James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars stutters?
Yes, you’re reading this correctly! This 91 year old award-winning actor is a lifelong stutterer.
According to The New York Times, the Shubert Organization will name the Cort Theater, a landmark 110-year-old house located on West 48th Street, after Jones, a two-time competitive Tony Award winner who, over six decades, has appeared in 21 Broadway shows. Jones received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2017.
How can an actor who stutters perform on Broadway?
According to Jones, early in his career when he appeared in Sunrise at Campobello he had a line — ‘Mrs. Roosevelt, supper is served” — that he struggled to deliver because of a speech disorder. “I almost didn’t make it through because I’m a stutterer. But it became a lot of fun eventually.”
James Earl Jones joins a series of successful actors who have stuttered, including the glamorous icon, Marilyn Monroe, and recently Emily Blunt, who in an interview with Sandy Kenyon, the entertainment reporter on WABC-TV NY, Channel 7’s Eyewitness News, explained that she was advised to pursue drama as a way to treat her childhood stuttering disorder. At the time she was publicizing her movie A Quiet Place, (which has been followed by “A Quiet Place II”). Her performances in both films garnered her major awards nominations.
You can learn more about why acting helps stutterers speak fluently by watching my interview with Sandy Kenyon on Eyewitness News on my homepage http://lazarspeech.com/2018/06/08/interview/
You can read about stuttering and fluent speech in the articles on my website, including https://lazarspeech.com/2013/05/08/the-kings-speech/, https://lazarspeech.com/2015/08/24/are-ums-and-ahs-a-form-of-stuttering/, and numerous others I’ve written. Just click the category on the Blog or Publications headers on my website homepage
Check back soon for more articles on stuttering, public speaking, executive function skills and speech-language pathology.