|Real Name: Morgan Freeman|
|Place of Birth: Memphis, Tennessee|
|Education: Los Angeles Community College, Los Angeles, CA|
By the time he was legendary, it seemed as though artist Morgan Freeman had previously had an extensive and esteemed profession. While he worked vigorously for years in small productions in New York City and on public television’s early morning children’s show “The Electric Company” (1971-1977) which, to his embarrassment, was his most commonly known role, he would not achieve well-known publicity until he landed the Oscar nominated part of the hot-headed pimp Fast Black in “Street Smart” (1987). Due to that role, the actor rocketed into national celebrity, swiftly becoming a household name, and one of Hollywood’s most notable entertainers.
He was nominated yet again just two years later for his interpretation of Hoke Coleburn in “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989), a role reworked from an earlier off-Broadway production. A third nomination for “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) firmed up his already admired charm as a superior actor. While it took another ten years to actually win an Academy Award, his part in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) ultimately won Freeman the award, and was by then decisively established as one of the best and most admired performers of his genre.
Born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, Morgan jumped around with his family, making extended layovers in Charleston, MS and Chicago, Illinois before settling in Greenwood, MS. His years spent studying movies, in particular ones with horses and somebody carrying a revolver, provoked him to want to be an actor. Encouraged by teachers at Greenwood High School from where he graduated in 1955, he followed acting only after his attempt to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
But since it was the mid 1950's, he found a military reluctant to allowing African Americans to fly aircraft. The only job accessible to him was radar mechanic. Though discrimination certainly discouraged him from his ambition, his awareness that flying combat planes meant probably killing other humans was the reason he focused his dreams on acting. After his departure from the Air Force in 1961, the young man headed to Los Angeles, where he signed up at the City College and started his drama and acting.
At LACC, he polished his famous harsh speaking manner with the help of speech lessons. In 1971, he created "Easy Reader" on “The Electric Company”, a hip and classy reading expert who performed song and dance routines to educate children about reading.
Although anticipating only doing the series for a few seasons, he managed to hang around for eight seasons. He returned to the theater after “The Electric Company,” winning numerous awards, including a Drama Desk Award and the Clarence Derwent Award, for his portrayal as the drunk Zeke in “The Mighty Gents” in 1978. He also won a Tony Award nomination for the same role.
His first Oscar nominated performance in "Street Smart” forever changed his future. After receiving another Oscar nomination for his role as Hoke Colburn in "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), he gave a knock out rendition in "Glory" (1989) with Denzel Washington, the mind bending story of the first unit of African American servicemen to serve for the United States during the Civil War.
He followed with an appearance as the compassionate Judge White in “The Bonfire of the Vanities”
starring Tom Hanks
and Bruce Willis in
returning to form with a role as the mysterious, yet honest
in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991) with Kevin
Costner and Christian
The actor was then hired and cast in "Unforgiven" (1992), the Oscar winning Western directed by Clint Eastwood. He played Ned Logan, past gunslinger turned righteous man who is influenced by a former desperado (Clint Eastwood) to help right the wrongs piled onto a prostitute. He made his directorial debut with the story of a black South African detective and his son separated by apartheid in "Bopha!" (1993), afterwards he said he would never direct again. In 1994, he won his third Oscar nomination for his representation of Red, a man serving a life sentence in prison who has access to everything in the facility except for hope, in the heartbreaking tragedy "The Shawshank Redemption” about two imprisoned men who bond over a number of years, who find comfort and liberation through acts of common decency and kindness.
He won more compliments for his role as a tired cop tracking a serial killer with trainee partner (Brad Pitt) in "Se7en" (1995) featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. He then appeared as Hibble in the movie version of "Moll Flanders" (1996), and as the unfriendly supporter of a university's research project in "Chain Reaction" (1996) starring Keanu Reeves. The following year, he had the chance to lead a film, playing police detective and psychiatric specialist Alex Cross in the thriller "Kiss the Girls" (1997), about police hunting for a serial killer who are helped when a victim manages to escape.
Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg used the actor for the role of a former slave turned abolitionist in "Amistad" (1997), while director Mimi Leder viewed the now famous actor as the celebrity to give honor and direction to a world in turmoil as the United States president dealing with an approaching meteor crash in "Deep Impact" (1998).
Norgan added a producer credit to his resume with the non-fiction television production "Mutiny" (1999), which detailed the behind the scenes actions that led to the decision to integrate the United States military. Both Freeman and actor Gene Hackman then worked as as co-producers and co-stars in the cops and robbers car chase drama "Under Suspicion" (2000), about a lawyer who is asked to come to the police station to clear up a few loose ends in his witness report of a foul murder.
Later that year, he presented a great performance as a hit man who obsesses over the woman (Rene Zellweger) he has targeted to murder in "Nurse Betty," one of the most touching and original roles of his career. Following was a role of cop Alex Cross in the prequel "Along Came a Spider" (2001) opposite Monica Potter, about a congressman's daughter under Secret Service protection who is kidnapped from a private school by an insider. The actor then worked with "Kiss the Girls" co-star Ashley Judd in the thriller "High Crimes" (2002), then played the director of the CIA in "The Sum of All Fears" (2002), as the guru to a young Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) in the big screen version of the Tom Clancy book.
During 2003, he was hired and cast as a fanatical space invader fighting armed forces officer in the mystical thriller "Dreamcatcher" (2003). The actor was next seen as an amiable God in the smash comedy "Bruce Almighty," starring Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston (2003), then as a Hawaiian cop in the Elmore Leonard original adventure "The Big Bounce" (2004) with Owen Wilson. He next appeared in the smash hit “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) with Hilary Swank, an outstanding and sensitive film directed by Clint Eastwood. As Scraps, an old boxer full of regret and sadness and blind in one eye, he gave an outstanding performance that earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
He continued with a steady output of movies after his Oscar win for "Million Dollar baby". He followed with a role in “Unleashed” (2005) as a blind piano tuner who helps a trained boxer escape from his teacher’s confined basement to begin a new life. The balance of martial arts and candid sentimentality earned the action adventure loads of applause.
The admired actor thrilled comic book fans when he played Bruce Wayne's sidekick Lucius Fox, the character with the keys to all of the Dark Knight's mysterious, high-tech gadgets, in "Batman Begins" (2005) with Christian Bale, a prequel to the film franchise that profioled the superhero's murky beginning. He also lent his famous voice to a pair of animated projects, "March of the Penguins" (2005), the Americanized version of the graceful French nature documentary "La Marche de L'empereur," and Steven Spielberg's fascinating remake of the science fiction classic "War of the Worlds" (2005) starring Tom Cruise.
His next release, director Lasse Hallstrom's overdue "An Unfinished Life" (2005) with Jennifer Lopez, cast the actor in a role that echoed his "Million Dollar Baby" part despite being filmed first, playing the easy going best friend of a irritable rancher (Robert Redford).
Morgan did take a break playing good guys to play the sporadic scoundrel. In “Lucky Number Slevin” (2006) with Bruce Willis and Lucy Liu, a thriller about a case of mistaken identity, he plays a New York City mafia boss waging war against his next door adversary (Ben Kingsley) while trying to get an innocent man (Josh Hartnett) to pay on an unsettled debt. After serving as executive producer and starring in “10 Items or Less” (2007), a sad comedy about an aging Hollywood star who starts an unlikely friendship with a sarcastic checkout clerk (Paz Vega), he revisited his role as God in “Evan Almighty” (2007). Next was the crime drama "Gone Baby Gone" (2007) about two Boston area detectives who investigate a little girl's kidnapping,
Also that year, he was hired and cast in the romantic comedy "Feast Of Love" (2007) before ending the year with the comedy adventure "The Bucket List" (2007) starring Jack Nicholson, about two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. His big flick in 2008 was the action thriller "The Dark Knight" (2008) with Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, where Batman and James Gordon join forces with Gotham's new District Attorney, Harvey Dent, to take on a psychotic bank robber known as The Joker, whilst other forces plot against them, and Joker's crimes grow more and more deadly. Next was the action thriller "Wanted" (2008) that tells the tale of one apathetic nobody's transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice.
Finishing up the year, Freeman starred with Antonio Banderas in the crime film "The Code" (2008) about a veteran thief who recruits a younger crook to help him pull off one final job in order to repay his debt to the Russian mob. He wrapped up the year with the crime comedy "The Lonely Maiden" (2008), a comedy centered on three museum security guards who devise a plan to steal back the artworks to which they have become attached after they are transferred to another museum.
The hardest working man in Hollywood had two films for 2009 including the strange science fiction film "Rendezvous with Rama" (2009) about a team of astronauts who are sent on a mission to explore a giant interstellar spaceship hurtling toward the sun. Based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Morgan ended the year with the war drama "The Last Full Measure" (2009) starring Bruce Willis, about an ambitious government bureaucrat who is given an unwelcome assignment that could harm his carefully orchestrated career.