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Respected actor Morgan Freeman has appeared in such films as Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven and Batman Begins.
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When Morgan Freeman went back to visit his parents in Mississippi in the 1950s, he realized the state was the only place that felt like home.
Morgan Freeman has become a Hollywood Icon and with an impressive body of work that includes "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption." He became a key figure in the shift from minor to major roles for African-American actors.
Morgan Freeman describes what inspired him to direct his first film, "Bopha!"
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Around that time, Freeman also performed in an off-Broadway production of The Nigger Lovers.
Some national exposure followed in 1971, when he started appearing regularly on The Electric Company, a public television-produced children's TV show that focused on teaching kids how to read. On a show that included such current and future stars as Rita Moreno, Joan Rivers,
and Gene Wilder, Freeman had some of the show's more memorable characters, like "Easy Reader," "Mel Mounds," and "Count Dracula."
But television proved to be a grueling and demanding life for Freeman. Despite some stage work, including a Tony-nominated performance in The Mighty Gents in the late 1970s, Freeman couldn't seem to break into movies like he wanted. When The Electric Company was canceled in 1976, Freeman saw himself starring at a career that was far from grounded. His personal life was hurting, too. Long before the show ended, Freeman found that his marriage had started to fall apart, and he began drinking too much. Freeman and Jeanette divorced in 1979.
A year after his divorce, Freeman's career caught a break when he landed a part as a crazed inmate in the Robert Redford film, Brubaker (1980). However, the steady stream of film work he hoped would follow did not materialize, and Freeman was forced to retreat back to television for two hard years on the cast of the soap opera Another World.
For much of the rest of the decade, Freeman took on roles that earned him some acclaim—but not the big, powerful jobs that would garner A-list attention. There was a part in the 1984 Paul Newman film Harry and Son, and he was narrator for the TV mini series, The Atlanta Child Murders among other roles.
In 1987, Freeman's fortunes changed when he was cast in the film Street Smart, which placed the actor on the screen as the volatile pimp Fast Black. The role proved to be huge success for Freeman, earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Film critic Pauline Kael even went so far as to ask out loud, "Is Morgan Freeman the greatest American actor?" Two years later, Freeman earned more acclaim—a Golden Glove Award for Best Actor and a second Oscar nomination—as the kind-hearted but stubborn chauffeur in 1989's Driving Miss Daisy. By the 1990s, Freeman was starring in such big budget films as 1994's The Shawshank Redemption, Seven (1995) and Deep Impact (1998).
In 2005, Freeman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby. In 2008, he reprised his role as Lucius Fox in Batman Begins (2005) for the blockbuster sequel The Dark Knight.
At the 2012 Golden Globes, Freeman received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment."
"I like being ecclectic," he has said about his film choices. "The more varied the better; the wider the range. I've been sucked into a kind of mold of a good guy and that's actually almost beyond my ability to control. But other than that, a good story and an interesting character is all I am looking for."
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See our group of screen presidents, which includes actors who have played real-life American presidents as well as faux chief executives. Biography.com's Screen President group includes Frank Langella, Morgan Freeman, Josh Brolin, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis and many more.
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Best Supporting Actor Oscar Winners 46 people in this group
Celebrity Aviators 21 people in this group