Happy 91st Birthday To The Man With The Golden Voice, James Earl Jones

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James Earl Jones is a guy that most people know, but I don't think everyone funny appreciates how prolific his career has been. Lets take a look at this guys crazy life. 

He was born in 1931 and grew up with his grandparents on a farm in Michigan after his father left the family. He works his way through a severe childhood stutter and eventually attends the University of Michigan as a pre-med student while also enrolling in ROTC. He changes his focus from pre-med to acting, but that gets put on hold when he has to report to training for the Korean War. He gets his commission after the war ends, but also goes to ranger school and earns his Ranger Tab. He is promoted to first lieutenant before being discharged. Then he moved to New York to study acting, and had to work as a janitor to support himself. 

In the 60's he worked his way through the stage world, eventually becoming one of the most well renowned Shakespearian actors in the business. This helps him get cast in the legendary Kubrick movie 'Dr. Strangelove', easily one of the best an most influential comedies ever made. Around this time, he also helped make a bunch of test footage for Sesame Street, and his clips ended up being the ones that tested the most positively. This dude helped make sesame street! And to put a bow on that decade, he also won a Tony in 1967. 

In the 70's he continued crushing Broadway. He starred in the film adaptation of 'The Great White Hope', earning the second ever Oscar nomination for best actor by an african-american after the late Sidney Poitier. He also won a Grammy for best spoken word album in 1977. That same year, he decides to take a role in a little sci fi movie called 'Star Wars: A New Hope' and delivers one of the most iconic voices of all time to one of the most iconic villains. Imagine if they kept Darth Vader's original, English-accented voice from Vader's body, David Prowse? Literally all of Star Wars might have failed. 


In the 80s, he lands the big role of Troy in the play 'Fences'. This ended up being one of most well-regarded performances ever. In film, he stars in 3 of my favorite movies of the period in 'Conan the barbarian', 'Coming to America' and 'Field of Dreams'. 

Man, that speech in Field of Dreams was absolutely killer. And what he was able to do in Conan with just a look was incredible. Anyway, in the 90's, he grabs up a bunch more incredible movie roles. Mufasa remains the stand out that I'm sure all of you know and love, but his role as Mr. Mertle in 'The Sandlot' might be even better. He also managed to win 2 Emmys in the same year in 1991 for Best actor and supporting actor in 'Gabriel's Fire' and 'Heat Wave'. He also voiced the narrator in the first ever Treehouse of Horror for 'The Simpsons'. 

In the 2000s and 2010's, he continued guest starring in a bunch of well received TV episodes while also heading the casts of a few more very well received plays. He reprised the voice of Darth Vader for a few Star Wars properties as well as the role of Mufasa for the live action Lion King. He also reprised the role of King Jaffe in 'Coming 2 America'. In 2011, he won the lifetime achievement award at the Oscars, giving him a technical EGOT(Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). 

The man has had an absolutely legendary career and a really interesting life. Cheers to another year, king! 

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