James Earl Jones – James Earl Jones had just finished a matinee performance of “Driving Miss Daisy” with Vanessa Redgrave in London when Sir Ben Kingsley stepped on stage — and presented him an honorary Oscar.
“I am deeply honored, mighty grateful and just plain gobsmacked,” the iconic 80-year-old actor told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards Saturday night in his acceptance, which was filmed on the stage of London’s Wyndham Theatre.
The third annual awards ceremony celebrated the careers of Jones — best known on screen for his legendary Darth Vader voice in “Star Wars” — and makeup artist Dick Smith, while Oprah Winfrey received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, The Hollywood Reporter said.
In London, Redgrave asked the “Miss Daisy” audience to stay in their seats for the presentation of the Oscar, which former Academy president Sid Ganis had brought with him across the pond, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Now 89, he apologized for not having a very good memory these days, but concluded, “I will never forget tonight from the bottom of my heart.”
“I never imagined myself receiving an Oscar, certainly not for doing what I believe is a part of my calling, a part of my being,” said the 57-year-old media personality.
Jones first appeared on the big screen in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangeglove” in 1964. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in “The Great White Hope” (1970), and his memorable movie roles include “Field of Dreams” (1989), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), and “Cry, the Beloved Country” (1995). In his tribute Saturday, Alec Baldwin noted the range of roles Jones has played, saying, “I wanted James Earl Jones’ career — that’s what every actor wants.”