Jones, James Earl

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Actor James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 to Robert Earl Jones and Ruth Connolly in Arkabutla, Mississippi. When Jones was five years old, his family moved to Dublin, Michigan. He graduated from Dickson High School in Brethren, Michigan in 1949. In 1953, Jones participated in productions at Manistee Summer Theatre. After serving in the U.S. Army for two years, Jones received his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1955.

Following graduation, Jones relocated to New York City where he studied acting at the American Theatre Wing. Jones' first speaking role on Broadway was as the valet inSunrise at Campobelloin 1958. Then, in 1960, Jones acted in the Shakespeare in Central Park production ofHenry Vwhile also playing the lead in the off-Broadway production ofThe Pretender. Geraldine Lust cast Jones in Jean Genet'sThe Blacksin the following year. In 1963, Jones made his feature film debut as Lt. Lothar Zogg inDr. Strangelove, directed by Stanley Kubrick. In 1964, Joseph Papp cast Jones as Othello for the Shakespeare in Central Park production ofOthello. Jones portrayed champion boxer Jack Jefferson in the playThe Great White Hopein 1969, and again in the 1970 film adaptation. His leading film performances of the 1970s includeThe Man(1972),Claudine(1974),The River Niger(1975) andThe Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings(1976). In 1974, Jones portrayed Lennie inOf Mice and Menon Broadway. Jones also voiced the iconic character Darth Vader in the 1977 movieStar Wars, returning to the role in the subsequent sequels,The Empire Strikes BackandReturn of the Jedi. Jones portrayed Troy Maxson in the original Broadway production ofFencesin 1987. Two years later, he appeared in the movieField of Dreams, and was cast as the lead character on the television showGabriel's Fire. Jones provided the voice for Mufasa in the 1994 animated Disney filmThe Lion King. He returned to the Broadway stage in 2005, starring inOn Golden Pond. He then appeared inCat on a Hot Tin Roofin 2008, and acted in productions of Driving Miss Daisy alongside Vanessa Redgrave in London in 2011 and Angela Lansbury in Australia in 2013. He also appeared with Cicely Tyson in a 2015 revival ofThe Gin Game.

Jones won his first Tony Award in 1969 forThe Great White Hope. He then received his second Tony Award for his portrayal of Troy Maxson inFences. In 1991, Jones received Emmy Awards for his roles inGabriel's FireandHeat Wave. In recognition of his fifty plus years in acting, Jones received an Honorary Academy Award in 2011.

Jones has one child, Flynn Earl Jones, with his late wife, actress Cecilia Hart.

James Earl Jones was interviewed byThe HistoryMakerson August 10, 2016.

From The HistoryMakers™ biography: https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/A2016.007

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Souvenir programs for theatrical productions, 1906-2005. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Photographs: Index. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Radio Spot Announcements United States. National Archives and Records Administration
referencedIn Borrello, Alfred. Papers, 1946-1988. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
referencedIn Charles Henry Alston Papers, 1930s-1990s (bulk 1930s-1970s) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
referencedIn Gotfryd, Bernard. Bernard Gotfryd Photograph Collection [graphic] / Bernard Gotfryd. New-York Historical Society Library
referencedIn Sue Brandt McBee Collection of African American Culture AR. 2001. 020., 1980-2003., 1950-2003. Austin History Center, Austin Public Library..
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Alumni Association (University of Michigan), Individual Photographs, ca. 1880-ca. 1960s Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf La Salle, Eriq, 1962-.... L'étoile du Bronx : la naissance d'une légende / Eriq La Salle, réal. ; Alan Swyer, Larry Golin, scénario ; Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Michael Beach... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Barwood, Hal. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings : [screenplay] / by Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins ; adapted from the novel by William Brashler. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn University of Central Florida Scrapbook Collection, 1960-2009 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries,
creatorOf La Salle, Eriq, 1962-.... L'étoile du Bronx : la naissance d'une légende / Eriq La Salle, réal. ; Alan Swyer, Larry Golin, scénario ; Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Michael Beach... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Barwood, Hal. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings : [screenplay] / by Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins ; adapted from the novel by William Brashler. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Lucy Kroll Papers, 1908-1998, (bulk 1950-1990) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn James E. Hinton Collection, 1968-1992 : Finding Aid Harvard Film Archive, Fine Arts Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Kennedy, Adrienne. Papers, ca. 1954-1992. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn New York Shakespeare Festival records. Series VI: Development Office, 1954-1989 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf James Earl Jones collection, 1972-1973 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf Veber, Francis, 1937-.... Les trois fugitifs / Francis Veber, réal., scénario ; David McHugh, comp. ; Nick Nolte, Martin Short, James Earl Jones... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Jones, James Earl. Seminars with James Earl Jones, actor. Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Kroll, Lucy. Lucy Kroll papers, 1908-1998 (bulk 1950-1990). Library of Congress
creatorOf Veber, Francis, 1937-.... Les trois fugitifs / Francis Veber, réal., scénario ; David McHugh, comp. ; Nick Nolte, Martin Short, James Earl Jones... [et al.], act. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983. Cat on a hot tin roof / [by Tennessee Williams,] 2008. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Ben Shaktman Papers, 1949-2009 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Gill, Glenda Eloise. Glenda Gill collection. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn The Daily Worker and The Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
referencedIn Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977. Charles Henry Alston papers, 1930s-1990s (bulk 1930s-1970s). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Jones, James Earl. James Earl Jones papers, 1972-1973. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Arthur Unger collection of recorded interviews [sound recording] The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The HistoryMakers Video Oral History with James Earl Jones The HistoryMakers
Relation Name
associatedWith Alston, Charles Henry, 1907-1977. person
associatedWith Barwood, Hal. person
associatedWith Borrello, Alfred. corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Fuller, John person
associatedWith Fuller, John, person
associatedWith Gill, Glenda Eloise. person
associatedWith Gotfryd, Bernard person
associatedWith Hill, Barney person
associatedWith Hill, Barney. person
associatedWith Hill, Betty person
associatedWith Hill, Betty. person
associatedWith Jeffry, Alix person
associatedWith John, Errol. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Adrienne. person
associatedWith Kroll, Lucy. person
associatedWith Lortel, Lucille person
associatedWith McBee, Sue Brandt corporateBody
associatedWith New York Shakespeare Festival corporateBody
associatedWith Office for the Arts at Harvard & Radcliffe. corporateBody
associatedWith Papp, Joseph person
associatedWith Saddler, Donald person
associatedWith Shaktman, Ben, 1937- person
associatedWith Unger, Arthur person
associatedWith University of Michigan. Alumni Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Arkabutla (Miss.)
Pawling (N.Y.)
Subject
African Americans in the motion picture industry
Unidentified flying objects--Sightings and encounters
Occupation
African American actors
Afro--American actors
Actor
Actors
Function

Person

Birth 1931-01-17

Birth 19310117

Americans

English

Information

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