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Thursday's Connector of the Day – James Earl Jones

January 5th, 2010
04:01 PM ET

It is for his sonorous bass voice that most people recognize James Earl Jones.

The American actor of stage and screen is best known for speaking the roles of Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” films and Mufasa in “The Lion King.”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/05/earljones.art.jpg caption="The voice of Darth Vader: James Earl Jones"]

Known for his humility, Jones declined to have his name appear on the credits of both “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” claiming that he felt his contribution wasn't significant enough to warrant a mention. He did eventually bow to pressure and agree to have his name appear of the credits for the third Star Wars film: “Return of the Jedi.”

Born in 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, Earl Jones didn't always boast such a commanding voice. In fact, he suffered from a stutter in early life and took acting lessons to help control it. He has since made a career of the impressive authoritative voice, and is heard by millions every day intoning “This is CNN” on our network.

He has starred in many movies over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic “Dr Strangelove”. He has since been seen on screen in “Field of Dreams,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games.”

As a Tony award winning stage actor (for his performance in “The Great White Hope” in 1968, Jones is treading the boards again. Currently appearing in London’s West End, as Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” recently transferred from Broadway.

Send your comemnts about James Earl Jones here.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. cybercarbon

    You do have a great voice, however you have played some great roles, one of my favorites was in the "Sandlot" you really brought the whole film alive. Which brings me to a question, I assume you are a baseball fan, and if so who is your favorite team, and your all time favorite player and why? Thank you for putting so much of yourself into your work, I personally look forward to any project you are involved with. Thanks again

    January 5, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  2. Jacob A Jimenez

    Mr. Jones currently there is less than one percent of the US population serving in the military. What was your hardest experience while in uniform and what advice would you give to people who want to serve in uniform.?

    January 6, 2010 at 12:32 am | Reply
  3. David Ramos

    I agree with Cybercarbon. I got to see the original Star Wars saga on the 1970's and 1980's, Your voice gave a tremendous impact on the Darth Vader character, and I think that 80% of the character itself it's the voice. Are there any similar projects in the future, particularly I prefer the original english language (I'm a Mexican). Anf I saw recently Your character as the african dictator D'bala on House, What is Your point of view regarding the decision made by House's medical team.
    Best Regards

    David Rmos

    January 6, 2010 at 12:41 am | Reply
  4. Brian

    I have always enjoy seeing you on the big screen with my favorite being "A Family Thing". Is it hard playing roles in which you have to deal with bigotry?

    January 6, 2010 at 12:43 am | Reply
  5. Rob Wilson

    Politics , War & Economics are huge on most peoples minds these days around the Globe....If you could give advice to the US President, What would it be? Thank you, love your work!

    January 6, 2010 at 12:47 am | Reply
  6. Orville Boutilier

    First one comment: I will buy, rent, or go to any movie in which Mr. Jones appears. I congratulate you on your craft, your art and your transparency.

    My question: How has the profession of acting changed since you've been in the business? Is the craft as demanding from an artistic view now or have people become more willing to accept a more shallow performance, or are they more easily entertained?

    January 6, 2010 at 1:22 am | Reply
  7. Ken in Sweden

    Mr. Jones, You have been witness to huge changes in the socio-economic and socio-political landscape in the US and globally during your lifetime. In this context, what role or roles were most important to you on a personal and moral level, and why? How did the characters you played in these roles change your life?

    January 6, 2010 at 1:25 am | Reply
  8. Ed the Red

    Is there anyone who recognize you through your voice without knowing that you are the one who dubbed Dart Vadder's voice?

    January 6, 2010 at 1:46 am | Reply
  9. Laura

    i have always admired your wide-ranging work, as well as the sense one gets that you are a good person.

    so i'd like to ask you to talk about something that 's important to you:
    what is your biggest passion in life, and what would you like to tell people about that?

    peace and blessings

    January 6, 2010 at 1:50 am | Reply
  10. doctorsinn

    Mr. Jones,

    Have you ever directed? I have enjoyed you on film, broadway and television. Do you ever thing there will be a Claudine part 2? What are your thoughts on the hollywood of today?

    January 6, 2010 at 1:59 am | Reply


    January 6, 2010 at 2:23 am | Reply
  12. Jason

    Which voice on television or in movies is your favorite?

    January 6, 2010 at 2:24 am | Reply
  13. Bill

    You have such a distinct and recognizable voice. Are you ever frustrated that it is your voice and not your acting skills that is recognized most?

    I love your character in "Field of Dreams". The baseball speech is a classic!

    January 6, 2010 at 3:00 am | Reply
  14. Lucy Corne

    In the movie of your life story, who would you like to do the voiceover?

    January 6, 2010 at 3:15 am | Reply
  15. John Baisey

    Of all the outstanding roles you got to play what was your favorite? Thank you for entertaining us over the years. It was a privilege to see you perform.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:09 am | Reply
  16. Zach, China

    Am always interested when I hear the name, James Earl Jones.
    Was your voice as deep when you were a teenager?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:16 am | Reply
  17. vince ydrach

    With such a magnificent voice, have u ever trained as a singer?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:41 am | Reply
  18. John

    Will you do the message on my answering machine?

    January 6, 2010 at 6:08 am | Reply
  19. Jim

    When you starred in "The Man" in 1972 did you think that the first African American president would come as quickly as it did? Did you think it would be sooner?

    January 6, 2010 at 6:45 am | Reply
  20. ike

    any chance of an animated red october remake? in 3D

    January 6, 2010 at 6:48 am | Reply
  21. DJ Woolley

    Mr Jones – your bravery, emotional availability and range as an actor are an ongoing inspiration to those following in your footsteps – on both sides of the pond. if you could go back in time to speak to your younger self, would you do it? And if so, what would you say?

    January 6, 2010 at 7:33 am | Reply
  22. Ernie DeOcampo

    What is the best direction for the health as far as the republican party is concern?

    If they do know, why did they failed to implement it during the Bush tenure?

    The bottomline is, it is all politics no matter what they say.

    Whether it is Democrat or Republican the color is the same because they all are color blind

    January 6, 2010 at 8:27 am | Reply
  23. Paulo

    Hello, Mr. Jones.
    Do you secretly play/joke with Darth Vader's voice? What do you do?

    January 6, 2010 at 10:30 am | Reply
  24. Gilles

    Mr. Jones – thank you for sharing a part of yourself through your many roles.
    What was your first impression when you were presented with the idea of doing the voice of Darth Vader? Did you think it would work? Where you able to hear the dialogue as spoken by Mr. Prowse during the filming and how did you adapt to not having a physical presence in the scenes? Have a very healthy and happy 2010.

    January 6, 2010 at 10:53 am | Reply
  25. sadiq moore

    mr jones its so so great to know that ur voice is that of dart vader me and my nigerian friends have always wanted to find out,u are awonderfull inspiration to other actors back home .

    January 6, 2010 at 11:26 am | Reply
  26. bryan jao

    Im one of your fans here in the Philippines. Just wanted to know if there was a role in a movie or tv show that you wish youcould have played? What was it? Thank you and "Mabuhay ka, Ginoong Jones!"

    January 6, 2010 at 11:29 am | Reply
  27. Kwame Antwi (scotttish)

    How on earth did you become so so good in your acting roles?
    I just love that croaky voice.
    It's truely a manly person's voice.
    Hey, i love your extemporaneous manner of speech all the time you're on set – bravo sir!
    I guess you'll love to give your loyal fans tip bits of your endowments. Grasis Senior for accepting in advance.

    January 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  28. James W. Hawkins

    Regarding your phenomenal success, how much credit do YOU attribute to your voice?

    Woody in Alexandria, Egypt

    January 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  29. Troy Barrett

    How did you become "the voice of CNN"?

    January 7, 2010 at 7:31 am | Reply
  30. Kagiso Sebele

    Your character as Roscoe Jenkins (Martin Lawrence) Father was very very serious and strict to your son, would you say it is good or over the daddymanship. You're legend

    January 7, 2010 at 8:48 am | Reply
  31. Kagiso Sebele

    Your character as Roscoe Jenkins (Martin Lawrence) Father was very very serious and strict to your son, would you say it is good or over the top daddymanship. You're legend

    Gaborone, Botswana

    January 7, 2010 at 8:51 am | Reply
  32. Peter Szucs (H)

    What's your favorite character? The Force be with you.

    Peter Szucs, Hungary

    January 7, 2010 at 9:25 am | Reply
  33. Orchid Chatter

    First and foremost. I am honored that I may have the chance to converse with you. I have followed your films as well as acheivements. With the young and aspiring actors coming to age. I hope they have learned much from all, especially from you. Hoping to see and hear more of you. Be blessed you are awesome in my book.
    Thank you once again.

    Orchid, United States

    January 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  34. John DeOliveira

    With a voice like yours, did you ever made the voice of God on any movie?
    I think it would be even stonger and more omnipotent than John Huston's voice.
    Thank you for the pleasure of listening a voice like yours, even if it is in commercial like the one you use to do for a telephone company

    January 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  35. Mr daniel freeman

    I luv ur modes of operation.

    January 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Reply

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