News articles like this one are stating that James Earl Jones is looking to wind down his career, and has supposedly given permission for Disney to use artificial intelligence and archival recordings to recreate his voice in the future.
Jones first played Vader in Star Wars in 1977 and most recently, his voice was used in the 2022 Obi-Wan Disney+ series. This is a time period of 45 years.
Has any other actor in a sci-fi production played the same role for a longer period of time? This can include both live-action and voice work.
The only caveat I would place on this would be that the actor must have been alive when the role was played, but they can have died before the material was published.
I've looked at some Doctor Who actors (as the longest-running sci-fi TV show) and have been unable to find anyone with a similar length of service:
- Carol Ann Ford (Susan Foreman, Dr. Who, 1963-1993) - 30 Years
- Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith, Dr. Who, 1973-2011) - 38 Years
EDIT: The following contenders have been suggested via various answers:
Noel Neill - Lois Lane (Superman) - 1948-2013 - 65 Years
Jack Larson - Jimmy Olsen (Superman) - 1952-2013 - 61 Years
William Russel - Ian Chesterton (Dr Who) - 1963-2022 - 59 Years
Carole Ann Ford - Susan Foreman (Dr Who) - 1963-2021 - 58 Years
William Shatner - James T Kirk (Star Trek) - 1966-2019 - 53 Years
George Takei - Hikaru Sulu (Star Trek) - 1966-2019 - 53 Years
Leonard Nimoy - Spock (Star Trek) - 1966-2013 - 47 Years
Tom Baker - The Doctor (Dr Who) - 1974-2021- 47 Years
Ysanne Churchman - Alpha Centauri ( Dr Who) - 1972-2017 - 45 Years
Majel Barrett - Computer (Star Trek) - 1966-2009 - 43 Years
Paul Naschy - Count Waldemar Daninsky (Various) - 1968-2004 - 36 Years