James Earl Jones has received a great honor

James Earl Jones now has a Broadway theater named after him.

by Mark Mackie | published

If you were a fan of movies in the 1980s and 1990s, you know him as Terrence Mann field of dreamsKing Jaffa Joffer Inn coming to America, or Admiral James Greer in the Jack Ryan franchise. If you’re a casual fan of the movies, you know him as the voice of Darth Vader and Mufasa, two of the most famous fathers in history. Somehow, James Earl Jones influenced your life and childhood whether you know it or not, and now according to movie webHe is being honored with a great honor because the Cort Theater on Broadway will always be named after him.

James Earl Jones made his Broadway debut on stage at the Cort Theater in 1958 in a show called Sunrise in Campobello, where he had a speaking line. Sixty-four years later, the same theater is transforming itself from the Court Theater to the James Earl Jones Theatre. The move comes during a push by the industry to recognize more black actors and comes as good news at a time when other theaters are delivering harsh news.

At the top of a sixty-year film career that began with a role in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove, and continuing with his return to his most iconic role in Darth Vader, James Earl Jones also enjoyed a Broadway career that earned him many accolades. He is one of the few to have won all four major awards in the entertainment industry, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, called EGOT. He won his Tony in 1969, his Grammy in 1977, his Emmy in 1991, and was an Honorary Academy Award winner in 2011 for his legacy of consistent excellence and unusual versatility.

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The renaming of The Court Theater to the James Earl Jones Theater comes as part of the newly signed New Deal for Broadway, which outlines an initiative of reforms and commitments to ensure equity on Broadway. Part of this process stipulated that each of the major theater chains, Jujamsin, Nederlander and Schubert, would rename at least one theater after a person of color. Jujamsien has already fulfilled its obligation with the August Wilson Theatre, and will soon have the first theater named after a black woman in the Netherlands, the Lena Horne Theatre, to fulfill Schubert’s obligation to name the legendary actor. He left the Court for theatre.

The newly named James Earl Jones Theater underwent a $47 million renovation earlier this year and expanded access by adding a dressing room, rehearsal space, bathroom, lounge, and bar. The ceremony began with footage of Jones and his family touring the theater after he reminisced about the first line he spoke on stage, recalling that he was a child. The ceremony included performances by Norm Lewis and Brian Stokes Mitchell, as well as speeches by Mayors Eric Adams and Samuel L. Jackson. Theater director Kenny Lyons said the name change meant everything and challenged anyone to think of an actor who served America and the black community more than Jones.


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