The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced today that James Earl Jones, whose acting prowess and iconic voice are world-renown, will receive the Guild’s most prestigious accolade—the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. Jones will be presented the Award, given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” at the “15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®,” which premieres live on TNT and TBS Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT and 6 p.m. MT.
In making today’s announcement, SAG President Alan Rosenberg said, “James Earl Jones’ distinguished career on stage, in film, on television, in commercials and as a vocal presence without peer commands our admiration and respect. His long and quiet devotion to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a national and local scale deserves our appreciation. It is our honor to bestow the Guild’s highest tribute on this extraordinary actor.
Listening to Jones’ voice—recognized around the world—one would never guess that he spent his childhood as a virtual mute because of a severe stuttering problem. With the help of an outstanding high school teacher, Donald Crouch, Jones overcame his stutter and transformed his weakness into his greatest strength.
Today, Jones’ voice is known by people of all ages and walks of life—the “Star Wars” fans who know him as the voice of Darth Vader, children who know him as Mufasa from Disney’s “The Lion King,” those who hear him intone “This is CNN” while watching the news and the countless people who use Verizon phone services, for which he was the exclusive spokesperson for many years.