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James Earl Jones' Long Pursuit of Contentment

As he wrapped up his work as the voice of Darth Vader in the 2014 Star Wars film Rogue One, James Earl Jones opened up about his struggles with a speech impediment. Listening to his deep booming voice threatening inept generals of the Empire, you would never realize that the talent for which he is best known is simultaneously a pervasive struggle.

His familiar voice was largely silent in his younger years, a result of a severe stutter. Though he was quiet, a teacher noticed that he enjoyed writing poetry. He told Jones "If you like words that much, James, you ought to be able to say them out loud." To address his stutter, Jones began performing Shakespeare. He shares, "If I hadn't been a stutterer, I would never have been an actor."

Backstage, his script is always within reach. The words, even after seven decades, have remained a career-long struggle. "I mangle a word or two every night because the consonants get into a fight with the vowels."

Interviewer Jamie Wax referenced Jones’ career labeling it "a pursuit of happiness." Jones had this to say:

By taking one step at a time, I've found great treasures. Every step I take ... It's just about being content, that's all. I don't know what the pursuit of happiness is. What do you mean pursuit of happiness? No, contentment. If that doesn't put a glow on your face, nothing really will.

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