From Conan the Barbarian and the man behind the voice of DARTH VADER
July 31, 2001
JAMES EARL JONES (Ray Murdock) is a distinguished actor who has earned numerous awards for his work on both the screen and the stage. Early in his career, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his powerful performance in The Great White Hope, in which he reprised his Tony Award-winning role of a famed prize fighter. He more recently collected a second Tony for his work in the Broadway production of August Wilson's "Fences."
Jones has also won four Emmy Awards, the most recent for the series "Gabriel's Fire" and the TNT movie "Heat Wave." This year, he was honored by his peers with a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in Cry the Beloved Country. His other tributes include a Golden Globe, two Cable ACE Awards, two Obie Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, a Grammy and an NAACP Image Award.
Jones made his first big screen appearance in Stanley Kubrick's 1964 satire Dr. Strangelove. Contemporary movie audiences know him better for his work in such films as Field of Dreams, Sneakers, Sommersby and the successful triad of Tom Clancy screen adaptations: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Jones has also lent his commanding voice to the incarnations of the evil Darth Vader in the mega-hit Star Wars trilogy, and King Mufasa in the animated blockbuster The Lion King.
His long list of film credits also includes The Comedians, The End of the Road, The Man (playing the first African-American President), Claudine, The River Niger, Exorcist II, The Greatest, Conan the Barbarian, Soul Man, Gardens of Stone, Coming to America, Matewan, The Meteor Man and Clean Slate. Since the beginning of his career, Jones has been a formidable presence on some of the most prestigious stages in the American theatre. His extensive stage repertoire includes productions of "Master Harold...and the Boys," "The Iceman Cometh," "A Lesson From Aloes," "Hedda Gabler," "The Cherry Orchard," "Of Mice and Men," "Danton's Death," "Baal," "The Emperor Jones," "Paul Robeson," "The Blood Knot," "Toys in the Attic," "Clandestine in the Morning," "Moon on the Rainbow Shawl" and "The Apple." He also enjoyed a long association with the New York Shakespeare Festival, appearing in a number of Shakespearean productions.
Jones' myriad cable and network television credits include such longform projects as "By Dawn's Early Light," "Third and Oak," "The Vernon Johns Story," "Percy and Thunder," "Guyana Tragedy," "The Atlanta Child Murders," "Roots: The Next Generation" as Alex Haley, "AT&T Presents The Last Flight Out" and "Under One Roof," for which he recently earned his seventh Emmy nomination.
Jones holds honorary doctorates from Yale, Princeton and Columbia and, in 1992, was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bush.
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