Tuesday, February 17, 2015

James Earl Jones Captures Lifetime Achievement Award

James Earl Jones

Is there a more distinctive voice in all of Hollywood than James Earl Jones? Hardly. But don't get me wrong: DC Outlook doesn't throw around Lifetime Achievement Awards based solely on voiceovers. The four prior winners (Gene Hackman, Kirk DouglasChristopher Lee and Clint Eastwood) make up a who's who of acting royalty; and it's only fitting that Jones should join them. The 84-year-old gentle giant has won many awards (Emmys, Golden Globes and Tonys... even an honorary Oscar back in 2011) yet we can't help but hope he still has room on his mantle for a Red Apple.

This year's Teacher's Pet Awards (its' fifth annual) featured a great deal of indecision; but the choice of Jones as our Lifetime Achievement Award was nothing short of easy. I remember him fondly as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars; but that was merely one of his many memorable performances... all others, coming in front of the camera. He was hardly recognizable as a young bombardier in 1964's Dr. Strangelove, before earning a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work in 1970's The Great White Hope. Early on, it was clear that Jones could handle the enormous task of portraying great heroes (Jack Johnson, Malcolm X) or even greater villains (the aforementioned Darth Vader.) In between (and after) he battled Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian, dispensed fatherly advice in Coming to America and fulfilled a prophecy in Field of Dreams.

Then came his first of three appearances as Admiral James Greer in The Hunt for Red October, perhaps one of my favorite characters of all-time. Who wouldn't want to work for a guy like Greer? His career has spanned over six decades; and each appearance simply defies time. Sure he's a little grayer than before; but he still sends chills down your spine whenever he speaks or enters a room.

Bowler hat "showdown" with Muhammad Ali

It's hard to imagine Hollywood without him; and thankfully that's not the case. He stole the show opposite Vanessa Hudgens in 2013's Gimme Shelter; and just last year appeared in The Angriest Man in Brooklyn with fellow Oscar winners Robin Williams and Melissa Leo. If only there was a way to sneak him back into Star Wars: The Force Awakens...

Jones has been married to fellow actor Cecilia Hart for over 30 years. They have one child (son Flynn.) Until next year, and another legend...