James Earl Jones is perhaps one of America's best-known and most talented actors. He's starred in iconic roles, set the bar with his performances, and he is immediately recognizable no matter what he's appearing in. However, while his face and voice are unmistakable to the movie-going public there are a lot of things that Jones has done which his fans might not know about. For instance:
He Became An Actor To Overcome A Stutter
Despite the fact that his voice is his trademark, James Earl Jones has struggled his entire life with a stuttering problem. When he was a young student he was particularly quiet, and at times would refuse to talk because he was so afraid of stuttering. When his teacher had him read a poem he wrote, "Ode to Grapefruit" in front of the class Jones found he could speak clearly from memory. This led into him using acting as well as speaking parts he'd memorized as a way to help him deal with his speech problem. Judging from his current performances it's a method that has worked phenomenally.
Served His Country... In The Army Rangers
As alluded to in the behind the scenes interviews for the film "Conan The Barbarian", James Early Jones served in the armed forces when he was younger. Jones served with the 75th Rangers Regiment, which gave him a lot of experience in dealing with things like dry desert climates, hearty physical regimens and even handling the massive snakes that were both his props and his co-stars in the epic sword and sorcery film.
Interestingly, Jones isn't the only actor to have such an interesting career with the armed forces. Sir Christopher Lee, who played the Star Wars villain Count Dooku in the prequel films, was a serving member of the S.A.S. (Britain's special forces). With that much sheer badass on the side of the Empire, it's a wonder the good guys won the fight at all by movie six.
Got Famous For Sounding Famous
James Earl Jones is perhaps most famous for being the voice of Darth Vader. Even if he was humble enough that he refused to be credited for Star Wars films four and five, his voice is often what people think of when they think of the imposing Sith Lord. When George Lucas was looking for a voice actor to bring across the presence of Lord Vader his initial thought was to cast Orson Welles. However, because Welles was just too well known (he'd been The Shadow and Moriarty, along with a hundred other roles), Lucas started looking for someone that had the same presence in his voice but who was relatively unknown. Jones was the man who fit the bill, and from there on out the rest is history.
He's an EGOT
Most people don't know what the term "EGOT" means, and with good reason; only fourteen individuals can be described using those letters in that particular order. It refers to individuals who have won at least one of all four major entertainment awards; an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. That's very distinguished company, especially for an actor that people associate with sci-fi bad guys and the voice of the King James Bible.