James Earl Jones only has one child, a biracial adult son, Flynn, whom he had with his late wife. Flynn has since used a unique trait he shares with his father to make a living.
James Earl Jones' parents, Robert Earl Jones and Ruth Connolly were of African-American descent. According to IMDb, the actor also has Irish and Native American (Cherokee and Choctaw) ancestry.
Parthenia Connolly, the star's maternal great-great-grandmother, was born in Ireland and worked as an indentured servant. She married a man only known as Brice, who took her last name because he didn't have one of his own due to being a slave.
Jane Alexander and James Earl Jones in a still from the movie "The Great White Hope," circa 1970. | Source: Getty Images
James' parents went their separate ways before he was born. It led to him being raised by Maggie Anderson and John Henry Connolly, his maternal grandparents, leading to an interesting upbringing.
His grandparents had traits that made the future actor's life challenging. More about Maggie and John Henry's views and behaviors can be found in the following chapter, where we break down James' childhood.
JAMES'S UPBRINGING WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS
James Earl Jones as Nelson Mandela in "No Easy Walk to Freedom" in New York, circa 1979. | Source: Getty Images
During a September 2014 interview, James revealed that he grew up in a "loosely wound" family on Michigan and Mississippi farms. John and Maggie were his guardians, with the latter being described as a "singular, fiercely independent character."
The actor recalled how unexpected and unusual his grandmother was. Maggie, an African American, Cherokee, and part Choctaw Indian, was anti-Mississippi during the war that she said she was okay with Adolf Hitler bombing it.
James Earl Jones speaking into a microphone in a recording studio in Hollywood, California, on July 10, 1991. | Source: Getty Images
The family's German mailman never caught a break in the neighborhood and was harassed, but Maggie adored him. She believed Japanese people were okay because she saw them as people of color.
Her family had to keep her indoors because of the war effort. James showed no bitterness as he recalled his childhood and shared that in the 1950s, he began partaking in Michigan's summer stock theater.
James Earl Jones on "Roots: The Next Generation" with a February 18, 1979, airdate. | Source: Getty Images
His grandmother arrived first and sat in the front row watching him. According to the star, Maggie's life was full of drama, and no one addressed it except James in his play, making her his best audience.
At one point, the Methodist family moved from Mississippi to Michigan and attended a service at a town over from theirs at an all-White church. When the family walked in, the congregation started singing a song that outraged Maggie because of her Choctaw Indian heritage.
James Earl Jones in a scene from the movie "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings" in 1976 in Macon, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images
However, John Henry, an Irish-African, suggested they give them the benefit of the doubt because maybe it was all they knew. He downplayed the incident by saying the congregation sang the Black song to "serenade" them.
Despite John Henry's speculations, Maggie took the whole thing as an insult, while her husband thought of it as "a lack of cultural assimilation," and that's how the family lived.
James Earl Jones at a public relations conference for his upcoming appearance in "Othello," circa 1981. | Source: Getty Images
James, born in Mississippi during segregation, said the army helped rescue him from becoming a farm boy. He had the chance to study medicine at university before realizing that he wasn't good at it because he failed to absorb the teachings.
The star then switched his studies to drama, following in his father's acting footsteps. Robert abandoned the family shortly after James' birth, and the future actor never got to be raised by him or to know him.
James Earl Jones wearing law enforcement badge, in the 1970s. | Source: Getty Images
However, James saw his father's photos in national magazines during his high school years. At age five, the star started stuttering, affecting his speech throughout his life despite his deep voice, which he's famous for.
James described his voice as "salvaged," like in the army, when a tank was needed, a broken one was fixed before going into battle. He shared that every role he took was an effort to learn how to use his voice again.
MARRYING OUTSIDE OF HIS RACE
Cecilia Hart, James Earl Jones, and Flynn Earl Jones at the Ziegfeld Theater for the world premiere of ''Cry, The Beloved Country'' on October 24, 1995. | Source: Getty Images
In 1982, James married the daughter of a retired Springfield, Virginia, army colonel living in Springfield, Cecilia Hart. The star said he fell in love with her father before falling for his wife.
Cecilia's mother objected when he came to ask the Harts for their blessings to marry their daughter. The Harts were White, and she worried about her daughter having mixed-race children, but James replied:
"You know what? My children are gonna be black either way. What you’re worried about is your grandchildren.”
James Earl Jones, Cecelia Hart, and Flynn Earl Jones at the Marian Anderson Awards Gala on November 19, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. | Source: Getty Images
Cecilia's mother became cheerful at his response and seemingly gave her blessings. James' wife was a stage and screen actress native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and was previously married to actor Bruce Weitz.
Like his father [James Earl Jones], Flynn [Earl Jones] also married an actress, Lorena Monagas, in Tarrytown, New York, on November 29, 2019.
James Earl Jones and Cecelia Hart at a cocktail party to benefit Project A.L.S. on May 11, 1999. | Source: Getty Images
She was Jame's second wife who stayed with him for 34 years after tying the knot in March 1982. In 1977, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role in "Dirty Linen & New-Found-Land."
Cecilia guest-starred on shows like "Three's Company," "Emergency!," "Law & Order," "Quincy M.E.," and "MacGyver." Sadly, in October 2016, James' wife died at age 68 after battling ovarian cancer for a year.
JONE'S ONLY CHILD - FLYNN
James, his father Robert, and James' son Fynn Earl Jones in 1987 at the star's residence in New York. | Source: Getty Images
In 1982, Cecilia played the role of Desdemona, while James was cast in the lead act on Broadway's "Othello." At the time, it was James' first time doing a Shakespeare play while the actress was pregnant with their child onstage.
Flynn Earl Jones was welcomed that same year. He's generally stayed out of the spotlight, but in 1994, he joined his parents at the premiere of "The Lion King," where James voiced the character of Mufasa.
James Earl Jones, Cecilia Hart, and Flynn Earl Jones on the closing night of the play "Driving Miss Daisy" on Broadway on April 9, 2011, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Just like his father, Flynn has a similar characteristic voice, which he's used for audiobooks. In 2019, James' son recorded the audiobook version of "Heartthrob," and in March of that year, the book was available on all platforms, including Amazon.
Some of the other books Flynn has voiced or narrated include "New World," "Revenge," "Lions in the Sky," and more, all available on Audible. Like his father, Flynn also married an actress, Lorena Monagas, in Tarrytown, New York, on November 29, 2019.
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