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James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is an American actor. He has been described as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors for his performances on stage and screen, and "one of the greatest actors in American history". His deep voice has been praised as a "a stirring basso profondo that has lent gravel and gravitas" to his projects. Over his career, he has received three Tony Awards, two Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1985. He was honored with the National Medal of Arts in 1992, the Kennedy Center Honor in 2002, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2009 and the Honorary Academy Award in 2011.

Suffering from a stutter in childhood, Jones has said that poetry and acting helped him overcome the disability. A pre-med major in college, he served in the United States Army during the Korean War before pursuing a career in acting. Since his Broadway debut in 1957, he has performed in several Shakespeare plays including Othello, Hamlet, Coriolanus, and King Lear. Jones worked steadily in theater winning his first Tony Award in 1968 for his role in The Great White Hope, which he reprised in the 1970 film adaptation earning him Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

Jones won his second Tony Award in 1987 for his role in August Wilson's Fences. He was further Tony nominated for his roles in On Golden Pond (2005), and The Best Man (2012). Other Broadway performances include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2008), Driving Miss Daisy (2010–2011), You Can't Take It with You (2014), and The Gin Game (2015–2016). He received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2017.

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