James Earl Jones will receive SAG's most prestigious accolade the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award For Career achievement And Humanitarian Accomplishment at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 25 2009 in Los Angeles.

SAG presents the annual award to a recipient it feels embodies the 'finest ideals of the acting profession' and the organisation's president Alan Rosenberg hailed Jones for an acting career and a vocal presence 'without peer'.

'His long and quiet devotion to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a national and local scale deserves our appreciation,' Rosenberg added.

Jones is most famous as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise and has also voiced Musafa in Disney's animated hit The Lion King, among many other voice parts. He spent his childhood as a virtual mute due to a severe stutter and emerged from his shell with the help of an outstanding high school teacher called Donald Crouch.

He earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations in 1971 for The Great White Hope and won the Globe for most promising newcomer. He earned a SAG Actor nomination in 1995 for his portrayal of South African priest Stephen Kumalo in Cry, The Beloved Country. In 1992 he received the National Medal Of Arts and a decade later became a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Apart from Jones' extensive stage and television work, his film credits include Claudine, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination in 1975, the Jack Ryan franchise opposite Harrison Ford, and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins.