Actor James Earl Jones

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on August 3, 2003

I want to know about my favorite actor, James Earl Jones. I love his voice. Does he play any musical instruments?
—Kelly S., Ohio

Despite the dulcet tones of the voice moviegoers everywhere recognize as that of the evil Darth Vader in Star Wars, James Earl Jones does not play a musical instrument. Jones, who stays busy these days as the spokesman for Verizon Wireless, was born in Arkabutla, Miss., and grew up in Dublin, Mich. As a child, he stuttered so badly that he barely spoke for eight years. A high school English teacher who discovered the young man had a gift for poetry insisted that Jones recite a poem to the class each day. He also took acting lessons as a child to overcome the problem. Jones, 72, has appeared in almost 200 movies and television shows. He won a Tony award in 1959 for his role as a prizefighter in The Great White Hope, a role he played in the film version. The actor, who was a Kennedy Center honoree last year, does the voiceovers for CNN and Bell Atlantic.