PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Names in the news, Nov. 12

Posted Nov. 11, 2011, at 9:02 p.m.
James Earl Jones
Stephen Chernin | AP
James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones (photo) is about to receive an honorary Oscar for his nearly five decades in film, but the 80-year-old thespian says he shouldn’t even be an actor. “One, because I’m a stutterer,” the deep-voiced star said by phone from London, where he is starring with Vanessa Redgrave in the stage production of “Driving Miss Daisy.” “And two,” he continued, “my introduction to motion pictures was sitting on a bench in Mississippi watching a movie on a makeshift screen, a sheet stretched between two stores, and when a fistfight broke out on screen on that sheet, I freaked out. I couldn’t handle the violence, so I hid under the bench and begged people to make them stop, and they didn’t. They just watched. I guess I said if I can’t stop them, I better join them.” He made his big-screen debut in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic, “Dr. Strangelove.” Jones was nominated for the best actor Oscar for 1970’s “The Great White Hope,” the same role that won him a Tony two years prior. He gave voice to two of film’s most memorable fathers: Mufasa in “The Lion King” and Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” trilogy. Asked to compare stage, screen and voice acting, Jones said, “I love it all. I even love commercials.” …

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will speak publicly for the first time in months, describing with her husband the grueling 10-month recovery from an assassination attempt in January. ABC News’ Diane Sawyer interviewed Giffords and Mark Kelly for a special to air Monday night. It includes video footage of the Arizona Democrat through various stages of her recovery after being shot in the head from close range at a constituent event in Tucson. The man accused in the Jan. 8 mass shooting, Jared Loughner, faces 49 felony counts in the rampage that killed six bystanders and wounded 13 at a public event staged by Giffords.

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