive writer Terrence Mann in "Field of Dreams"

1987

Acted in John Sayles' "Matewan" and in Francis Ford Coppola's "Gardens of Stone"

1987

Played the Tony Award-winning leading role in August Wilson's "Fences"

1982

Acted in the Broadway production of "Othello" playing the title role; co-starred opposite future wife Cecilia Hart

1980

Appeared on stage in Fugard's "A Lesson from Aloes"

1979

Cast in TV series "Paris" (CBS), playing titular role of erudite black police captain

1979

Portrayed Alex Haley in ABC miniseries sequel "Roots: The Next Generations"

1978

London stage debut, bringing the one-man show "Paul Robeson" from Broadway

1977

Provided the uncredited voice of Darth Vader in "Star Wars" and in the subsequent sequels

1977

First film with actor Robert Duvall, "The Greatest"; played Malcolm X

1975

Reteamed with Tyson for "The River Niger" the film version of the award-winning play

1974

Appeared as Diahann Carroll's love interest in the feature "Claudine"

1974

Played Lennie in the Broadway production of "Of Mice and Men"

1969

Received Best Actor Academy Award nomination for reprising Johnson in the film version of "The Great White Hope"

1969

Starred in Fugard's "Boseman and Lena" at NYC's Circle in the Square

1968

Won his first Tony Award for his role as boxer Jack Johnson in the Broadway production "The Great White Hope"

1967

Second feature, "The Comedians"; once again cast opposite Tyson

1966

Appeared as Dr. Jerry Turner on the daytime drama "As the World Turns" (CBS); one of the first black regulars on a daytime drama

1964

Feature debut as Lieutenant Jimmy Zogg in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove"

1964

Appeared in South African playwright Athol Fugard's "The Blood Knot" (NYC)

1963

Received Emmy nomination for guest starring on the series "East Side, West Side" (CBS), starring George C. Scott and Cicely Tyson

1961

Acted in acclaimed NYC production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks"

1959

Began his long association with the New York Shakespeare Festival

1958

Appeared on Broadway in "Sunrise at Campobello"

1957

First paying job as Ivan Dixon's understudy in "Wedding in Japan"

1957

Broadway acting debut as understudy for the role of Perry Hall in "The Egghead"

1949

Made acting debut in a college production of "Deep Are the Roots" at the University of Michigan

Acted for the first time at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee, MI

Raised in rural Mississippi by maternal grandparents

Served in U.S. Army

Moved with family to rural Michigan around the age of five

Bonus Trivia

.

Jones received honorary doctorates of fine arts from Princeton University, Yale University, Fairfield University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among other colleges.

.

Speaking about his then 12-year-old son: "I have no idea whether Flynn considers himself black or white. When he expresses some curiosity about it he and I will discuss it. Up until now, nobody has made an issue of it. He doesn't have kids at school saying, 'Your father is a n*gger.' I'd like him to be proud of all the races he represents. He's part African, part Irish, with some German and American Indian thrown in there from way back. If he grows up to be a racist or bigot in any way he'd be betraying some part of himself." – Jones to the Daily News, Dec. 17, 1995

.

"I know what I'm doing on stage. I don't know what I'm doing on film. Until recently, I froze during close-ups because I'm not used to having a camera come between me and my compatriots. In the theater, you also develop a third ear and a third eye so the bond with the audience is almost psychic. Film is so internal it's like walking down the street talking to yourself. There's no barometer – it's just 'Take 25.' A director is essential for any sort of perspective so directing something you're acting in is folly. The money, of course, is better in film. But paying someone $5 million for a role is ridiculous. That's all about 'clout' or 'getting over.' It has nothing to do with storytelling." – Jones to The Los Angeles Times, Dec. 19, 1995

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