James Earl Jones is one of the most accomplished and esteemed actors of our time. In addition to being a major player on Broadway, he’s appeared in more than 80 movies and is the voice of one of the most iconic villains on the silver screen. So where is he now? Here’s an update on James Earl Jones’s health, as well as an overview of his remarkable career.
Jones’ Career Began Over 65 Years Ago
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, James Earl Jones started his career in theater in the late ’50s. Over time, he gained a reputation as a prominent Shakespearean actor, appearing in productions of Othello, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Hamlet. He also worked on Broadway in the 1967 play The Great White Hope, which was adapted into a film in 1970. Jones won his first Academy Award for that performance, which kicked off a successful film career on top of his growing stage accomplishments.
Over the past six decades, Jones has appeared in scores of movies, including Claudine, Field of Dreams, Coming to America, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Cry, and Primary Colors. He’s also become world-famous for being the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars film franchise and was the voice of Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride.
Over the span of his seven-decade career, James Earl Jones has racked up many awards. He’s earned three Tony Awards, two Emmy Awards, one Grammy Award (for a spoken-word recording), and an honorary Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. This makes him one of the few actors to have achieved EGOT status, winning all four of the major entertainment awards (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Other famous EGOTs include Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Mel Brooks, Jennifer Hudson, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Is He Still Acting Today?
At over 90 years old, James Earl Jones is still going strong. His latest stage performance was in a Broadway production of The Gin Game, which ran from 2015 until 2016. In 2019, he reprised his voiceover role as Mufasa in the live-action Lion King movie, and in 2021, he appeared in the long-awaited Coming to America sequel, Coming 2 America. Jones also continues to voice Darth Vader in Star Wars movies like Rogue One and The Rise of Skywalker—which is something the actor says he never expected to be doing for so long. When he first nabbed the voiceover job back in 1977, all he signed up for was a couple hours of work.
“One of those summers that I was broke again, my agent called and said, ‘Do you want a day’s work doing some voiceover?’ I said, ‘Yeah, sure!’” Jones explained in a 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “So I went to work, and we did it in two and a half hours. I got paid seven thousand dollars for it. Nobody at that time knew that it would become a cult hit… I’m very happy to be a part of that cult, even though I didn’t get paid a lot for it.”
Is He Still In Good Health?
As far as we know, James Earl Jones is in good health for his age. While he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the mid-’90s, the actor learned to manage the chronic condition with diet and exercise, and he appears to continue to do so. “I can live to the extent that I can do all the work I used to do 10 years ago,” he said in a 2018 interview with Good Housekeeping. “I love working, and at my age, I still love being able to put in eight shows a week on a play or handle a long schedule if I’m doing film or television. I didn’t want that to stop, so I had to take responsibility with my condition.”
Jones also doesn’t seem to be fearful about getting older. In an email to USA Today on his 90th birthday, the actor said he was “feeling fantastic and grateful at 90 years old. Looking back at my life and extensive career, I am so proud of my work and accomplishments. I love growing older and wiser with time.”