James Earl Jones, the prominent actor who recently starred in a Broadway production of "King Lear," spoke on acting and the difficult early days of his own career at the Mather House Black Table last night.
Jones, who is conducting a seminar for drama students at the Loeb, has come to Harvard as part of the Learning From Performers program of the Office of the Arts. Since his arrival on Tuesday, he has held several theater workshops, and has worked with students on a West Indian play. "Moon on a Rainbow Shoal," which is scheduled for a spring production at Leverett House.
At Mather House last night. Jones told a small group of students about the years of "hero sandwiches and no money" early in his career. He said that then he ignored material things, which let him "focus on what was really important in life."
Jones said his immediate plans are for a trip to Hollywood to work on a film with Sidney Poitier. He said his motive is "to make some money," which he said he has "great need for at the moment."
Jones said he is also trying to acquire rights to two novels and a play which he hopes to co-produce.
Asked about the creative freedom of a black actor, Jones said there is a need for producers who understand "the black drama of life," and that there are few such producers today.
Discussing his early career, Jones said connections he gained through his father, Robert Jones, who was a prominent actor, had not been the source of his success.
He said he attributed his success to "a certain energy," and an "enticing, juicy quality" which he possessed. He added that "no one can refuse you if you have the talent."
Jones will conduct another acting workshop at the Loeb tomorrow, followed by a seminar-discussion which will center on morality in the theater and the social responsibility of the actor