I was already in college, but I really enjoyed watching the Electric Company. And one of my favorite actors was this guy who played a number of characters, but especially Easy Reader. Little did I know that being stuck on children’s television was literally driving Morgan Freeman to drink.

I saw Brubaker (1980) and the TV movies The Marva Collins Story (1981) and the Atlanta Child Murders (1985). I don’t think I really knew that he was MORGAN FREEMAN, though, until I saw a trio of 1989 films, all in the theater: Lean on Me, where he played principal Joe Clark who shook up an inner city school district; Driving Miss Daisy, where he was a chauffeur to a white woman while attempting to demand his dignity; and Glory, in which he helped lead the Civil War’s first all-black volunteer unit, while dealing with prejudice. All strong performances, though I didn’t love Miss Daisy, for whatever reason.

I barely remember Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) at all, but was totally captivated by Unforgiven (1992) and the Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Freeman’s performances in them. Since then, I’ve seen Amistad (1997) – good; Deep Impact (1998), as the ineffectual President – eh; and Brice Almighty as God (2003) – enjoyable. I think his voiceover work on March of the Penguins (2005) helped make it the hit it became. There are plenty more I will want to see (Million Dollar Baby, the Batman pictures).

He was also noteworthy for his views about Black History Month. He said: “How are we going to get rid of racism? Stop talking about it!” I wish that were true. I don’t think we know HOW to talk about it without the knives being drawn. And I found his comments somewhat peculiar given the fact that he participated in a DNA study of his racial breakdown.

ABC News, at the time of his 2008 car accident, noted the “dark cloud” over the cast of The Dark Knight: besides Freeman’s incident, the accusation of assault against Christian Bale, and, of course, the death of Heath Ledger. Not sure I believe in that stuff.

The last two movies I’ve seen of his were Invictus, in which he played Nelson Mandela quite convincingly, and the kid-friendly Dolphin Tale.

Such range. A very fine actor, who turns 75 today.

8 Responses to “Morgan Freeman is 75”

  • Mmmm I know of this actor. I like him but didn’t realize the electric company had been on so long. I watch it sometimes with my My five year old daughter. Of course this actor is not on it but anyway. . .Good post. Something to think about.

  • Lisa says:

    Morgan Freeman is, perhaps, my favorite actor! I love every movie he’s ever done. I think Robin Hood was the first one I saw him in and I was forever hooked.

  • Just a quick FYI: loved this post, but the video of his views on Black History Month doesn’t work.

    I adore Morgan Freeman but I think he’s underused. My favorite Morgan Freeman movie is one you don’t list: Se7en. He was amazing in that; he played Detective Somerset. Absolutely perfect for the role.

  • Roger says:

    Chris- replaced BHM video. Thanks.

  • Thank you. It was interesting!

  • That interview with Morgan Freeman is interesting and I keep thinking about it and Mike Wallace’s reactions. It’s one of the most interesting videos you’ve posted.

  • I saw the interview with Morgan Freeman about Black History Month, among a bunch of other topics. Was it 60 minutes? Anyway, two things struck me: A book I mention a lot, “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” deals with racism in textbooks and says a lot about the basic Eurocentric POV of the books. I’ve always despised Black HIstory Month because it a) encourages racists to make fun of black folks (like my sister, and I called her out on it), and b) EVERY month should include all races. Otherwise, February is “Who invented peanut butter?” month, with a little Hattie McDaniel and Poitier thrown in.

    The other was an odd moment: Mr. Freeman calling himself “America’s greatest living actor.” He said it so matter-of-factly, and truth be told, NO ONE is the “greatest” actor. All have ups and downs with roles; many are strictly stage so movie audiences cannot connect; and, most importantly, it changed the way I think of him. An egotistical man, and that’s soooooo Hollywood, despite the cool club he opened in the Delta. Amy

  • Roger says:

    It WAS 60 Minutes. The thing I HATE about BHM is the I Have A Dream speech, co-opted by every Republican who thinks equality is done now. I’d rather talk about Birmingham Jail.

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