This Day In History: June 1st
With more than 100 acting credits to his name, Morgan Freeman has solidified his status in the industry for over five decades. He has made appearances in popular films ranging from The Shawshank Redemption and Glory to Lean On Me and The Lego Movie. Here are five things to know about the talented Morgan Freeman!
- Morgan Freeman Before The Fame. As the youngest of five children, Morgan Porterfield Freeman Jr was born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee. His father worked as a barber, while his mother worked as a schoolteacher. The family relocated to Chicago due to his parents’ job insecurity. Freeman spent part of his youth living with his grandmother in Mississippi until the time of her death. He returned to his mother then the family moved once more to Tennessee and settled in Mississippi.
- A Split Decision – Actor Or Fighter Pilot. The famous actor discovered his passion for acting by chance. Although he grew up admiring actors such as Sidney Poitier, Freeman initially aspired to be a fighter pilot. While in junior high school, he was forced to participate in his school’s drama competition as punishment for pulling out a chair from underneath a girl he had a crush on. Freeman’s abilities were shown on stage and he walked away with top honors in the program. Despite enjoying his time in the program, Freeman turned down a scholarship to study drama and enlist in the U.S. Air Force instead. Ultimately, he came to the conclusion that life as a fighter pilot was not all he had imagined, so he did not re-enlist. Freeman soon moved to California to pursue a career in acting.
- Making It Big On The Big Screen. In 1967, Freeman secured his first role in an all-African-American Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! He continued to pursue opportunities and became a regular on The Electric Company, a show that focused on teaching children how to read. However, Freeman hoped to transition into film rather than television. By 1987 his reputation was on the rise. He was cast in the film Street Smart, which earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
- Acclaimed Award-Winner. After making appearances in over 100 films, it is no surprise that Morgan Freeman is a recipient of a variety of awards. His awards include a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” In addition to those awards, Freeman was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, and President Barack Obama presented Freeman with a National Medal of Arts in 2016.
- Interests Outside Of Acting. Although acting has been a source of great success for Morgan Freeman, he has also diversified his interests. Freeman has co-founded the movie production company Revelations Entertainment with Lori McCreary and he is co-owner of Ground Zero Blues Club. He has also developed his reputation in regard to philanthropy by raising money for hurricane victims in need. Freeman even established the Tallahatchie River Foundation to provide support to educational programs in Mississippi. Humans are not the only ones eligible for help from Freeman. In 2014, after learning about their declining population, Freeman transformed his 124-acre ranch into a bee sanctuary.
Throughout Freeman’s long-lasting career, he has also found himself behind the camera as a producer and director. He continues to land roles in major films alongside the likes of Samuel Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway and many others.