Morgan Freeman Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Morgan Freeman is an American actor, producer, and storyteller born on June 1, 1937. He’s been into acting for over fifty years, rocking various roles across different types of movies and shows. He’s won some big awards too, like an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Plus, he’s been honored with titles like the Kennedy Center Honor, the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Freeman grew up in Mississippi, where he first got into acting through school plays. After studying theater in Los Angeles, he hit the stage and then made it big on TV in the 1970s with a show called The Electric Company. He also did some serious acting in plays, earning praise for his work in Shakespearean productions like Coriolanus and Julius Caesar. In the late ’70s, he even got a Tony Award nomination for his role in a play called The Mighty Gents.

Freeman’s career reached new heights when he won an Academy Award for his role in Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood, in 2004. He’s been nominated for Oscars several times for other movies like Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, and Invictus. And he’s been in tons of other memorable films too, like Glory, Lean on Me, Se7en, and The Dark Knight Trilogy, where he played Lucius Fox.

Apart from his acting, Freeman is famous for his voice, which he’s lent to many documentaries over the years, including March of the Penguins and The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. He even tried his hand at directing with a movie called Bopha! in 1993. Plus, he’s a big player in the film production world, co-founding a company called Revelations Entertainment with his business partner Lori McCreary in 1996. They’ve worked on lots of projects together including the political drama Madam Secretary.

Full NameMorgan Freeman
Date of BirthJune 1, 1937
Place of BirthMemphis, Tennessee, USA
OccupationActor, Director, Narrator
Height6 ft (1.83 m)
SpouseMyrna Colley (m. 1967-1979)
Jeanette Adair Bradshaw (m. 1979-2007),
ChildrenAlphonso Freeman, Saifoulaye Freeman
Deena Freeman, Morgana Freeman
Net Worth$250 million

Morgan Freeman’s Early Life And Education

Morgan Freeman Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Morgan Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee. His mom, Mamie Edna was a teacher, and his dad Morgan Porterfield Freeman was a barber who passed away when Freeman was young due to cirrhosis. Freeman grew up with three older siblings.

Freeman’s ancestry is complex. Some of his ancestors were enslaved people who moved from North Carolina to Mississippi. He also found out that his white great-great-grandfather lived with and was buried beside his black great-great-grandmother, but they couldn’t legally marry because of segregation laws.

As a baby, Freeman lived with his grandma in Charleston, Mississippi. He moved around a lot during his childhood living in different places like Greenwood, Mississippi, Gary, Indiana, and eventually settling in Chicago.

Morgan Freeman got into acting early starring in a school play when he was just nine. He went to Broad Street High School in Greenwood which is now called Threadgill Elementary School. At 12, he won a drama competition and that’s when he got into theater and music. Unfortunately, when Freeman was 16, he got sick with pneumonia.

He finished high school in 1955 but decided not to take a drama scholarship to Jackson State University. Instead, he joined the United States Air Force where he worked as an Automatic Tracking Radar repairman and rose to the rank of airman first class. After serving from 1955 to 1959, he moved to Los Angeles and started taking acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse. He also studied theater arts at Los Angeles City College, where one of his teachers suggested he pursue a dance career.

Career

1964–1988: Early work and rise to prominence

Morgan Freeman 1964–1988 Early work and rise to prominence

Morgan Freeman’s journey into acting began with dancing gigs at the 1964 World’s Fair and performing in theater groups. He even appeared in a movie as an extra. But it was after a stage role in The Royal Hunt of the Sun that he felt acting was his true passion.

His big break came in 1967 with his Off-Broadway debut, followed by his Broadway debut in 1968. Then, in 1969, he wowed audiences in The Dozens. But it was his role in the children’s show The Electric Company starting in 1971 that put him on the map. Despite its success, he found it exhausting and eventually left.

He then ventured into films, landing his first credited role in 1971. Over the years, he worked on various stage productions and won awards for his performances. In 1980, he had a small but notable role in Brubaker and later starred in Eyewitness in 1981.

From 1982 to 1984, he joined the cast of a soap opera. But it was his role as a street hustler in Street Smart (1987) that garnered him critical acclaim earning him an Oscar nomination. He considered this his breakthrough role.

He continued to impress in films like Clean and Sober (1988), despite it not being a commercial hit. Alongside his film work, he received acclaim for his roles in theater productions, earning Obie Awards for his performances.

1989–1996: Hollywood breakthrough

In 1989, Morgan Freeman had a busy year with four movie releases. First up was Glory, where he played Sergeant Major John Rawlins, a film about the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Critics praised Freeman and Denzel Washington for their strong performances. The movie won three Oscars.

Then, Freeman starred in Driving Miss Daisy, a comedy-drama where he played a chauffeur for a Jewish widow. It was a hit at the box office, earning $145 million worldwide. Critics liked Freeman’s performance alongside Jessica Tandy.

His third film that year was Lean on Me, a drama about a principal trying to turn around a troubled high school in New Jersey. Critics thought Freeman was a great fit for the role.

Lastly, in 1989, he appeared in Johnny Handsome, playing a police officer in New Orleans. Freeman later said Glory was one of his favorites, emphasizing the importance of Black history.

In 1990, Morgan Freeman voiced Frederick Douglass in a TV miniseries about the Civil War. He also starred in The Bonfire of the Vanities, which didn’t do well with critics.

Freeman then took on the role of Petruchio in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in New York City. He found the role enjoyable.

In 1991, Freeman had a supporting role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which was a commercial success but received mixed reviews.

He also narrated a documentary about the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. In 1992, Freeman starred in Unforgiven, which won several Oscars, including Best Picture. Critics praised his performance.

He also appeared in The Power of One and made his directorial debut with Bopha! in 1993, a film about apartheid in South Africa. Critics liked Freeman’s directing style.

In 1994, Freeman starred in The Shawshank Redemption, playing a prisoner named Red. Despite filming challenges, his performance was praised. The film became a classic and received several Oscar nominations.

Freeman served as a jury member at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1994.

In 1995, Morgan Freeman starred in Outbreak, a medical thriller, and Seven, a crime thriller with Brad Pitt. Both films did well at the box office with Freeman’s performances receiving positive reviews.

During the filming of Outbreak, Freeman expressed interest in starting a production company with his partner. They aimed to tell important stories on screen, leading to the creation of Revelations Entertainment.

In 1996, Freeman appeared in Chain Reaction and Moll Flanders, receiving mixed reviews for both performances.

1997–2004: Critical success and established actor

Morgan Freeman Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In 1997, Morgan Freeman narrated a documentary called The Long Way Home, which won an Academy Award. It’s about the liberation of Jewish refugees after World War II and the founding of Israel. He also acted in the movie Amistad by Steven Spielberg, alongside Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, and Matthew McConaughey. This film tells the story of a slave ship revolt in 1839. Although it got four Oscar nominations, not everyone loved it. One critic from Salon magazine didn’t think it was inspiring and found Freeman’s role confusing.

The same year, Freeman played a psychologist named Alex Cross in Kiss the Girls, a thriller based on a book by James Patterson. Some critics liked the performances but found the plot too long.

In 1998, Morgan Freeman starred in Deep Impact, a sci-fi disaster movie where he played President Tim Beck. It’s about people trying to stop a comet from hitting Earth. Even though another similar movie, Armageddon, was out at the same time, Deep Impact did well in theaters.

Then, he acted in Hard Rain with Christian Slater. It’s about a heist during a flood in a small town. Critics didn’t like it much, saying the characters were dull and the story was predictable.

In 2000, Freeman was in Nurse Betty, a comedy with Renée Zellweger and Chris Rock, which got good reviews. He also starred in Under Suspicion, a thriller with Gene Hackman, which took twelve years to make. Despite the actors’ efforts, the movie didn’t impress many people.

In 2001, Freeman reprised his role as Alex Cross in Along Came a Spider, a sequel to Kiss the Girls. It got mixed reviews with some saying Freeman did well but the movie wasn’t memorable.

He then acted in The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck in 2002, a spy thriller based on a book by Tom Clancy. It did okay with critics and made good money. Freeman also starred in High Crimes with Ashley Judd and Jim Caviezel where critics praised the actors but weren’t thrilled with the story.

In 2003, Morgan Freeman played God in Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston. The same year, he was in Dreamcatcher, a sci-fi horror movie based on a Stephen King novel, which didn’t do well at the box office and got bad reviews. He also acted in two dramas, Levity and Guilty by Association, which didn’t get much attention.

In 2004, Freeman was in The Big Bounce, a comedy, and Million Dollar Baby, a sports drama directed by Clint Eastwood. He played an old boxer in this one and won his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Critics praised his performance and the movie as a whole.

2005–2013: Documentaries and thriller films

Morgan Freeman was busy in 2005, showing up in six different movies. In one called An Unfinished Life, he played Mitch, a neighbor to a rancher in Wyoming. The movie got mixed reviews, with some saying it was nice but not sure why Freeman’s role was just a sidekick. His deep voice got him to work narrating two documentaries: War of the Worlds and March of the Penguins. He also appeared in Batman Begins as Lucius Fox, helping Batman, and in Unleashed with Jet Li. He played a blind piano tuner who helped Li’s character. People had mixed feelings about that movie, with some thinking Freeman’s character didn’t fit well.

In 2006, Freeman played an assassin in The Contract opposite John Cusack, but it only came out on video. He was in Lucky Number Slevin, a crime thriller, and also starred in 10 Items or Less, a small comedy.

The next year, he reprised his role as God in Evan Almighty, but it didn’t do well at the box office. He was also in Feast of Love and Gone Baby Gone, both of which got better reviews.

In 2007, Morgan Freeman starred in The Bucket List, a comedy about two guys with a terminal illness making a bucket list of things to do before they die. It was a hit.

In 2008, he played a big role in Wanted and returned as Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight. He also did a play on Broadway called The Country Girl.

In 2009, he was in a heist movie called Thick as Thieves and a comedy called The Maiden Heist. He wanted to make a movie about Nelson Mandela but ended up in Invictus, where he played Mandela. He got a lot of praise for that role.

In 2010, he was in Red, a movie based on a comic book series, which did pretty well.

Outside of acting, he did voiceover work for CBS Evening News and hosted a show called Through the Wormhole.

In 2011, he did some narration work for Conan the Barbarian and acted in Dolphin Tale. He also did a play about same-sex marriage called 8.

In 2012, he was in The Magic of Belle Isle and The Dark Knight Rises.

In 2013, he appeared in several movies, including Olympus Has Fallen, Oblivion, Now You See Me, and Last Vegas.

2014–2022: Continued success

Morgan Freeman Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In 2014, Morgan Freeman did quite a bit of acting. He voiced a character in The Lego Movie and starred in Transcendence, Lucy, Dolphin Tale 2, and 5 Flights Up. He also showed up in a documentary called Lennon or McCartney.

The following year, in 2015, he acted in Last Knights and Ted 2, and he had a recurring role on the TV show Madam Secretary. At the end of the year, he appeared in the thriller Momentum.

In 2016, he reprised his role in London Has Fallen, then appeared in Now You See Me 2 and Ben-Hur. Unfortunately, Ben-Hur didn’t do too well at the box office.

In 2017, Morgan Freeman was in two comedies: Going in Style and Just Getting Started. He also hosted a couple of National Geographic shows.

In 2018, he narrated Alpha and starred in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, as well as having an uncredited role in Brian Banks.

The next year, 2019, he was in The Poison Rose and Angel Has Fallen, the third movie in the “Has Fallen” series.

In 2020, Freeman appeared in The Comeback Trail, and in 2021, he was in Coming 2 America.

And finally, in 2022, he performed at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Net Worth

Morgan Freeman’s Net Worth is estimated to be $250 Million as of 2024, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Other ventures

Environmental activism

In 2004, Morgan Freeman helped start the Grenada Relief Fund to assist folks hit by Hurricane Ivan on the island of Grenada. Now, it’s known as PLANIT NOW. This group aims to give helpful info and tools to folks in places affected by hurricanes and big storms. In 2014, he spoke in a video called “What’s Possible” at a big climate meeting held by the United Nations. Freeman also gave money to the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville, Mississippi, which is part of Mississippi State University. He owns some horses that he keeps there.

When Freeman heard about the problem of honeybees decreasing in number, he decided to change his 124-acre ranch into a place where bees could be safe. He started with 26 beehives in July 2014.

Political activism

Morgan Freeman Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

In 2005, Morgan Freeman shared his thoughts about Black History Month, saying he didn’t like the idea of setting aside a specific month for it. He believed that black history is an integral part of American history and should be acknowledged as such. He also pointed out that there isn’t a “white history month.” In an interview, he suggested that instead of labeling each other by race, we should just see each other as people.

Freeman supported changing the Mississippi state flag, which used to include the Confederate battle flag. He stirred controversy by calling out racism within the Tea Party movement during an interview on CNN. He also expressed support for the protesters in the 2015 Baltimore protests, highlighting issues of police brutality and racism.

During the 2008 presidential election, Freeman endorsed Barack Obama but didn’t actively campaign for him. He lent his voice to Disney World’s The Hall of Presidents, narrating when Obama was added to the exhibit. He also voiced a video introducing Hillary Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

In 2017, Morgan Freeman appeared in a video for a group investigating Russia’s actions, accusing Russia of cyber attacks and spreading false information.

In June 2021, Freeman and Linda Keena, a professor at the University of Mississippi, donated $1 million to establish the Center for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform at the university.

Business ventures

Back in 1997, Morgan Freeman teamed up with Lori McCreary to start a movie-making company called Revelations Entertainment. Then, in 2006, they launched ClickStar, a place where people could download films. Intel Corporation chipped in some money to help out.

Unfortunately, ClickStar shut down in 2008. Besides making movies, Freeman runs a blues club called Ground Zero in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He also used to own a fancy restaurant called Madidi in the same city.

Personal life

Morgan Freeman Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Morgan Freeman’s love life has had its ups and downs. He was married to Jeanette Adair Bradshaw from 1967 to 1979, then tied the knot with Myrna Colley-Lee in 1984. Sadly, they separated in 2007 and officially divorced in 2010. He has four children: Alfonso, Deena, Morgana, and Saifoulaye. He and Myrna also helped raise his step-granddaughter, E’dena Hines, from his first marriage. Tragically, E’dena was murdered in New York City in 2015.

As for where Freeman calls home, he lives in Charleston, Mississippi, and also has a place in New York City. Despite being well into his senior years, Freeman got his pilot’s license at the age of 65 and has owned a few private planes, including a Cessna Citation 501, Cessna 414, and an Emivest SJ30.

Freeman has some unconventional views on religion. He once said he believed in God but thinks humans invented the idea. He even joked, “I think I’m God.” Despite hosting a show called The Story of God, his views on religion haven’t changed much. In 2019, there were reports that he was exploring Zoroastrianism.

In 2008, Morgan Freeman was in a serious car accident in Mississippi. He broke his shoulder, arm, and elbow, requiring extensive surgery. Since then, he’s been dealing with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain. To help manage it, he wears a special compression glove.

Freeman has also been involved in some high-profile projects and causes. He joined forces with Bill Clinton and others to bid for the U.S. to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. His favorite movie, which he didn’t act in, is Moulin Rouge!, and he’s spoken fondly of it on multiple occasions.

However, Freeman faced some controversy in 2018 when CNN published a report accusing him of inappropriate behavior toward women on movie sets and at his production company. Freeman denied any intentional wrongdoing and apologized if anyone felt uncomfortable. Some people, including journalists and even one of the alleged victims, disputed CNN’s claims. Despite the uproar, the Screen Actors Guild decided not to take any action against him. Later, reports suggested that CNN’s report might have been fabricated.

Artistry and legacy

Morgan Freeman’s deep, distinctive voice is well-known and loved, making him a top choice for narrating movies and documentaries. Radhika Sanghani describes his voice as comforting and authoritative, shaping how many people think of powerful voices. Freeman credits his lower, carefully articulated tone to speech classes in college, where he learned to speak more deliberately.

Miriam DeCosta-Willis praises Freeman as an actor who carefully chooses his roles and delves into characters to portray them authentically. Beverly Todd, who worked with him on two films, highlights his generosity as an actor and his willingness to share the spotlight. Freeman himself values listening on set and avoiding the trap of just waiting for his lines.

Freeman has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to film and theater. These include a Lifetime Achievement Award from Mississippi’s Best Awards, honorary degrees from Delta State University and Boston University, and recognition from prestigious institutions like the Kennedy Center and the American Film Institute. He’s also been acknowledged for his humanitarian work, receiving the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2017.