Morgan Freeman is an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award winning American actor, film director, and film narrator. Noted for his reserved demeanor and authoritative speaking voice, Freeman has become one of Hollywood's most popular and respected actors.
Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Mayme Edna (née Revere), a cleaner, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, Sr., a barber who died in 1961 from liver cirrhosis. He was sent as an infant to his paternal grandmother in Charleston, Mississippi. He has three older siblings. Freeman's family moved frequently during his childhood, living in Greenwood, Mississippi, Gary, Indiana, and finally Chicago, Illinois. Freeman made his acting debut at age eight, playing the lead role in a school play. At age twelve, he won a statewide drama competition, and while in high school performed in a radio show based in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1955, he turned down a partial drama scholarship from Jackson State University, opting to work as a mechanic in the United States Air Force.
Freeman moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s and worked as a transcript clerk at Los Angeles Community College. During this period, he 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 music group. Freeman 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. He 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.
Although his first credited film appearance was in 1971's Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?, Freeman first became known in the American media through roles on the soap opera Another World and the PBS kids' show The Electric Company, (notably as Easy Reader and Vincent the Vegetable Vampire).
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Freeman began playing prominent supporting roles in many feature films, earning him a reputation for depicting wise and fatherly characters. As he gained fame, he went on to bigger roles in films such as the chauffeur Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, and Sergeant Major Rawlins in Glory (both in 1989). In 1994 he portrayed Red, the redeemed convict in the acclaimed The Shawshank Redemption. His star power was already confirmed as he starred in some of the biggest films of the 1990s, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Se7en, and Deep Impact. In 1997, Freeman, together with Lori McCreary, founded the movie production company Revelations Entertainment, and the two co-head its sister online movie distribution company ClickStar.
After three previous nominations – a supporting actor nomination for Street Smart (1987), and leading actor nominations for Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Million Dollar Baby at the 77th Academy Awards. Freeman is recognized for his distinctive voice, making him a frequent choice for narration. In 2005 alone, he provided narration for two of the most successful films of the year, War of the Worlds and the Academy Award-winning documentary film March of the Penguins.
Freeman has recently been well known for his role as God in the hit movie Bruce Almighty and its sequel, Evan Almighty, as well as his role as Lucius Fox in the critical and commercial success Batman Begins and its upcoming sequel, The Dark Knight. He starred in Rob Reiner's 2007 film The Bucket List, opposite Jack Nicholson, playing terminal cancer patients who must fulfill their lists of goals. He teams with Christopher Walken and William H. Macy in the comedy The Lonely Maiden, due out in late 2008.
Freeman was married to Jeanette Adair Bradshaw from October 22, 1967, until 1979. He has been married to Myrna Colley-Lee since June 16, 1984. He has two sons, Alfonso and Saifoulaye, from previous relationships. He adopted his first wife's daughter, Deena, and the couple also had a fourth child, Morgana. Freeman lives in Charleston, Mississippi, and New York City.