IN THE SPOTLIGHT: JAMES EARL JONES OVERCOMING ADVERSITY!
As you may know James Earl Jones is known for many things, including, being the legendary voice of Darth Vader. He has been awarded the John F. Kennedy Centre Honor, as well as the American National Medal of the Arts. In addition, he is the recipient of not only an Oscar, but a Grammy, Emmy, and a Tony award. This amazing man served in the military, graduated from a four year college, and has earned recognition as a great actor, both in movies, and on Broadway. His voice is unmistakable to anyone who knows of him, and his ability to communicate messages to his audience is envied by even the greatest actors. He supports and advocates for literacy in the U.S. and is known by his family, friends, and colleagues for his humility.
What you may not know, is that as a young boy and teenager, James Earl Jones suffered in silence for many years. When he was a young boy, Mr. Jones experienced a severe stutter and was unable to communicate effectively. It is hard to believe a man who is now known for his voice and uncanny ability to communicate well had such a hard time speaking. His stutter became so pronounced, that at one point, he refused to speak and began suffering in silence. As he has stated, “I was a stutterer. I couldn’t talk. So, my first year of school was my first mute year, and then those mute years continued until I got to high school.”
It wasn’t until one day, when one of his teachers encouraged him to participate in speech contests and take acting lessons, that his dream of becoming a fluent speaker was realized. He began writing poetry and taking speaking lessons, working everyday to become one of the best speakers of his time. With some encouragement from his teacher and belief that he could do it, James Earl Jones became the model for effective communication. Today he is known for his voice and impact on audiences through communication. Remember what Mr. Jones has taught us…hard work and belief in yourself makes dreams possible.
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.”