James Earl Jones

A Man Who Did Incredible Things


James Earl Jones is a famous African American actor who has been in many incredible movies and plays and he was the voice behind the character Darth Vader. By being a great actor he has helped change people’s attitudes towards African Americans.


On January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi James Earl Jones was born. Sadly, his dad Robert Earl left him to become a boxer leaving his mom Ruth Jones to take care of him by herself. Then, his mom went to Delta, Mississippi to find a job. James’s mom barely ever got to see her son who she adored. His grandmother adopted him because his parents abandoned Jones.James ended up living on a very poor farm where his great, great Grandfather was a slave.

When he was a kid, he was very curious about the world. Unfortunately he stuttered which made him have a communication problem. When he was in high school his english teacher made him memorize speeches, and enter speaking contests, which successfully cured his stuttering.


James Earl Jones went to the University of Michigan and graduated in 1953. Also in 1953 he joined the army and became a U.S. ranger. After the time he spent in the army, he went to acting classes in New York. While living in New York, when Jones was 21 years old, he met his dad for the first time. In 1957 he got a professional role for the first time in a movie. In 1960 Jones became the first African American man who was in the daytime soap opera As the World Turns. In addition, in 1963 he acted in the play of Othello. In New York he acted in the great Shakespeare festival as Henry in Henry the V. He also won the role as the boxer in the award winning movie the ’’Great White Hope.’’ He was in one of the dramatic movies made called Malcom X, and in 1982 he was in the movie Conan, the Barbarian. He had major roles in other movies including Field of Dreams, Patriot Games, Sommersh, The Sand Lot, and so many other films. On Broadway in New York he starred in Hamlet and Of Mice and Men. Sadly Jones’s health was bad and he had to take a break from acting.


James Earl Jones has accomplished many things in his acting career that only a few people in the world have done. The movie The Great White Hope became a success and he was nominated for an Academy Award for this role in 1971. Jones got a Tony award for the play, The Great White Hope in 1969 and then again in 1987 for a play called Fences. In 1992 he won the NAACP Hall of Fame Image Award. Also, he was the voice of Darth Vader in the amazing Star Wars series, and the voice of Mufasa in The Lion King. In 2011, he received the Honorary Award from the Academy Award committee and a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011 he got the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Monte Cristo Award. He shared his accomplishments with his two wonderful wives and one kid named Flynn. He married his first wife in 1964 who was an actress named Julienne Marie, and, then married his second wife named Cecilia Hart 1982. When Jones was a kid he had two goals that he accomplished. He wanted to be the best actor when he grew up, and, he wanted to go to a college. When he got older he had a goal to be the boxer in the movie the Great White Hope because it reminded him of his father. Also, the most important thing he did in the world is show all Americans a positive image of African Americans.


Jones, James Earl and Niven, Penelope. "James Earl Jones Voices and Silences." New York: Maxwell Macmillion International, 1993.


"Academy of Achievement." 18, March 2013 http://www.achievement.org

Fenell Zachary, "How to Write a Bibliography for the Internet." e-how, 29, March 2013 www.e-how.com/print/how_5163745_write-internet-bibliography.html

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James Earl Jones On Being The Voice Of Darth Vader