“When I learned how to talk, the best advice my teacher gave me was: Don’t listen to yourself. Don’t listen to the tones you make, because you might be impressed by it. If you start listening to yourself, nobody else will.”— James Earl Jones, on how he overcome his youthful stutter, interviewed by Dave Itzkoff, “‘I Don't Hear the Voice You Hear’: James Earl Jones on Darth Vader, Mufasa and, Natch, Totes McGotes,” The New York Times Sunday Magazine, January 19, 2014
Darth Vader—with a stutter? Impossible to imagine. But it’s not only film fans that have benefited from the elocution lessons mastered by James Earl Jones. For the past couple of weeks, theater aficionados such as myself have thrilled to hear the astonishing instrument of this Broadway legend once again in You Can’t Take It With You, the revival of the 1936 George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy.