Welcome to BWW's ON THIS DAY Series celebrating theatrical birthdays, openings and special events that took place on this day in theatre history!
Happy Birthday, James Earl Jones! He has won Tony awards in 1969 for The Great White Hope and in 1987 for Fences. Jones has also acted in many Shakespearean roles: Othello, King Lear, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Abhorson in Measure for Measure, and Claudius in Hamlet. On April 7, 2005, James Earl Jones and Leslie Uggams headed the cast in an African-American Broadway revival version of On Golden Pond, directed by Leonard Foglia and produced by Jeffrey Finn. In February 2008, he starred on Broadway as Big Daddy in a limited-run, all-African-American production of Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Debbie Allen and mounted at the Broadhurst Theatre. In October 2010, Jones returned to the Broadway stage in Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy along with Vanessa Redgrave at the Golden Theatre. In November 2011, Jones starred in Driving Miss Daisy in London's West End, and on November 12 Jones received his honorary Oscar in front of the audience at the Wyndham's Theatre, which was presented to him by Ben Kingsley.
In celebration of this day, we bring you a scene from Jones' performance in the 1974 New York Shakespeare Festival's King Lear. Click below to check it out!