Jane Jenkins on James Earl Jones in 'The Great White Hope'

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It's hard to pick just one great performance by one great actor—I've seen many. Growing up in New York City, I started going to the theater at the tender age of 7. I saw many great performances by people like Zero Mostel, Julie Andrews, Anne Bancroft, and Henry Fonda, very early on by Mary Martin, and even by Paul Muni, but in 1969 I saw James Earl Jones in "The Great White Hope" with Jane Alexander. It was one of the last performances before the show closed, and 42 years later I still remember the power of that performance. Of course I've seen Mr. Jones in many things since then—great work in film and several more theater productions. If ever there was an actor that was in the right part at the right time in his career in was James Earl as Jack Jefferson—young, brash, powerful. I'm sure that performance changed his career and made everyone sit up and take notice. Today, whether he is the voice of Darth Vader or doing a revival of "Driving Miss Daisy," the power of Jones' performance is still exciting to behold.

Jane Jenkins, CSA, is an Emmy-nominated and Artios Award–winning casting director. Since 1981 she and Janet Hirshenson, her partner at The Casting Company, have cast hundreds of films. They also co-wrote the book "A Star is Found." www.janeandjanet.com