Robert Earl Jones (February 3, 1910 – September 7, 2006) was an American actor. He is best known for his roles in the films The Cotton Club and The Sting and as the father of actor James Earl Jones. Born in Mississippi, the specific location of his birth is unclear as some sources indicate Senatobia, while others suggest nearby Coldwater. Additionally, his date of birth has been variously reported by different sources as between 1900 and 1911. The most likely date is 1910 as reported by the United States Social Security Administration. Jones had to leave school to become a sharecropper, and later he became a prizefighter before making his way, via Chicago, to New York City and a career on stage and in film. Under the name "Battling Bill Stovall", he was a sparring partner of Joe Louis. Altogether Jones appeared in more than twenty films, including The Cotton Club (1984) and The Sting (1973). Jones was a living link with the Harlem renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, having worked with Langston Hughes early in his career.