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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Who is Morgan Porterfield Freeman, Jr.?

Who is Morgan Porterfield Freeman, Jr.? The acting world knows him as Morgan Freeman. He is an American actor, film director, and narrator. He is noted for his reserved demeanor and authoritative speaking voice.

Freeman has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus and won in 2005 for Million Dollar Baby. He has also won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Freeman has appeared in many other box office hits, including Unforgiven, Glory, Seven, Deep Impact, The Sum of All Fears, Bruce Almighty, Batman Begins, The Bucket List, Evan Almighty, Wanted, and The Dark Knight.


Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Mayme Edna (née Revere) and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, Sr., a barber who died in 1961 from liver cirrhosis. Freeman was sent as an infant to his paternal grandmother in Charleston, Mississippi.[1][2][3] He has three older siblings. Freeman's family moved frequently during his childhood, living in Greenwood, Mississippi; Gary, Indiana; and finally Chicago, Illinois.[3] Freeman made his acting debut at age 9, playing the lead role in a school play. He then attended Broad Street High School, currently Threadgill Elementary School, in Mississippi. At age 12, he won a statewide drama competition, and while still at Broad Street High School, he performed in a radio show based in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1955, he graduated from Broad Street High School, but turned down a partial drama scholarship from Jackson State University, opting instead to work as a mechanic in the United States Air Force.

Freeman moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s and worked as a transcript clerk at Los Angeles Community College. During this period, he also lived in New York City, working as a dancer at the 1964 World's Fair, and in San Francisco, where he was a member of the Opera Ring music group. Freeman acted in a touring company version of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and also appeared as an extra in the 1965 film The Pawnbroker. He made his off-Broadway debut in 1967, opposite Viveca Lindfors in The Nigger Lovers[4][5] (about the civil rights era "Freedom Riders"), before debuting on Broadway in 1968's all-black version of Hello, Dolly!, which also starred Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway.

Although his first credited film appearance was in 1971's Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?, Freeman first became known in the American media through roles on the soap opera Another World and the PBS kids' show The Electric Company,[3] (notably as Easy Reader and Vincent the Vegetable Vampire) which he later said he should have left earlier than he did.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, Freeman began playing prominent supporting roles in many feature films, earning him a reputation for depicting wise, fatherly characters.[3] As he gained fame, he went on to bigger roles in films such as the chauffeur Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, and

Sergeant Major Rawlins in Glory (both in 1989).[3]

In 1994 he portrayed Red, the redeemed convict in the acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption. He also starred in films such as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Unforgiven, Seven, and Deep Impact. In 1997, Freeman, together with Lori McCreary, founded the movie production company Revelations Entertainment, and the two co-head its sister online movie distribution company ClickStar. Freeman also hosts the channel Our Space on ClickStar, with specially crafted film clips in which he shares his love for the sciences, especially space exploration and aeronautics.

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After three previous nominations—a supporting actor nomination for Street Smart, and leading actor nominations for Driving Miss Daisy, and The Shawshank Redemption—he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Million Dollar Baby at the 77th Academy Awards.[3] Freeman is recognized for his distinctive voice, making him a frequent choice for narration. In 2005 alone, he provided narration for two films, War of the Worlds and the Academy Award-winning documentary film March of the Penguins.

In 1991, Freeman was offered a lead role in Jurassic Park. Unsure that dinosaurs could make for interesting co-stars, Freeman traveled to the American Museum of Natural History to see the "damn beasts". In a 2007 interview with Atlanta Radio Correspondent Veronica Waters, Freeman revealed that he was stunned when he learned that birds are descended from dinosaurs. While he turned down the role, Freeman spent the next summer reading books on ornithology. This would later lead to his desire to narrate the documentary March of the Penguins.

Freeman appeared as God in the hit movie Bruce Almighty and its sequel, Evan Almighty, as well as Lucius Fox in the critical and commercial success Batman Begins and its 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight. He starred in Rob Reiner's 2007 film The Bucket List, opposite Jack Nicholson. He teamed with Christopher Walken and William H. Macy for the comedy The Maiden Heist, which was released direct to video due to financial problems of the distribution company. In 2008, Freeman returned to Broadway to co-star with Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher for a limited engagement of Clifford Odets's play, The Country Girl, directed by Mike Nichols.

He has wanted to do a film based on Nelson Mandela for some time. At first he tried to get Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, adapted into a finished script, but it could never be finalized.[6] In 2007 he purchased the film rights to a pre-published 2008 book by John Carlin, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation.[7] Clint Eastwood directed the Nelson Mandela bio-pic titled Invictus, starring Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby team captain Francois Pienaar.[8] It was reported in July 2009 that Freeman is in talks to co-star alongside Bruce Willis in Red.[9]


Effective January 4, 2010, Freeman replaced Walter Cronkite as the voiceover introduction to the CBS Evening News featuring Katie Couric as news anchor.[10] CBS cited the need for consistency in introductions for regular news broadcasts and special reports as the basis for the change.[10]

As of 2010, Freeman is the host and narrator of the Discovery Channel television show "Through the Wormhole."[11


Freeman was married to Jeanette Adair Bradshaw from October 22, 1967, until 1979. He married Myrna Colley-Lee on June 16, 1984. The couple separated in December 2007. Freeman's attorney and business partner, Bill Luckett, announced in August 2008 that Freeman and his wife are in the process of divorce.[12] He has two sons from previous relationships. He adopted his first wife's daughter and the couple also had a fourth child. Freeman lives in Charleston, Mississippi, and New York City. He has a private pilot's license, which he earned at age 65,[13] and co-owns and operates Madidi, a fine dining restaurant, and Ground Zero, a blues club, both located in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He officially opened his second Ground Zero in Memphis, Tennessee on April 24, 2008.

Morgan Freeman, one of Hollywood's most beloved actors, just earned the term "dirty old man". According to the National Enquirer, Morgan Freeman has been involved in a decade long affair with his 27 year old step-granddaughter E'Dena Hines.
E'Dena is the granddaughter of Jeanette Adair Bradshaw, Morgan Freeman's first wife. The actor has known her since she was a child. The affair led to Freeman's breakup with his wife Myra of 25 years and also his former mistress Mary Joyce Hays.

Freeman has publicly criticized the celebration of Black History Month and does not participate in any related events, saying, "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."[14] He says the only way to end racism is to stop talking about it, and he notes that there is no "white history month".[15] Freeman once said on an interview with 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace: "I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man."[14] Freeman supported the defeated proposal to change the Mississippi state flag, which contains the Confederate battle flag.[16][17]

On October 28, 2006, Freeman was honored at the first Mississippi's Best Awards in Jackson, Mississippi, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his works on and off the big screen. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts and Letters from Delta State University during the school's commencement exercises on May 13, 2006.[18]

In 2008 Freeman's family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2. A DNA test showed that he is descended from the Songhai and Tuareg peoples of Niger.

In 2004 Freeman and others formed the Grenada Relief Fund to aid people affected by Hurricane Ivan on the island of Grenada. The Grenada Relief Fund has since become PLANIT NOW, an organization that seeks to provide preparedness resources for people living in hurricane and severe-storm afflicted areas.[19]


Freeman has worked on narrating small clips for global organizations, such as One Earth,[20] whose goals include raising awareness of environmental issues. He has narrated the clip "Why Are We Here", which can be viewed on One Earth's website.

Freeman endorsed Barack Obama's candidacy for the United States presidential election, 2008, although he stated that he would not join Obama's campaign.[21] He narrates for The Hall of Presidents with Barack Obama, who has been added to the exhibit.[22][23] The Hall of Presidents re-opened on July 4, 2009 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.[23]

Freeman has donated money to the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville, Mississippi. The Horse park is part of Mississippi State University. Freeman has several horses that he takes there.[24]

Freeman was injured in an automobile accident near Ruleville, Mississippi, on the night of August 3, 2008. The vehicle in which he was traveling, a 1997 Nissan Maxima, left the highway and flipped over several times. He and a female passenger, Demaris Meyer, were rescued from the vehicle using the "Jaws of Life". Freeman was taken via medical helicopter to The Regional Medical Center (The Med) hospital in Memphis.[25][26] Police ruled out alcohol as a factor in the crash.[27] Freeman was coherent following the crash, as he joked to a photographer about taking his picture at the scene.[28] He broke his shoulder, arm and elbow in the crash and had surgery on August 5, 2008. Doctors operated for four hours to repair nerve damage in his shoulder and arm.[29] His publicist announced he was expected to make a full recovery.[30][31] Meyer, his passenger, has sued him for negligence, claiming that he was drinking the night of the accident.[32] She has denied reports that they were romantically involved.[33]

In July 2009 Freeman was one of the presenters at the 46664 concert (celebrating Nelson Mandela's birthday) at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.

Freeman was the first American to record a par on Legend Golf & Safari Resort's Extreme 19th hole.[34]



American actor Morgan Freeman in serious condition after car accident
Freeman was injured in an automobile accident near Ruleville, Mississippi, on August 4, 2008. The vehicle in which he was traveling, a 1997 Nissan Maxima, left the highway and flipped over several times. He and a female passenger were rescued from the vehicle using the "Jaws of Life". Freeman was evacuated via medical helicopter to a hospital in Memphis.[14][15] Police ruled out alcohol as a factor in the crash.[16] Freeman was coherent during the crash, as he joked to a photographer about taking his picture at the scene.[17] He broke his shoulder, arm and elbow in the crash and had minor surgery on August 5. Doctors operated for four hours trying to control nerve damage in his shoulder and arm.[18] His publicist announced he is expected to make a full recovery.[19]

Filmography

Films

Year Film Role Notes
1980 Brubaker Walter
1981 Eyewitness Lieutenant Black
1984 Teachers Al Lewis
Harry & Son Siemanowski
1985 Marie Charles Traughber
That Was Then... This Is Now Charlie Woods
1987 Street Smart Fast Black Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1988 Clean and Sober Craig
1989 Glory Sgt. Maj. John Rawlins
Driving Miss Daisy Hoke Colburn Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Lean on Me Principal Joe Clark
Johnny Handsome Lt. A.Z. Drones
1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities Judge Leonard White
The Civil War Voice of Frederick Douglass
1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Azeem Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo shared with Kevin Costner
1992 Unforgiven Ned Logan
The Power of One Geel Piet
1993 Bopha!
director only
1994 The Shawshank Redemption Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding, Narrator Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture
1995 Outbreak Brig. Gen. Billy Ford
Se7en Detective Lt. William Somerset Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo shared with Brad Pitt
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
1996 Chain Reaction Paul Shannon
Moll Flanders Hibble
Cosmic Voyage Narrator
1997 Amistad Theodore Joadson
Kiss The Girls Dr. Alex Cross
1998 Deep Impact President Tom Beck
Hard Rain Jim
2000 Nurse Betty Charlie Quinn
Under Suspicion Victor Benezet
2001 Along Came a Spider Dr. Alex Cross
2002 The Sum of All Fears DCI William Cabot
High Crimes Charlie Grimes
2003 Bruce Almighty God
Dreamcatcher Col. Abraham Curtis
Levity Pastor Miles Evans
Drug War Lt. Redding
2004 Million Dollar Baby Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Hunting of the President Narrator limited release
The Big Bounce Walter Crewes
2005 An Unfinished Life Mitch Bradley
War of the Worlds Narrator
March of the Penguins Narrator
Batman Begins Lucius Fox
Unleashed Sam
2006 Edison Force Ashford
The Contract Frank Carden
Lucky Number Slevin The Boss
10 Items or Less Himself
2007 Evan Almighty God
Feast of Love Harry Stephenson
Gone, Baby, Gone Jack Doyle
The Bucket List Carter Chambers Also Narrator
2008 Wanted Sloan
The Love Guru Narrator Voice
The Dark Knight Lucius Fox
2009 Prom Night in Mississippi Himself limited release
Thick as Thieves Keith Ripley
The Maiden Heist Charlie
The Code

Invictus Nelson Mandela NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor tied with George Clooney for Up in the Air
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actor
2010 Red Joe filming

Television appearances

Year Title Role Notes
1971–1977 The Electric Company Easy Reader, DJ Mel Mounds, Dracula, Vincent the Vegetable Vampire television series
1978 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Uncle Hammer made-for-television
1981 The Marva Collins Story Clarence Collins made-for-television
1985 The Twilight Zone Tony Television series (episode "Dealer's Choice")
1986 Resting Place Luther Johnson made-for-television
1987 Fight For Life Dr. Sherard made-for-television
2008 Smithsonian Channel's Sound Revolution Himself (host) television series, series host
Stephen Fry in America Himself television series, appears in episode 3
2010 The Colbert Report Himself interview
The Daily Show Himself interview
Through the Wormhole
with Morgan Freeman[11]
Himself (host) television series, series host

Other awards and honoraries













Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy








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