Morgan Freeman (b. July 1, 1937)

Morgan Freeman acted on stage for decades, doing everything from regional Shakespeare to appearing off-Broadway in "The Niggerlovers" with Stacy Keach. He made his movie debut in the 1966 drama "A Man Called Adam," starring VIPs Sammy Davis, Jr. and Louis Armstrong, and directed by Leo Penn (father of Chris, Michael, and Sean Penn). In 1968, Freeman made his Broadway debut in an all-black engagement of "Hello Dolly."

Freeman was 50 before landing his first substantial film role, as a pimp in Street Smart. His performance was Oscar-nominated and he had two other nominations (for Driving Miss Daily and The Shawshank Redemption) before winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2005 for Million Dollar Baby.

He found his Electric Company stint so mind-numbing he turned to cocaine, which he quit, and did penance playing Michael Keaton's rehab counselor in 1988's Clean and Sober. But in April 2003 Morgan told an interviewer from UK's The Guardian,"Never give up the ganja. It's God's own weed." Freeman spoke about his marijuana use and support for legalization just after he turned 80 in July 2017.

Freeman has played God (above, in Bruce Almighty), Nelson Mandela (twice) and the U.S. President (in Deep Impact). In a scene in The Sum of All Fears (2002) starring Freeman and Ben Affleck, the President states at a White House Correspondents' dinner that he smoked marijuana back in Vietnam and then jokes that means he'll get the California vote.

Along with VIPS Pete Townsend and Barbra Streisand, Freeman was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2008. In 2018 Freeman received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors' Guild.

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