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 movie Hollywood's Greatest Villains
Latest Project:
Series Film Night 2021
Known For
Poster of Merlin
Poster of The Atlanta Child Murders
Poster of Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones
Poster of Tony Awards
Series Film Night Unknown 2021
Movie Hollywood's Greatest Villains Himself 2021
Movie Coming 2 America Roi Jaffe Joffer 2020-12-17
Movie Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell James Earl Jones (archive footage) 2019-05-16
Movie The Lion King Mufasa (voice) 2019-07-12
Movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Darth Vader (voice) 2019-12-18
Movie Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage Himself 2019-09-13
Movie Warning Shot Pendleton 2018-09-14
Movie The Lion Guard: Life In The Pride Lands Mufasa 2017-01-10
Movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Darth Vader (voice) 2016-12-14
Movie August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand 2015-02-20
Movie The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar Mufasa (voice) 2015-11-22
Movie Star Wars Rebels: The Siege of Lothal Darth Vader (voice) 2015-04-18
Movie The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Ruben 2014-05-23
Movie Driving Miss Daisy Hoke Colburn 2014-06-04
Series Star Wars Rebels Darth Vader (voice) 2014-10-13
Movie Milius Himself 2013-03-09
Movie Muse of Fire Himself 2013-09-26
Movie Gimme Shelter Frank McCarthy 2013-10-17
Movie Blackfish Himself (archive footage) 2013-06-07
Movie Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Admiral (voice) 2012-12-02
Movie Jack and the Beanstalk The Giant (voice) 2009-11-06
Movie Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins Papa Jenkins 2008-02-08
Movie John, Paul, George and Ben Narrator 2007-01-05
Movie Earth Narrator 2007-04-22
Series The Big Bang Theory Himself 2007-09-24
Movie The Benchwarmers Darth Vader (voice) 2006-04-07
Movie Scary Movie 4 Narrator (uncredited) 2006-04-12
Series The One Show Unknown 2006-08-14
Movie Click Narrator of Michael's Past (uncredited) 2006-06-23
Movie The Best of The Tony Awards: The Plays Jack Jefferson (segment "The Great White Hope") / Troy Maxson (segment "Fences") 2006-05-02
Movie By Any Means Necessary: The Making of Malcolm X Narrator 2005-02-08
Movie Robots Voice Box at Hardware Store (voice) 2005-03-10
Movie The Reading Room 2005-11-04
Series Deal or No Deal Unknown 2005-12-19
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 Black Indians: An American Story Narrator 2004-01-01
Movie The Story of Star Wars Darth Vader (archive footage) 2004-08-18
Series House Dibala 2004-11-16
Movie No Fighting in the War Room Or: Dr Strangelove and the Nuclear Threat Himself 2004-10-28
Movie Nine Dog Christmas Narrator 2004-10-05
Movie Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy Himself 2004-09-12
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 Two and a Half Men Unknown 2003-09-21
Series Everwood Unknown 2002-09-16
Movie Finder's Fee Avery Phillips 2001-01-01
Movie Disney's American Legends Narrator 2001-02-12
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 Royal Flush Voice (voice) 2001-10-03
Movie Recess Christmas: Miracle On Third Street Mister 2001-11-06
Movie Conan Unchained: The Making of 'Conan' Himself 2000-01-01
Movie The Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove Himself 2000-04-10
Movie Inside: 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb' Himself - 'Lieutenant Lothar Zogg' 2000-05-05
Movie Summer's End Dr. William 'Bill' Blakely 2000-04-18
Movie Our Friend, Martin Daddy King (voice) 1999-01-12
Movie On the Q.T. Leo 1999-04-01
Movie The Annihilation of Fish Fish 1999-01-01
Movie Undercover Angel The Judge 1999-05-16
Movie Fantasia 2000 Himself - Host 1999-12-17
Movie Santa and Pete James Earl Jones 1999-12-05
Series Merlin Rock of Ages 1998-04-26
Series Will & Grace Unknown 1998-09-21
Movie The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Mufasa (voice) 1998-10-24
Movie The Second Civil War Jim Kalla 1997-03-15
Movie Afro Promo Himself (archive footage) 1997-01-31
Series Stargate SG-1 Unas (Voice) 1997-07-27
Movie What the Deaf Man Heard Archibald Thacker 1997-11-23
Movie Alone Grey 1997-12-21
Movie Gang Related Arthur Baylor 1997-10-08
Movie Casper: A Spirited Beginning Kibosh (voice) 1997-09-09
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 A Family Thing Ray Murdock 1996-03-29
Movie Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable Mufasa (voice) 1995-01-21
Series Under One Roof Neb Langston 1995-03-14
Movie Jefferson in Paris Madison Hemings 1995-03-31
Movie Cry, the Beloved Country Rev. Stephen Kumalo 1995-12-15
Movie The First 100 Years: A Celebration of American Movies 1995-06-05
Movie Judge Dredd Narrator (uncredited) 1995-06-30
Movie The Making of 'Jurassic Park' Host 1995-05-09
Movie Confessions: Two Faces of Evil Charles Lloyd 1994-01-17
Movie The Vernon Johns Story Vernon Johns 1994-01-15
Movie Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult James Earl Jones 1994-03-18
Movie The Lion King King Mufasa (voice) 1994-06-23
Movie Clear and Present Danger Admiral James Greer 1994-08-03
Movie Africa: The Serengeti Narrator 1994-03-31
Movie Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics Host 1994-05-19
Movie Clean Slate John Dolby 1994-05-06
Movie Sommersby Judge Barry Conrad Issacs 1993-02-05
Movie Excessive Force Jake 1993-05-14
Series Homicide: Life on the Street Unknown 1993-01-31
Movie The Sandlot Mr. Mertle 1993-04-07
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 Norman Royster 1993-09-16
Series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Franklin Stern 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 Lincoln 1992-12-26
Movie Sneakers NSA Agent Bernard Abbott 1992-09-09
Movie Convicts Ben Johnson 1991-01-01
Movie Visitors from the Unknown Narrator 1991-03-25
Movie True Identity Himself 1991-07-23
Movie Scorchers Bear 1991-07-07
Series Pros and Cons 1991-09-26
Movie The Ambulance Lt. Spencer 1990-03-22
Movie The Hunt for Red October James Greer 1990-03-02
Movie Teach 109 Dr. Winston 1990-01-01
Movie By Dawn's Early Light Looking Glass General - 'Alice' 1990-05-19
Movie Grim Prairie Tales Morrison 1990-09-14
Series Law & Order Attorney Horace McCoy 1990-09-13
Movie Last Flight Out Al Topping 1990-05-22
Series Gabriel's Fire Gabriel Bird 1990-09-12
Movie Ivory Hunters Inspector Nkuru 1990-08-20
Movie Heat Wave Junius Johnson 1990-08-13
Movie Stories to Remember: Noah's Ark Narrator 1989-01-01
Movie Three Fugitives Dugan 1989-01-27
Movie Best of the Best Frank Couzo 1989-11-10
Series The Simpsons Maggie Simpson (voice, as James Earl Boggins Jones) 1989-12-16
Movie Field of Dreams Terrence Mann 1989-04-21
Series Long Ago and Far Away Host 1989-02-11
Movie Terrorgram Retribution (voice) 1988-08-08
Movie Coming to America King Jaffe Joffer 1988-06-29
Movie Gardens of Stone Sgt. Maj.'Goody' Nelson 1987-05-05
Movie Matewan 'Few Clothes' Johnson 1987-08-28
Movie Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night Emperor of the Night (voice) 1987-08-06
Movie Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp Genie / Narrator 1986-07-14
Movie The Lone Star Kid Holmes 1986-02-10
Movie My Little Girl Ike Bailey 1986-08-31
Movie Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold Umslopogaas 1986-12-17
Movie Soul Man Professor Banks 1986-10-24
Series L.A. Law Unknown 1986-09-15
Movie Visual Pathfinders: Robert Abel & Associates 1985-01-01
Series Me and Mom 1985-04-05
Series The Atlanta Child Murders Major Walker 1985-02-10
Movie City Limits Albert 1984-01-01
Movie The Vegas Strip War Jack Madrid 1984-11-25
Movie Return of the Jedi Voice of Darth Vader (voice) 1983-05-25
Movie The Flight of Dragons Ommadon 1982-08-17
Movie Conan the Barbarian Thulsa Doom 1982-04-02
Movie Blood Tide Frye 1982-09-01
Series Faerie Tale Theatre Genie / Narrator 1982-09-11
Movie The Creation Narrator 1981-01-01
Movie God's Trombones Himself - Narrator (segment "The Creation") 1981-01-01
Movie There Was Always Sun Shining Someplace: Life in the Negro Baseball Leagues himself, voice 1981-04-03
Movie The Bushido Blade The Prisoner 1981-11-20
Series Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones Father Divine 1980-04-15
Movie The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader (voice) (uncredited) 1980-05-20
Movie The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story Dane Oliver 1980-05-25
Series CBS Schoolbreak Special Detective Robb 1980-04-19
Movie Paul Robeson Paul Robeson 1979-01-08
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 Making of Star Wars Darth Vader (voice) (uncredited) 1977-09-16
Movie The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened Morris Bird, Jr. 1977-10-26
Movie A Piece of the Action Joshua Burke 1977-10-07
Movie Exorcist II: The Heretic Older Kokumo 1977-06-17
Movie The Last Remake of Beau Geste Sheikh 1977-06-15
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 King Lear King Lear 1974-02-20
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 Malcolm X Biographical Narration (voice) 1972-05-24
Movie End of the Road Doctor D 1970-02-10
Movie King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis Himself 1970-03-24
Movie The Great White Hope Jack Jefferson 1970-10-11
Series Sesame Street Unknown 1969-11-10
Series The Dick Cavett Show Himself - Guest 1968-06-06
Movie The Comedians Dr. Magiot 1967-10-31
Series Tarzan Unknown 1966-09-08
Movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Lt. Lothar Zogg 1964-01-29
Series East Side/West Side Unknown 1963-09-23
Series Dr. Kildare Unknown 1961-09-27
Series The Defenders Unknown 1961-09-16
Series Tony Awards Himself - Nominee / Performer 1956-04-01
Series Hallmark Hall of Fame Unknown 1951-12-24
Series The Ed Sullivan Show Unknown 1948-06-20