James Earl Jones is an American actor who in a career of more than 50 years has become known as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors and "one of the greatest actors in American history." Since his Broadway debut in 1957, Jones has won many awards, including a Tony Award and Golden Globe Award for his role in The Great White Hope. Jones has won three Emmy Awards, including two in the same year in 1991, and he also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the film version of The Great White Hope. He is also known for his voice acting, most notably as Darth Vader in the Star Wars film series and Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King, as well as in many other film, stage, and television roles.
As a child Jones overcame a stutter that lasted for several years. A pre-med major in college, he went on to serve as a U.S. Army Ranger during the Korean War, before dedicating his career to acting.
On November 12, 2011, he received an Honorary Academy Award.
Jones, known as "The Voice" for the authoritative basso he has lent to Darth Vader and countless other stage and screen roles, had to overcome a major speech impediment on his way to stardom: stuttering. "My voice is an impaired instrument,'' says the actor. "I'm happy that any clarity comes out at all. Growing up, it was so painful and embarrassing. I knew why people laughed but it was still painful."
Jones, who still fumbles over words occasionally, compensated by writing poetry. One day, a school bully dared him to read a poem in front of the class without stuttering. Jones rose to the challenge. "It had rhythm. It was good poetry. And my honor depended on it."
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