Interviews


Morgan Freeman


Occupation: Actor, Director
Date of Birth: June 1, 1937
Place of Birth: Memphis, Tenn., USA
Sign: Sun in Gemini, Moon in Pisces
Relations: Wife: Myrna Colley-Lee; ex-wife: Jeanette Adair Bradshaw; kids: Alfonso, Saifoulaye, Deena, Morgana
Education: L.A. City College

 

WHEN the Motion Picture Academy nominated Morgan Freeman as the Best Actor of 1989, for Driving Miss Daisy, he had been performing for over twenty years. The path from his Memphis childhood to his 1968 Broadway debut, in an all-black version of Hello Dolly! that starred Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway, was a bit unusual; it included five years in the Air Force before attending acting school in L.A. In the early seventies, he became widely known for his role as Easy Reader on PBS's educational television program, The Electric Company; he thus began his career as a character actor. His role as an explosive pimp in Street Smart earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, in 1987. His roles grew larger, beginning with Clean and Sober, until he reached outright co-star status in Driving Miss Daisy, Glory, and Unforgiven. In 1993, he directed Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard in the little-heeded apartheid story Bopha!

Freeman earned his second Best Actor nod for his role as a prison inmate in The Shawshank Redemption, and he was the best part of the noirish 1995 film Seven, in which he played a brilliant detective tracking a literary-minded serial killer. But he did little to build on his considerable momentum with his next few outings: he appeared as the plot-cementing servant Hibble in 1996's painfully mawkish adaptation of the Daniel Defoe novel Moll Flanders; as a shady bureaucrat in the patently ridiculous eco-thriller Chain Reaction; and as a police psychologist tracking a serial killer in Kiss the Girls, a film too largely and obviously indebted to Seven. Thankfully, his next performance, as a freed slave in Steven Spielberg's drama Amistad, offered a fair measure of critical redemption. In the disturbing 1998 meteor disaster blockbuster Deep Impact, Freeman appeared as a U.S. president.

Freeman is now one of the very few American black actors given the freedom (by directors like ) to transcend the color of their skin.

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