Morgan Freeman is a successful and widely respected American actor and director, who has received 4 Oscar nominations along with winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar Award for the movie “Million Dollar Baby”. Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee in June 1937. He lived with his grandmother in Mississippi as a child while his parents moved to Chicago to find work. His parents later got divorced, and when Freeman’s grandmother passed away, he moved around with his mother until she finally settled in Greenwood, Mississippi. He had always been interested in watching movies and admired the famous actors of his day such as Gary Cooper and Sidney Poitier. However, he had no intention of taking up acting as a career himself until a chance incident in high school showed that he had the talent to perform on stage. He was forced to be in his high school play as a punishment for a prank he had pulled, but to everyone’s surprise, he took the stage like a natural.
Although he was offered a partial drama scholarship when he graduated from high school in 1955, he instead enrolled in the U.S. Air Force to become a fighter pilot, which had always been a passion of his. He was sorely disappointed with his time there. In his mind, he had pictured himself flying fighter jets – instead he was assigned to ground duty as a technician. In 1959, he decided to quit the Air Force and pursue a career in acting. He moved to Hollywood and took acting classes but it was a while before he landed any major roles. He stuck to his decision, despite the fact that he was working petty jobs and giving countless auditions. In the 1960s he moved to New York to try his luck there. His first major role was in a 1967 Broadway play called “Hello, Dolly!” which had an all African American cast. He also married Jeanette Adair Bradshaw that year, and landed a part in another production called “The Nigger Lovers”.
In 1971, he joined the cast of a children’s TV show called “The Electric Company” along with prominent Hollywood stars such as Joan Rivers and Gene Wilder. When the show was cancelled in 1976, Freeman found himself back to square one, still waiting for his big movie break. He was also having trouble in his personal life and began drinking. Freeman and his wife divorced in 1979 but the next year he landed a part in a Robert Redford film called “Brubaker”. His next major Hollywood role came with the 1987 film “Street Smart” in which he played the role of a pimp. This performance won him his first Oscar nomination for the Best Supporting Actor award. Just two years down the road, he received his second Oscar nomination, this time for a leading role in the iconic film “Driving Miss Daisy”.
Several blockbuster movies followed for Freeman throughout the 1990s, which included Shawshank Redemption (for which he received another Best Actor Oscar nomination), Seven, Amistad, Kiss the Girls and Deep Impact. Some of his comedic roles include Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty and The Bucket List. The first and so far the only Oscar he has won was for his role as a retired boxer in his friend Clint Eastwood’s film “Million Dollar Baby” released in 2004. Very soon after this, he starred in Batman Begins (2005) and then the sequels Dark Knight (2008) and Dark Knight Rises (2012). In 2010 he received his fifth Oscar nomination for playing the role of Nelson Mandela in the movie “Invictus”.
Morgan Freeman is famous for his deep, distinctive voice and has narrated several documentaries such as “War of the Worlds” and “March of the Penguins”. He is also known for his versatility as an actor, choosing widely different and challenging roles between one movie and the next. At the 2012 Golden Globes, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his exceptional accomplishments as an entertainer. Freeman is now 77 years old and divorced from his second wife Myrna. Some of his latest movies include “Lucy”, “Life Itself” and “Transcendence”.