The award, which is given annually to an actor who fosters the "finest ideals of the acting profession," will be presented to Jones during the upcoming awards ceremony, which will air live on TNT and TBS Jan. 25, 2009, at 8 PM ET. In a statement SAG President Alan Rosenberg said, "James Earl Jones' distinguished career on stage, in film, on television, in commercials and as a vocal presence without peer commands our admiration and respect. His long and quiet devotion to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a national and local scale deserves our appreciation. It is our honor to bestow the Guild's highest tribute on this extraordinary actor."
James Earl Jones won Tony Awards for his performances in The Great White Hope and Fences and was also Tony-nominated for his work in On Golden Pond. The actor has also been seen on Broadway in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, "MASTER HAROLD"…and the boys, Othello, A Lesson from Aloes, Paul Robeson, Of Mice and Men, The Iceman Cometh, Les Blancs, A Hand Is on the Gate, Danton's Death, Infidel Caesar, The Cool Wind and Sunrise at Campobello. Jones' screen credits are numerous and include an Oscar-nominated performance in "The Great White Hope" and Emmy-winning turns in "Gabriel's Fire" and "Heat Wave."
Screen Actors Guild is the nation's largest labor union representing working actors. For more information visit www.sagawards.org.