"I don't get off on romantic parts. But I often think if I had had my dental work done early on, well, maybe." Morgan Freeman
An actor since the 1960s, Morgan Freeman recently won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing a jaded ex-boxer in Clint Eastwood's acclaimed boxing drama Million Dollar Baby (2005). He also won Golden Globe's Best Actor award playing Hoke Colburn in Bruce Beresford' Driving Miss Daisy (1989).
Morgan first rose to fame portraying various characters (1971-1976) in the hit kid's series The Electric Company. Freeman then starred in such credited films as Street Smart (1988), Unforgiven (1992) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994).
A source reported that Freeman blasted African-American associates who did not support the removal of the Confederate battle flag (also sometimes referred to as the "slave flag's") from his home state of Mississippi. He accused them of sustaining hate societies like the Ku Klux Klan by their lack of support. Freeman complained, "The flag, the stars and bars, has personal resonance to me because to me it doesn't represent so much the south as a very negative mind-set that is not necessarily southern. You see that flag wherever you see skinheads, radical right wingers, neo-Nazis, any hate group." He added, "It's pitiful. They still feel that they do not have a say. That's why they don't do it. That's the apathy part of it. It's too bad. Maybe now I'll go and join the Ku Klux Klan."
Childhood and Family:
On June 1, 1937, Morgan Freeman was born to barber Grafton Curtis Freeman and schoolteacher Mayme Edna Freeman. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Morgan and his five siblings lived with their grandparents in the Deep South of Charleston, Mississippi while their parents tried to get jobs in Chicago.
Teenage Morgan joined the US Air Force in 1955 and was a mechanic until 1959. Afterwards, he attended the Los Angeles Community College and studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, California.
Morgan has married twice, once to first wife Jeanette Adair Bradshaw on October 22, 1967 (divorced in 1979) and to present day wife Myrna Colley-Lee (a costume designer) on June 16, 1984. He has two daughters, Deena Freeman (adopted) and Morgana Freeman, and two sons, Alfonso Freeman and Saifoulaye Freeman.
"I gravitate towards gravitas." Morgan Freeman
When first arriving in L.A. in 1959, Morgan Freeman worked as a clerk typist. He won a non-credited role in the film A Man Called Adam (1966) then performed on several New York stages including the off-Broadway production of The Niggerlovers and an all-African-American Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! (alongside Pearl Bailey) in 1968.
After earning his first credited role in the kid's film Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow? (1971), Morgan landed a five-year network contract to portray various characters (1971-1976) on PBS' popular educational series for kids, The Electric Company. He also returned to stage and earned rave reviews for his performance in The Mighty Gents (1978) and Coriolanus (1979).
Morgan also received praise for his work in the feature film Brubaker (1980). In 1981 Freeman was cast in the role of Cleete Murphy (1981) on TV's series Ryan's Hope and Dr. Roy Bingham on the hit soap Another World (1982-1984). Freeman's roles continued rolling in with such film projects as The Marva Collins Story (1981, TV), Death of a Prophet (1981), Eyewitness (1981), Teachers (1984), and Harry and Son (1984). He was also seen in The Execution of Raymond Graham (1985), Marie, a True Story (1985), That Was Then, This Is Now (1985), Resting Place (1986, TV), and Fight for Life (1987, TV). His role as Fast Black in Jerry Schatzberg's crime-drama Street Smart (1987) brought him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
As his name climbed to the top, Morgan was handed several undistinguished parts in films like Clean and Sober (1988), Glory (1989), Johnny Handsome (1989), and Lean on Me (1989). In the late 1980s, Morgan finally won a Golden Globe for Best Actor and was nominated again for an Oscar after starring as chauffeur Hoke Colburn in Bruce Beresford's drama comedy Driving Miss Daisy (1989). Other roles followed such as parts in Brian De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991, with Kevin Costner), The Power of One (1992), and he teamed up with Clint Eastwood in the highly praised western Unforgiven (1992). Morgan also made a stage appearance starring as Petruchio with Tracey Ullman in a production of The Taming of the Shrew (1991).
Behind the screens Morgan debuted in directing with the drama Bopha! (1993). Realizing the average success of his film, Morgan stepped back to the front of the camera and netted another Oscar nomination for portraying Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding in Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's book The Shawshank Redemption (1995, with Tim Robbins).
Morgan was kept busy with films; most notably Outbreak (1995), Seven (1995), Chain Reaction (1996), Amistad (1997), Kiss the Girls (1997), and Hard Rain (1998), as well as the box-office hit Deep Impact (1998). He also both produced and starred in the 1999 TV movie Mutiny.
Morgan was cast in Neil LaBute's feature Nurse Betty (2000, opposite Renee Zellweger), Under Suspicion (2000), Along Came a Spider (2001, Kiss the Girls sequel), The Sum of All Fears (2002), and High Crimes (2002). In 2003 he was most remembered portraying God in the drama-comedy Bruce Almighty, as Miles Evans in Levity, and as Col. Abraham Curtis in Stephen King's book adaptation Dreamcatcher.
Most recently Freeman has been seen in The Big Bounce (2004), Long Walk to Freedom (2004, playing Nelson Mandela), and Unleashed (2005). He also recently took home an Oscar's for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of cynical ex-boxer Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris in Clint Eastwood's award winning Million Dollar Baby (2004), starring Oscar winner for Best Actress Hilary Swank.
A prolific actor, Freeman is now busy working on the upcoming films: An Unfinished Life, Edison, Batman Begins, and Lucky Number Slevin. He is also scheduled to star in The Contract, Harry and the Butler, Untitled Morgan Freeman WWII Project, and Colors Straight Up.
"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part." Morgan Freeman
- Academy Award: Best Supporting Actor, Million Dollar Baby, 2005
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Million Dollar Baby, 2005
- Theatre Memphis: Cast in Memphis, 2004
- The Will Award: The Sixth Annual William Shakespeare Award, 1993
- National Board of Review: Best Actor, Driving Miss Daisy, 1990
- Golden Globe: Best Actor in Comedy, Driving Miss Daisy, 1990
- Berlin Film Festival: Best Joint Performance, Driving Miss Daisy, 1990
- NAACP Image: Best Actor, Lean on Me, 1989
- Obie Award: Best Actor, The Gospel at Colonus, 1988
- Independent Spirit: Best Supporting Actor, Street Smart, 1988
- Obie Award: Performance, Street Smart, 1987
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actor, Street Smart, 1987
- Los Angeles Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, Street Smart, 1987
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, Street Smart, 1987
- Obie Award: Performance, Driving Miss Daisy, 1986-1987
- Obie Award: Performance, Gospel at Colonus, 1983-1984
- Obie Award: Mother Courage and Her Children, 1980
- Obie Award: Best Actor, Coriolanus, 1979
- Clarence Derwent: Best Actor, Mighty Gents, 1978
- Drama Desk: Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Mighty Gents, 1978