2 days ago
~Robert Earl Jones...Born Today!!
Robert Earl Jones (February 3, 1910 – September 7, 2006) was an American actor and the father of actor James Earl Jones. While born in Mississippi, the specific location of his birth is unclear as some sources indicate Senatobia, while others suggest nearby Coldwater. Additionally, his date of birth has been reported by different sources as anywhere from 1900 to 1911. The most likely date is 1910 as reported by the United States Social Security Administration.
Jones, a grade-school dropout, was a sharecropper, and boxing prizefighter before making his way, via Chicago, to New York City and a career on stage and in film. Under the name "Battling Bill Stovall", he was a sparring partner of Joe Louis.
Altogether Jones appeared in more than twenty films, including The Cotton Club (1984) and The Sting (1973). Jones was a living link with the Harlem renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, having worked with Langston Hughes early in his career. In New York in the 1930s, after a short career as a prize fighter in Chicago where champion Joe Louis used him as a sparring partner, Jones worked with young people on the Works Progress Administration, the largest New Deal agency, through which he met Langston Hughes, who cast him in his 1938 play, Don't You Want to Be Free?