James Earl Jones, one of Hollywood's super talented actors, married a co-star, experienced a failed marriage, and lost a lover. Meet his first wife, Julienne Marie, who acted as his onscreen lover in "Othello."
James Earl Jones is one actor who did not allow his circumstances to define him. Born in Arkabutla, Mississippi as a stuttering child, Jones overcame his speech difficulty as a senior in high school and was able to enter the University of Michigan.
As he grew, the young man became more confident and full of zeal. He was conscripted into the army, where he excelled, but he wanted to be a performer. So the young ex-military officer moved to New York to pursue his dreams.
Jones worked menial jobs before landing insignificant acting roles. As the years went by, he became prominent in Broadway, featuring in works like "The Blacks," "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl," and "Othello."
Jones's journey to Broadway began in the 1950s, first in plays like "Sunrise at Campobello," and some original Shakespearean works like "Othello" where he played the title's character for years.
His first time on the job as Othello was when he met Julienne Marie, another dedicated actress and co-star who became his first wife. Their marriage lasted for four years before both parties went their separate ways.
FIRST TO CALL JAMES EARL JONES HUSBAND
Julienne was born two years after the actor. She has been married three times; first to John Patrick Scanlon, then to Jones, and lastly, Gerald Kean.
She is a notable actress with an impressive time on Broadway. Her famous work credits are "Our Private World," "Ryan's Hope," and "Search For Tomorrow."
Julienne and Jones found some interesting traits in each other during their time as co-stars, and it was not long after the play that they began a friendship that led to the alter.
Sadly, the union did not last, and after four years of marriage, they went their separate ways. Sources confirmed that at the time, Jones was experiencing rapid growth in his career, and this success made it difficult for him to focus on the marriage.
DID JAMES EARL JONES FIND LOVE AGAIN?
A few years after his divorce, Jones became committed to another woman, Cecilia Hart; a one-time divorcee, whom he married in 1982, and together they welcomed their only child, Flynn Earl Jones.
After becoming a parent, the actor vowed to focus on his family rather than his career, and this meant taking a back seat in lead roles on Broadway.
The new father decided to turn to voice-overs and did not waste time accepting film roles. His priority was his family, and irrespective of the huge pay and fame that came with Broadway, he settled to be close to his loved one.
WHAT WENT WRONG WITH WIFE NUMBER TWO?
The answer is nothing. Jones and Hart were an enviable duo with many similarities. They were also the perfect Hollywood couple who intensified their fans' belief in fairytale love.
They were both entertainers, had a son and a smooth sail in their marriage, free of baby mama dramas, scandals, or any other sort of controversy.
Their marriage lasted for thirty-four years, and true to their vows, only death could make them part. The couple was only separated after Hart's demise in 2016. She was 68 at the time and she died from complications of ovarian cancer.
Not much has been shared by the family concerning their tragedy; however, they requested that donations in her name should be directed to "The Actors Fund," and "Hudson Valley Spice."
WHO WAS CECILIA HART?
Hart was an actress who first worked with Jones in Steven Bochco's "Paris." The pair starred in the series for a year. In 1982, while working on the revival of Shakespeare's "Othello," they became romantically involved.
Like her husband, she had recorded a few Broadway and onscreen successes, including "The Heiress," and "Design for Living." She also acted in "Charles in Charge" and "Law and Order."
WHAT FANS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT JAMES EARL JONES
Jones has always been a dedicated worker, ever ready to bless his audience with riveting performances but also unwilling to bargain with the quality of his work. For this reason, his relationship with some of his crew members was less than favorable.
On some occasions, Jones would ask the crew to maintain decorum without a flinch. He also went head to head with a playwright called August Wilson and accused Peter Coe, a director, of misinterpreting a Shakespearean play.
After he left Broadway, the "Othello" alum recorded some huge successes onscreen and as a voice-over actor. His film credits include "Soul Man," "Coming to America," "The Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games," and "Cry the Beloved Country."
Voice over successes included his roles as King Mufasa in Disney's "The Lion King," the long silent Maggie on "The Simpsons," and the archvillain Darth Vader in George Lucas's "Star Wars."
His voice was one of the most sought after by TV commercials and nationals who begged him to record their messages on their machine.
Irrespective of his attitude to work, which some may find insensitive, a failed marriage, following his unbeatable drive to succeed, a tragedy such as losing a dear partner of many years, many would admit that the actor has managed to have an admirable record.
Jones continues to strive in the movie world; although he is 90, he keeps taking on roles and has racked numerous awards including four Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, two Obie Awards, NAACP Hall of Fame Image Awards, more than four honorary doctorates, and more.
In 2014, he returned to Broadway as the eccentric grandfather in an award-winning comedy scripted by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.
Many fans would agree that Jones still exhibits as much passion for his works as he did from the start, and neither age nor time has made him irrelevant.