James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is an American actor. Since his Broadway debut in 1957, Jones has spent more than five decades as 'one of America's most distinguished and versatile actors' and has been termed 'one of the greatest actors in American history.' On November 12, 2011, Jones received an Honorary Academy Award. James Earl Jones was born in Arkabutla, Mississippi, son of Robert Earl Jones (-), an actor, boxer, butler, and chauffeur who left the family shortly after James Earl's birth, and his wife Ruth (Connolly) Jones, a teacher and maid. Jones and his father reconciled many years later. Jones was raised by his maternal grandparents, farmers John Henry and Maggie Connolly. He is multiracial, with African, Irish, and Native American ancestry. Jones describes his grandmother, Maggie, as 'the most racist person I have ever known', thus forcing him to develop his own independent thinking. His grandmother was of Cherokee, Choctaw, and black ancestry.
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