James Earl Jones: “I Felt Like I Was Cursed”
James Earl Jones, best known for his signature baritone voice. He’s voice has graced some of the best blockbuster movies, from Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner to being the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy, you know James’ voice when you hear it.
But it hasn’t always been this way. James Earl Jones, with one of the most recognizable voices in the world, was almost mute as a child for eight years, thanks to a severe stutter.
“As a small child, I would communicate to my family, or at least those who didn’t mind being embarrassed by my stutter or my being embarrassed. I did communicate with the animals quite freely, but then that’s calling the hogs, the cows, the chickens. They don’t care how you sound, they just want to hear your voice.”
More than 70 million people worldwide stutter, which is about 1% of the population. In the United States, that’s over 3 million Americans who stutter.
James Earl explains that although he was born in Mississippi, his family moved when he was five years old to a Michigan farm, which played havoc with his sinuses – and his speech development.