Jones, James Earl, 1931–, American actor, b. Tate co., Miss. Jones made his stage debut at the Univ. of Michigan and appeared thereafter for seven years with the New York Shakespeare Festival in Macbeth (1962), Othello (1963), and King Lear (1973), among many others. He achieved Broadway stardom with his powerful portrayal of the fighter Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope (1968). He also appeared on Broadway in The Iceman Cometh (1973), Of Mice and Men (1974), and Athol Fugard "s A Lesson from Aloes (1980). He returned triumphantly to the stage in August Wilson "s Pulitzer Prize–winning Fences (1987). Jones has had supporting roles in numerous films, most notably as the voice of the villain Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983).
See his autobiography (1993, with P. Niven).