Best Buddies Canada honours screen and theatre legend James Earl Jones at 18th annual fundraising gala

TORONTO, July 31, 2012 /CNW/ - Best Buddies Canada, a national charitable organization committed to developing friendships between Canadian students and individuals with intellectual challenges, has announced that the celebrated and distinguished actor, multiple Tony and Emmy winner, and Academy Award nominee James Earl Jones, will receive the 2012 International Legacy Award. The Award will be presented at the Best Buddies annual fundraising gala at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto on September 12, 2012.

The International Legacy Award recognizes individuals who have dedicated their lives to making a difference. James Earl Jones has demonstrated a commitment to community service throughout his career by lending his time and talents to countless local causes that impact young people. Former gala award recipients include Kathleen Turner (2011), Peter Fonda (2010), Ann-Margaret (2009) and Shirley MacLaine (2008).

"Over its 18 years, Best Buddies has impacted the lives of upwards of 85,000 intellectually challenged Canadians in its continued commitment to building bridges in communities and fostering lasting relationships," says Daniel Greenglass, co-chair and co-founder of Best Buddies Canada. "This year, we are thrilled to honour James Earl Jones who has demonstrated his commitment to those who find triumph over diversity. With the help of a teacher, James Earl Jones overcame a childhood speech impediment to become one of the most recognizable voices in the world. This is one example of how the relationship between two people can have a profound impact on both of their lives, and helps explain the importance of what Best Buddies does across Canada."

James Earl Jones' is one of the preeminent stage and screen actors of his generation. His career has spanned over five decades, over which time he has won the Tony Award for Best Actor twice, won numerous Emmy's and received a Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild as well as an Honorary Academy Award. James Earl Jones' best known films include his feature debut in Stanley Kubrick's classic satire Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), his Academy Award (Best Actor) nominated portrayal of Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope (1970), as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy (1977, 1980, 1983), and as the voice of Mufasa in the Lion King (1994) - notable examples among his more than 90 films.

On stage, James Earl Jones has had an equally remarkable career, rising to prominence as a young man for his portrayals of Shakespearian roles not normally played by African-Americans, and returning to the stage over the many decades since, winning Tony Awards for the Broadway productions of The Great White Hope and Fences. Most recently he played Hoke Colburn in a London run of Driving Miss Daisy and has received his fourth Tony nomination for his performance as former U.S. President Arthur Hockstader in The Best Man.

The Best Buddies annual gala celebrates the importance of inspiring leadership, creating an inclusive and nurturing environment and building friendships in the community and worldwide. Hosted by Seamus O'Regan, the event on September 12, 2012 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel will feature live music, dancing and award presentations.

About Best Buddies

Best Buddies Canada is a national charitable organization dedicated to enhancing communities through one-on-one friendships between individuals with intellectual challenges and students. Founded in Toronto in 1993, Best Buddies Canada now operates in over 250 high school, university and college chapters in every province across the nation and, since its inception, has helped over 85,000 people. For more information, visit www.bestbuddies.ca.

SOURCE: Best Buddies Canada

For further information:

Stephanie Sayer
Devon Group
(416) 504-5151 ext. 287
ssayer@devongroup.ca

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