Robert Earl Jones dead at 96

Sept. 19, 2006 at 12:52 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Robert Earl Jones, the father of actor James Earl Jones and himself a stage and screen actor, has died in New Jersey at age 96.

Jones died Sept. 7 in Englewood, N.J., of natural causes, The New York Times reported.

Jones was a boxer in the 1930s, fighting under the name Battling Bill Stovall, later becoming a sparring partner for Joe Louis before he moved to New York and found his way into acting.

He made his Broadway debut in 1945 in "The Hasty Heart."

Jones also did his turn on the silver screen, his best known role being Luther Coleman, Robert Redford's mentor in the 1973 film "The Sting." He also appeared in "The Cotton Club" and "Witness."

James Earl Jones appeared with his father in several Off Broadway productions, including "Moon on a Rainbow Shawl" in 1962.

In addition to James Earl, another son, Matthew Earl Jones and a grandchild survive him.

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