2017 Tony Awards: Watch James Earl Jones Accept His Lifetime Achievement Award


June 12, 2017


Photo credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

On Sunday night, the legendary James Earl Jones was honored with the 2017 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. Since making his Broadway debut in Dore Schary’s “Sunrise at Campobello” in 1958, Jones has performed in 20 productions, won two Tony Awards, been awarded an honorary Oscar, has played some of Hollywood’s most iconic voices which include: Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” film franchise and Mufasa in Disney’s “The Lion King”. He also became the first African American winner in any play category in 1969 when he won best actor for his role in “The Great White Hope.”


While accepting the award, Jones thanked his father, actor Robert Earl Jones for opening “the door to his world and his work”, the American Theatre Wing for beginning his “formal training”, and everyone who trained and worked with him throughout his career. He concluded his speech by thanking his late wife, actress Cecilia Hart. 

The stage and screen icon received his award before the live broadcast of the 2017 Tony Awards. Watch the speech that should have been televised live below: 


Congratulations, Mr. Jones! We salute you for paving the way for generations of African Americans in film and theater. 

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