James Earl Jones on Whether He's Pretended to Be Darth Vader on the Phone

James Earl Jones
<p> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a stutterer, so I&rsquo;ve spent a lot of time learning to be a better listener. You realize how important speech is.&rdquo;</p> <p> -- Jones, on his iconic voice</p>   |   Wesley Mann
The actor recounts a brief anecdote about using "Darth as my handle on the CB radio" while traveling.

James Earl Jones, whose voice has lent authority to everything from The Lion King's Mufasa to CNN's tagline, has recently been the face (along with Malcolm McDowell) of a humorous Sprint TV campaign and will appear on the big screen in the drama Gimme Shelter

But, naturally, interviews with Jones turn to his infamous role, Star Wars villain Darth Vader. Queried by The New York Times magazine about whether he had ever been "tempted to pick up the phone and pretend to be Darth Vader," the actor reveals that he has unleashed the inimitable voice -- on a CB radio.

"I did that once when I was traveling cross-country. I used Darth as my handle on the CB radio. The truck drivers would really freak out -- for them, it was Darth Vader. I had to stop doing that," Jones told the Times magazine.

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The mag also asked the actor when he realized his voice would become a "cash machine" His response? "I didn’t want it to be. You know, I don’t hear the voice you hear. I’m not party to the Darth Vader tone. All I’m doing is using the voice I have to try to be as clear as I can with the language I’m using."

Ironically, for his original Star Wars role Jones was only paid $7,000 for voiceover work. "[W]e did it in two-and-a-half hours," Jones told THR in 2011. "I got paid seven thousand dollars for it. Nobody at that time knew that it would become a cult hit … I’m very happy to be a part of that cult, even though I didn’t get paid a lot for it."