Robert Earl Jones (sometimes credited as Earl Jones) was a black African American boxer and actor from the 1930s to the 1990s, and the father of actor James Earl Jones. At a young age, he became a boxer under the name "Battling Bill Stovall" and was a sparring partner of Joe Louis. Jones later moved to New York and was cast as the lead in the 1938 play Don't You Want to Be Free?. His film career started with the leading role of a detective in the 1939 film Lying Lips. In the Oscar-winning 1973 film The Sting (starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford), he played Luther Coleman, an aging grifter whose murder leads to the eponymous "sting". Although blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s, Jones was ultimately honored with a lifetime achievement award by the U.S. National Black Theatre Festival. He past away in 2006 at the age of 96.
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