In recognition of World Voice Day, celebrated on April 16th, Nuance is excited to announce that James Earl Jones – the voice of recognized characters like Star Wars’ Darth Vader and The Lion King’s Mufasa – has received the title of The Greatest Voice of All Time. Jones emerged victorious in a publically-debated, bracket-style competition featuring 32 of the most iconic and recognizable voices ever. To this day, Jones continues to be recognized in film, television, and commercials for his deep, booming delivery.
The votes are in and the people have made their opinions heard. After five rounds of exciting matchups, we can officially announce that from a field of 32 iconic voices, the title of The Greatest Voice of All Time belongs to Mr. James Earl Jones.
As a company that explores the possibilities of voice daily, we viewed today’s celebration of World Voice Day as a premiere opportunity to identify the individual with the “greatest” voice. Through a meticulous process (filled with spirited debate), we pared a massive list of possible candidates down to 32 contenders and set them head-to-head in a March Madness-style bracket competition. For those who missed it, in addition to Jones, the competitors that advanced to the final rounds were:
Morgan Freeman (1st runner-up)
Sean Connery (2nd runner-up)
Christopher Walken (3rd runner-up)
When we take a closer look at some of Jones’ accomplishments, it’s no surprise that he beat out the competition. Although, some may be shocked to learn that Jones’ voice wasn’t always so well-defined, as he spoke with a stutter for the majority of his childhood. And, before becoming a sought-after Hollywood icon, he served as a U.S. Army Ranger during the Korean War. Jones is perhaps best known for his roles as a voice actor, giving life to the legendary characters of Darth Vader in the ‘Star Wars’ films and Mufasa in ‘The Lion King’ (and, who could forget his memorable turn as Mr. Mertle in ‘The Sandlot’?). For me, at least, it’s impossible to think of the Star Wars saga without the villainous tone, pace, and breathiness of the unforgettable line, “Luke, I am your father.”
Jones has had a rich career as an actor in both theater and film, receiving nominations and wins from prestigious organizations like the Tonys, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes, Emmys, and the Academy Awards. Notably, Jones was bestowed the Academy’s Honorary Award in 2011 for his legacy of consistent excellence and uncommon versatility.
Although the task of choosing an individual with the “greatest voice” meant different things to different people, there is no question that Jones’ booming voice certainly leaves a lasting impression. As we commemorate World Voice Day, let Jones – and his fellow 31 competitors – serve as a reminder of the profound and evocative impact that voice has on our lives.