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James Earl Jones

One of the preeminent stage and screen performers of his generation, award-winning actor James Earl Jones primarily functioned as a high-quality supporting player after a brief run in the 1970s as a leading man. But more famous than any onscreen role was his deep, resonant voice that first gave authority and menace to Darth Vader in "Star Wars" (1977), "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Return of the Jedi" (1983) - a startling achievement due to his overcoming a debilitating childhood stutter that remained with him throughout his career. Prior to his iconic voice performance in "Star Wars," he made a name for himself on the stage, especially in Shakespearean roles not normally associated with being played by African-Americans. Once his voice became famous, it was only a matter of time until his face became renowned as well, which happened after appearing in a range of movies, from John Sayles' small independent "Matewan" (1987) to "Field of Dreams" (1989) to a trio of blockbusters based on the novels of Tom Clancy, "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "Patriot Games" (1992) and "Clear and Present Danger" (1994).
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