44 Interesting Facts About Morgan Freeman

facts about morgan freeman

One of the most iconic actors and film narrators in the world has captured audiences with numerous brilliant performances. In this post, you’ll find the ultimate list of facts about Morgan Freeman.

This is one of the truths of the universe, and you heard it first here: Whatever we decide we want to do is what we do.

Morgan Freeman

Interesting facts about Morgan Freeman

1. Who is Morgan Freeman?

Morgan Freeman is one of the most well-respected and famous actors in Hollywood. He has appeared in numerous box office hits.

One of the main characteristics of the actor Morgan Freeman is his deep voice, which also allows him to act as a story narrator. He has served as a voice actor for numerous programs, series, movies, and television shows.

facts about Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman in 2006 / Source

2. When was Morgan Freeman born?

Morgan Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, at exactly 2:00 am. This means that his astrological birth chart has its sun in Gemini, Moon in Aquarius and Ascendant in Pisces.

Morgan freeman birth chart
Morgan Freeman Birth Chart / Source

3. Where is Morgan Freeman from?

He was born in Memphis, Tennessee and was sent at a young age to live with his paternal grandmother in Charleston, Mississippi. That’s also the place he grew up as a child.

Morgan Freeman moved around a lot in his younger years. He has been living in Greenwood, Mississippi, where he attended high school. He also lived in Gary, Indiana, and finally Chicago, Illinois.

Greenwood mississippi
Greenwood, Mississippi, one of the small towns Morgan Freeman lived as a child / Source

4. Where lies Morgan Freeman’s ancestry?

When there was a huge discussion surrounding the election of Barrack Obama back in 2008, and more importantly regarding his ancestry, a large number of African American celebrities took a similar DNA test to know their ancestry.

One of the interesting facts about Morgan Freeman is that we know exactly where his roots really lay as he took the test.

The results came out and it appears just over a quarter of his roots lay in an area in the area of present-day Senegal up to Liberia, and the rest came from the Congo-Angola region.

Morgan Freeman ancestry
Where 3/4 of Margan Freeman’s roots lie / Kmusser / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

5. Who are Morgan Freeman’s parents?

He is the son of Mayme Edna (born Revere; 1912–2000), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman (July 6, 1915 – April 27, 1961), a barber. His father died early from cirrhosis.

The name of his father is sometimes referred to as Grafton Curtis. He also has 5 siblings which include 5 brothers.

Morgan Freeman mother
Morgan Freeman and his mother / Source

6. There was almost no famous actor.

When Morgan Freeman was just 16 years old, he came down with pneumonia. One day it has gotten so bad that the abscess that was growing in his lungs burst and he almost died.

Miraculously he survived and we have been blessed to have such a talented actor amongst us. Better yet, he went on to play God on the big screen even though he doesn’t believe his recovery was a miracle.

Morgan freeman playing god
Morgan Freeman playing the role of God / Source

7. Morgan Freeman started acting early on

While Morgan Freeman was still attending Broad Street High School in Greenwood, Mississippi, he already starred in school plays.

A historical moment in movie history is when he made his acting debut at the young age of just 9 years old.

The place where it all started / Privatejoy13 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en

8. Morgan Freeman loved the movies

Even though he didn’t have a lot of money as a kid and times were rough, he always seemed to scrape enough money together to go watch movies.

His favorite actors at the time were Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, and Sidney Poitier. It’s in this period that he became an admirer of actors.

Fun fact: Sidney Poitier was one of the main characters in “Raisin in the Sun” and this role was also played by a young Tupac Shakur in Harlem, New York.

Sidney Poitier a raisin in the sun
Sidney Poitier in “A Raisin In The Sun,” 1959 / Wiki Commons

9. Morgan Freeman didn’t plan to become an actor

Even though he loved watching movies a lot as a kid and young teen, he didn’t really plan to become an actor himself. So how did he get discovered? Because of his mischievous nature as a kid!

At the age of 12, he had a crush on a girl and pulled out her chair from underneath her. As punishment, he was forced to participate in the school’s drama competition.

You can already guess what happened? Yes, that’s right, he won the competition as he was clearly a natural-born actor already.

School drama competition similar to the one Morgan Freeman won around 1948 / Wiki Commons

10. His love for movies gave him a different path

One of the things Morgan Freeman liked was movie scenes that involve airplanes. That’s one thing that got the young Morgan Freeman very excited.

But instead of dreaming to become an actor that flies the airplanes in the movies, he dreamed of actually flying one for real.

That’s why he enlisted in the United States Air Force and served 4 years as an Automatic Tracking Radar Repairman, rising to the rank of Airman 1st Class.

United States airforce Morgan freeman
Morgan Freeman was in the United States Airforce for 4 years / Wiki Commons

11. He could have become an actor much sooner

At the age of 18, Morgan Freeman needed to make a major decision. His acting abilities had landed him a scholarship from Jackson State University.

One of the most peculiar facts about Morgan Freeman is that his dream to become a pilot, along with the fact that 4 of his 5 brothers also served in the US Army (only the youngest didn’t), made him decide to enlist in the US Airforce instead of pursuing a career in acting.

Morgan Freeman got a scholarship for Jackson State University / Source

12. He took acting classes after the Air Force

Deciding that the US Airforce wasn’t for him and coming to the realization that he should use his acting talent to the fullest, he moved to California in the early 1960s.

While in Los Angeles, he started taking acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse and also took dancing lessons in San Francisco.

13. He got his first major break in 1968

After some minor roles and some dance gigs, Morgan Freeman finally made his big stage debut on Broadway in 1968.

He played opposite Pearl Bailey, who won a “Tony Award” for her performance, and Cab Calloway in the all-black version of the musical “Hello, Dolly!”

Pearl Bailey as Dolly in 1968 / Wiki Commons

14. Morgan Freeman became famous on TV first

His first appearances for TV in two shows. One was “Another World“, a soap opera that aired from May 4, 1964, to June 25, 1999, and in which he played the role of “Roy Bingham.”

The other one was in a 6-season kids’ comedy-sketch show called “The Electric Company,” which was shown to children in elementary schools all around the country for educational purposes.

In the Electric Company, he played the role of “Easy Reader” and he reportedly hated the role.

The Electric Company logo, a series which starred Morgan Freeman / Wiki Commons

15. Finally his first movie credit!

Still far away from the millions of dollars in box office his future movies would produce, Morgan Freeman got his first movie credit in 1971.

The movie is called “Who Says I Can’t Ride a Rainbow!” and revolves around a family trying to save the pony farm they are running in Manhatten, New York.

It wasn’t exactly a blockbuster, but then again, you need to start an impressive career somewhere, right?

16. He continued doing theater, successfully

Morgan’s Freeman’s career didn’t take a jumpstart after his first movie credit in the early 70s. He was still scraping by, role after role, and continued to perform on stage.

In the early 80s, he won three Obie Awards in the process. Obie Awards are off-broadway theater awards.

He received the Obie Award in 1980 for the title role in Coriolanus. In 1984, he received his second Obie Award for his role as the preacher in The Gospel at Colonus. The third one came for his role in “Driving Miss Daisy,” a play in which he played the driver of a Jewish widow and that was adapted for the screen in 1989.

17. He grew his reputation as a supporting actor

In the mid-1980s, Morgan Freeman was slowly but surely growing his reputation in feature films. He started playing supporting roles in major films.

Morgan Freeman himself believes that his role as “Fast Black” in the movie “Street Smart” was his big breakthrough.

You can hear him talk about this moment here:

18. The fame got him even bigger roles

As he was plugging away at his career, gradually his reputation as an actor grew. It didn’t happen overnight, but his talent allowed him to play intelligent and fatherly characters.

This landed him a couple of more major roles such as the chauffeur Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, and Sergeant Major Rawlins in Glory. Both these movies came out in 1989, setting things up to make his career explode in the 1990s.

Interesting Morgan Freeman fact: He already won an Obie Award as the chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy, he also won a Golden Globe Award for the movie version in 1989.

Morgan Freeman at the Academy Awards in 1990 / Source

19. Did Morgan Freeman play in the best movie ever?

According to the ratings on IMDB, the largest movie database online, “The Shawshank Redemption” holds the number 1 spot with a rating of 9.3.

Morgan Freeman played the role of the redeemed convict “Red” in the 1994 movie that is based on a book by Stephen King.

Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption
Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in the Shawshank Redemption / Source

20. He won his first Academy Award

Morgan Freeman already received 3 nominations to win an Academy Award by the mid-1990s. He received the nominations for Best Supporting Actor in Street Smart and Driving Miss Daisy, and for best actor in The Shawshank Redemption.

It wasn’t until a decade later that he would actually win an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Role in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby,” playing alongside Hilary Swank.

Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman
Million Dollar Baby with Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman / Source

21. Morgan Freeman Played God

Of all the roles he played, one of the most suiting was the role of God in Bruce Almighty and its sequel Evan Almighty.

In these comedy movies, he played alongside Jim Carrey (and Steve Carell in the sequel) who play the role of a complaining TV-reporter Bruce Nolan. Only Morgan Freeman (God) can solve the situation.

facts about Morgan Freeman

More interesting facts about Morgan Freeman

22. Morgan Freeman’s grandmother died when he was just 6 years old. This made him temporarily move to Chicago, Illinois.

23. He didn’t stay long in Chicago as a child. His father was a hopeless alcoholic (which is also the reason he died of cirrhosis) and his mother had already left him, so they moved back to Mississippi where Mayme Edna settled the family in Greenwood.

Morgan freeman with wife and mother
Morgan Freeman with his wife and mother / Source

24. When he was still at Broad Street High School, his intriguing voice already landed him a job in a radio show based in Nashville, Tennessee in the year 1955.

25. If Morgan wanted to watch a movie, he needed to make some extra money as he grew up in a poor family in the South. What he did was scouring the streets to find empty bottles and collect the deposits. 2 coke bottles and one beer bottle would earn him 12 cents and allow him admission in the movie theater.

26. The first movie he ever saw in the movie theater was King Kong. Later on, he really focused on action-packed movies including airplane scenes.

27. While he enlisted in the US Airforce, he spent the first year and a half sitting behind a desk. He was all pumped up to fly an airplane and when the moment finally arrived, he became afraid. he recalls the feeling as “sitting in the nose of a bomb.”

28. Regardless of his fear of flying in his younger years, Morgan Freeman has earned his private pilot’s license at the age of 65. He has bought at least 3 planes, including a Cessna Citation 501 jet and a Cessna 414 twin-engine prop. Back in 2007 he also bought a $7 million SJ30 private jet.

Morgan Freeman the pilot
Morgan Freeman getting ready to take off / Source

29. While taking acting and dancing lessons in Los Angeles, Morgan Freeman had a part-time job as a transcript clerk at Los Angeles City College.

30. In one of his first roles on TV in the “Electric Company,” he played several roles. These include disc jockey Mel Mounds and Count Dracula. All his efforts in these roles were trying to make young kids read.

31. Apart from winning several Obie Awards early on in his career for his stage performances, he also won a Drama Desk Award and a Clarence Derwent Award for his role as a wino in The Mighty Gents.

32. It wasn’t all rosy for Morgan Freeman in the early stages of his career. After “The Electric Company” was canceled he found himself without a job, started drinking excessively which subsequently resulted in the divorce with his wife Jeanette in 1979.

33. During what he considers to be his big breakthrough, playing the role of “Fast Black” in the movie “Street Smart,” Morgan Freeman was already 50 years old when it came out (49 years old during its production). Watch the trailer of the movie that defined his career here:

34. For his role in Street Smart, Morgan Freeman received an Oscar nomination for the best supporting actor.

35. Did you know that Morgan Freeman almost didn’t get the role of “Red” in “The Shawshank Redemption?” According to IMDB, Tom Hanks was a serious candidate to get the role. This isn’t really a surprise because, in Stephen King’s book, Red is a ginger Irishman.

36. In the year (1994) that “The Shawshank Redemption” came out, Morgan Freeman was a member of the jury in the 44th Berlin International Film Festival. This clearly shows his status as an actor at this time.

37. Morgan Freeman didn’t just win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Million Dollar Baby, the movie itself also won the award for best picture. He became the first African American actor to play in 3 movies that won this award, the two previous were the 1989 movie Driving Miss Daisy and the 1992 movie Unforgiven.

38. Morgan Freeman has been recorded as the 7th highest box office actor since July 2019. His movies grossed a whopping $4.57 billion with an amazing average of $71.5 million per movie.

39. Morgan Freeman co-owns a blues club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The club is named “Ground Zero.” He was also co-owner of the Madidi restaurant but that closed down.

Morgan Freemans club
The exterior of Morgan Freeman’s club / Source

39. After escaping death for the first time at the young age of 16, he escaped death for the second time in 2008. The then 71-year old actor crashed with his car near his home in Mississippi and miraculously survived.

40. Morgan Freeman’s step-granddaughter was stabbed and killed in a senseless act by her boyfriend back in 2015. The then 33-year-old Edena Hines was raised by Morgan Freeman himself after he adopted her.

41. Like many famous actors like for example Will Smith, famous singers like Beyoncé and even famous historical people like Marie Antoinette, Morgan Freeman has the honor of being eternalized in the wax sculpture museum of Madame Tussauds.

Morgan Freeman at Madame Tussauds
Morgan Freeman at Madame Tussauds / Source

42. Morgan Freeman is a beekeeper! After studying the effect of human behavior on the honeybee population, and the importance of honeybees for the world, he decided to create a sanctuary for them on his 124-acre ranch in Mississippi. He started out with 26 beehives and is now officially a beekeeper.

43. Morgan Freeman was the winner of the 54th SAG lifetime achievement award in 2017. This award is given in connection to career achievements and humanitarian accomplishments. The award is given to actors who possess the “finest ideals of the acting profession.”

Morgan Freeman facts
Morgan Freeman, SAS Award Winner / Franz Richter / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/

44. When Morgan Freeman’s movie “Invictus” came out, he was recognized worldwide as portraying Nelson Mandela. Some people took it literally though! When Nelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013, a picture of Morgan Freeman was included and comments were made about his great acting abilities.

Nelson mandela morgan freeman confusion

Not too long after, Morgan Freeman himself rectified the situation:

morgan freeman tweet nelson mandela

This concludes the ultimate list of facts about Morgan Freeman. We’re always on the lookout for some more facts, so if you know any, let us know and we’ll add them to the list straight away!

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