Morgan Freeman earned his first Academy Award nomination for his chilling performance as a homicidal pimp in the drama Street Smart, which also brought him the LA, N.Y., and National Society of Film Critics Awards for best supporting actor of 1987, as well as an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Globe nomination. The part of the pimp, Fast Black, was a far cry from his big screen debut as the genial character Afro in his film debut, the 1971 children's adventure Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow, and it signaled the film world that one of its most versatile stars was on the rise. The 16 year span between those titles saw Freeman range from Shakespeare to an undercover policeman in Eyewitness. The next two decades would see him become one of Hollywood's true luminaries.
Freeman earned his second Oscar nomination in 1989, this time as Best Actor, recreating his award-winning Broadway role in Driving Miss Daisy. He garnered his third Academy Award nomination playing opposite Tim Robbins in the critically praised 1994 hit The Shawshank Redemption. His fourth nomination for Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2005.
The Memphis-born actor began his career on New York stages in the early 1960s, following a stint as a mechanic in the Air Force. A decade later, he became a nationally known television personality when he created the popular character Easy Reader on the popular children's show, The Electric Company.
Throughout the 1970s, he continued his work on stage, winning the Drama Desk Award, the Clarence Derwent Award and receiving a Tony Award Nomination for his outstanding performance in The Mighty Gents in 1978. He also won an Obie Award for his portrayal of Shakespearean anti-hero, Coriolanus, at the New York Shakespeare Festival.
In 1984, Morgan won another Obie for his role as The Messenger in the acclaimed Brooklyn Academy of Music production of Lee Breuer's Gospel at Colonus. In 1985, he was winner of the Dramalogue Award for the same role.
The part of Hoke Coleburn in Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Driving Miss Daisy brought him his third Obie Award. His last stage appearance was as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Delacorte Theater with Tracey Ullman.
In 1993, Freeman made his film directorial debut with Bopha!, starring Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard, and soon after formed Revelations Entertainment, a production company developing entertainment product in all existing and emerging media that "enlightens, inspires and glorifies the human experience." Their most recent production was the Brad Silberling comedy 10 Items or Less, in which Freeman starred with Paz Vega.
His other early film acting credits include Brubaker, Harry & Sons, Teachers, Marie; That Was Then, This Is Now, Clean & Sober, Johnny Handsome, the multiple award-winning Glory, Chain Reaction, the Steven Spielberg production, Amistad, Hard Rain, Deep Impact, Nurse Betty, Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, High Crimes, The Sum of All Fears and Warner Bros' Dreamcatcher and The Big Bounce.
Other recent films include Luc Besson's Unleashed, Robert Redford's An Unfinished Life, Batman Begins and narration on the Academy Award-winning documentary March of The Penguins. He also recently starred in Lucky Number Slevin, with Bruce Willis and Josh Hartnett and will soon be seen in the comedy sequel Evan Almighty, Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone, Robert Benton's The Feast of Love and the next chapter in the Batman saga The Dark Knight.