By Michael Paulson, nytimes.com
James Earl Jones is to be honored at this year’s Tony Awards with a special prize for lifetime achievement in theater.
The awards administration committee announced Thursday that Mr. Jones, a renowned stage, film and television actor with an unforgettably deep voice, would be given the recognition at the awards ceremony June 11.
Mr. Jones, 86, is a theater regular who has appeared in 20 Broadway plays, starting with “Sunrise at Campobello” in 1958. He most recently appeared in a revival of “The Gin Game” in 2015. He has won two Tonys, in 1969 for “The Great White Hope” (when Clive Barnes, a New York Times critic, wrote, “If anyone deserves to become that occasional thing, a star overnight, then Mr. Jones deserves no less”) and in 1987 for “Fences.” About that performance, Frank Rich, a critic for The Times, wrote, “A black man, a free man, a descendant of slaves, a menial laborer, a father, a husband, a lover — Mr. Jones’s Troy embraces all the contradictions of being black and male and American in his time.”