Morgan Freeman is an American actor, film director, aviator and narrator. Freeman has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus and won 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, Seven, Deep Impact, The Sum of All Fears, Bruce Almighty, Batman Begins, March of the Penguins, The Bucket List, Wanted, The Dark Knight, and RED.
Freeman made his acting debut at age 9, playing the lead role in a school play. He then attended Broad Street High School, currently Threadgill Elementary School, in Mississippi. At age 12, he won a state-wide 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 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 first appeared on TV screens as several characters including "Easy Reader", "Mel Mounds" and "Count Dracula" on the Children's Television Workshop show "The Electric Company" (1971). He then moved into feature film with another children's adventure, Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow! (1971). Next, there was a small role in the thriller Blade (1973); then he played "Casca" in Julius Caesar (1979) (V) and the title role in Coriolanus (1979) (V). Regular work was coming in for the talented Freeman and he appeared in the prison dramas Attica (1980) (TV) and Brubaker (1980), the slow-moving Eyewitness (1981), and portrayed the final 24 hours of slain Malcolm X in Death of a Prophet (1981) (TV). For most of the 1980s, Freeman continued to contribute decent enough performances in films that fluctuated in their quality. However, he really stood out, scoring an Oscar nomination as a merciless hoodlum in Street Smart (1987) and, then, he dazzled audiences and pulled a second Oscar nomination as the patient and dignified chauffeur assisting moody pensioner Jessica Tandy in the delightful Driving Miss Daisy (1989). The same year, Freeman teamed up with youthful Matthew Broderick and fiery Denzel Washington in the epic Civil War drama Glory (1989) about freed slaves being recruited to form the first all-African American fighting brigade.
Freeman's star continued to rise, and the 1990s kicked off strongly with roles in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and The Power of One (1992). Freeman's next role was as gunman "Ned Logan", wooed out of retirement by friend "William Munny" to avenge several prostitutes in the wild west town of Big Whiskey in Clint Eastwood's de-mythologized western Unforgiven (1992). The film was a critical and box-office smash and scored an acting Oscar for Gene Hackman, a directing Oscar for Eastwood, and the Oscar for best picture.
Freeman's work did not go unnoticed, more strong scripts came in, and he was back behind bars depicting a knowledgeable inmate (and obtaining his third Oscar nomination), befriending falsely accused banker Tim Robbins in the uplifting The Shawshank Redemption (1994). He was then back out hunting a religious serial killer in Se7en (1995), starred alongside Keanu Reeves in Chain Reaction (1996), and was pursuing another serial murderer in Kiss the Girls (1997).
However, 2005 was finally to be Morgan Freeman's year, when again he teamed up with good friend Clint Eastwood to appear in the heart-wrenching drama, Million Dollar Baby (2004). Freeman's on-screen performance is simply world-class as ex-prize fighter Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris, who works in a run-down boxing gym alongside grizzled trainer "Frankie Dunn", as the two work together to hone the skills of never-say-die female boxer Hilary Swank. Freeman received his fourth Oscar nomination and, finally, impressed the Academy's judges enough to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.
In addition to his film work, his commanding yet mellifluous voice has also led Freeman to be cast to narrate or host dozens of first-rate television specials covering topics from the American Civil War, the American Film Institute, blues music, the White House and many commemorative events involving the US film industry, most recently as the narrator of the American version of March of the Penguins (2005).