Raised in rural Mississippi by maternal grandparents
Moved with family to rural Michigan around the age of five
Acted for the first time at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee, MI
Made acting debut in a college production of "Deep Are the Roots" at the University of Michigan
First paying job as Ivan Dixon's understudy in "Wedding in Japan"
Broadway acting debut as understudy for the role of Perry Hall in "The Egghead"
Appeared on Broadway in "Sunrise at Campobello"
Began his long association with the New York Shakespeare Festival
Acted in acclaimed NYC production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks"
Received Emmy nomination for guest starring on the series "East Side, West Side" (CBS), starring George C. Scott and Cicely Tyson
Feature debut as Lieutenant Jimmy Zogg in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove"
Appeared in South African playwright Athol Fugard's "The Blood Knot" (NYC)
Appeared as Dr. Jerry Turner on the daytime drama "As the World Turns" (CBS); one of the first black regulars on a daytime drama
Second feature, "The Comedians"; once again cast opposite Tyson
Won his first Tony Award for his role as boxer Jack Johnson in the Broadway production "The Great White Hope"
Received Best Actor Academy Award nomination for reprising Johnson in the film version of "The Great White Hope"
Starred in Fugard's "Boseman and Lena" at NYC's Circle in the Square
Appeared as Diahann Carroll's love interest in the feature "Claudine"
Played Lennie in the Broadway production of "Of Mice and Men"
Reteamed with Tyson for "The River Niger" the film version of the award-winning play
First film with actor Robert Duvall, "The Greatest"; played Malcolm X
Provided the uncredited voice of Darth Vader in "Star Wars" and in the subsequent sequels
London stage debut, bringing the one-man show "Paul Robeson" from Broadway
Portrayed Alex Haley in ABC miniseries sequel "Roots: The Next Generations"
Cast in TV series "Paris" (CBS), playing titular role of erudite black police captain
Appeared on stage in Fugard's "A Lesson from Aloes"
Acted in the Broadway production of "Othello" playing the title role; co-starred opposite future wife Cecilia Hart
Played the Tony Award-winning leading role in August Wilson's "Fences"
Acted in John Sayles' "Matewan" and in Francis Ford Coppola's "Gardens of Stone"
Portrayed skeptical and reclusive writer Terrence Mann in "Field of Dreams"
Cast as a CIA offical in "The Hunt for Red October," the first of three films based on Tom Clancy novels (also "Patriot Games" in 1992 and "Clear and Present Danger" in 1994)
Reteamed with Cicely Tyson for the TNT miniseries "Heat Wave," based on the 1965 Watts riots
Cast as the title character in the ABC drama "Gabriel's Fire" (later retitled "Pros and Cons")
Acted with Duvall in Peter Masterson's "Convicts"
Spoke with leonine authority as King Mustafa in Disney's animated feature "The Lion King"
Returned to series TV in short-lived "Under One Roof" (CBS)
Movingly portrayed the South African minister in film remake of Alan Paton's famed classic "Cry the Beloved Country"
Co-starred with Duvall in "A Family Thing"; pair played half-brothers in a script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson
Portrayed the best friend of Hume Cronyn in the Showtime movie "Horton Foote's Alone"
Reprised the voice of Mufasa in the direct-to-video sequel "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride"
Starred as Dr. William Blakely in Showtime movie "Summer's End"; earned Daytime Emmy Award
Guest starred on The WB's "Everwood" as a jazz pianist and Ephram's mentor; received an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Returned as the voice of Darth Vader in "Star Wars: Episode III ¿ Revenge of the Sith," the final installment of the series
Headed the cast in an African-American Broadway revival version of "On Golden Pond," directed by Leonard Foglia; earned a Tony nomination; production closed early due Jones' illness
Starred in Debbie Allen's revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Returned to the Broadway stage in Alfred Uhry's "Driving Miss Daisy" along with Vanessa Redgrave
Received an honorary Academy Award
Joined an all-star cast for "Gore Vidal's The Best Man" on Broadway