1 june, 1937
Morgan Freeman is an American actor, film director, and narrator. Freeman has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus, and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar 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, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Seven, Deep Impact, The Sum of All Fears, Bruce Almighty, Along Came a Spider, The Dark Knight trilogy, March of the Penguins and The Lego Movie. He is known for his distinctively smooth, deep voice. He got his first break as part of the cast of The Electric Company.
Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 1, 1937. He is the son of Mayme Edna (née Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber who died April 27, 1961, from cirrhosis. He has three older siblings. According to a DNA analysis, some of his ancestors were from Niger. Freeman was sent as an infant to his paternal grandmother in Charleston, Mississippi. He moved frequently during his childhood, living in Greenwood, Mississippi; Gary, Indiana; and finally Chicago, Illinois.
Freeman made his acting debut at age nine, playing the lead role in a school play. He then attended Broad Street High School, a building which serves today as Threadgill Elementary School, in Greenwood, 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, but turned down a partial drama scholarship from Jackson State University, opting instead to enlist in the United States Air Force. Freeman served in the U.S. Air Force as a Automatic Tracking Radar Repairman and rose to the rank of Airman 1st Class.
After four years in the military, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he took acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse and dancing lessons in San Francisco in the early 1960s and worked as a transcript clerk at Los Angeles City College. During this period, Freeman 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 musical theater group. He 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. Freeman made his off-Broadway debut in 1967, opposite Viveca Lindfors in The Nigger Lovers (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.
He continued to be involved in theater work and received the Obie Award in 1980 for the title role in Coriolanus. In 1984, he received his second Obie Award for his role as the preacher in The Gospel at Colonus. Freeman also won a Drama Desk Award and a Clarence Derwent Award for his role as a wino in The Mighty Gents. He received his third Obie Award for his role as a chauffeur for a Jewish widow in Driving Miss Daisy, which was adapted for the screen in 1989.