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Morgan Freeman: Unveiling the story of a cinematic legend and business tycoon

Unraveling the multifaceted success of Morgan Freeman

by Victor Adetimilehin
Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman, born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee, is an American actor and producer known for his distinctive deep voice and roles in various film genres. His career spans over five decades, during which he has received numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

Early Life and Career

Freeman was raised in Mississippi, where he began acting in school plays.  He made his acting debut at age nine and won a statewide drama competition at age 12. Despite receiving a partial drama scholarship, Freeman enlisted in the United States Air Force before pursuing a career in acting. He later studied theatre arts in Los Angeles and appeared in stage productions in his early career. He rose to fame in the 1970s for his role in the children’s television series The Electric Company. Freeman then appeared in the Shakespearean plays Coriolanus and Julius Caesar, the former of which earned him an Obie Award.

Major Movies and Earnings

According to Wikipedia, Freeman’s major movies include “Deep Impact,” which grossed $334 million; “Now You See Me 2,” which grossed $334.9 million; ‘’Wanted,” which grossed $342 million, and “Now You See Me,” which grossed $351.7 million. His Oscar-nominated roles are in “Street Smart” (1987), “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989), “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), and “Invictus” (2009). Notable roles include in “Glory” (1989), “Lean on Me” (1989), “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991), “Unforgiven” (1992), “Se7en” (1995), “Amistad” (1997), “Gone Baby Gone” (2007), and “The Bucket List” (2007). He also portrayed Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy” (2005–2012) and starred in the action films, “Wanted” (2008), “Red” (2010), “Oblivion” (2013), “Now You See Me” (2013), and “Lucy” (2014).

Achievements in Entertainment

Freeman has earned five Academy Award nominations, winning Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Clint Eastwood’s sports drama Million Dollar Baby (2004). He has also earned five Golden Globe Award nominations, winning Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for Driving Miss Daisy. His other honorary awards include the Kennedy Center Honor in 2008, an AFI Life Achievement Award in 2011, the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2012, and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2018.

Business Ventures and Sources of Income

Freeman has several business ventures, including a stake in a movie production company and a restaurant chain he launched with Jeanette Adair Bradshaw. He founded the film production company Revelations Entertainment with business partner Lori McCreary in 1996. The mission of Revelations Entertainment is to “reveal truth,” and it strives to produce thought-provoking entertainment with artistic integrity and “soul.”.  They became the first-ever film production company to distribute a movie online (“10 Items or Less”) while it was still playing in theaters.

In 2006, Freeman embarked on a cinematic journey with ClickStar, a groundbreaking movie download company and online distribution platform. With a substantial investment from Intel Corporation, ClickStar etched its name in film history by offering the first legitimate motion picture download—a feat achieved with the film “10 Items or Less,” even while it dazzled audiences in theaters. The American Film Institute recognized this historic achievement by featuring it in their 2006 AFI Awards, “Moments of Significance.” While ClickStar eventually ceased operations in 2008, its impact on the digital film landscape remains a testament to Freeman’s pioneering spirit.

Nestled in the heart of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Ground Zero Blues Club is not just a blues joint; it’s a musical haven co-owned by Freeman, Memphis entertainment luminary Howard Stovall, and Eric Meier.

It has been reported that Freeman was paid $1 million for lending his voice to the much-celebrated 2005 documentary March of the Penguins. He also reportedly earned between $1 million and $2 million for his voiceover role for Visa Debit Card commercials, according to Forbes. Freeman also appeared in a Super Bowl ad in 2022 promoting Turkish Airlines and was paid $35 million, according to ANCA

Net Worth

Freeman is popularly known as the character Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which includes the movies Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Freeman was paid $5 million for each of the three films, making a total of $15 million.  He holds a top spot in box office gross with over $4 billion in movie income and according to reports, he makes up to $10 million per movie.

According to Celebrity Networth, Freeman’s net worth is estimated to be around $250 million, although some sources estimate it to be as high as $280 million and much higher if not for a  divorce settlement of $100-200 million paid to his ex-wife in 2010. A large sum of his wealth comes from his successful career in film, television,  and business ventures. 

Giving Back

Freeman is recognized for his generosity, especially with issues that he cares about.  He formed the Grenada Relief Fund renamed PLAN!T NOW, as a response to the devastation left by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, to help prepare against natural disasters and help victims recover. According to USA Today, Freeman and a professor at the University of Mississippi donated $1 million to establish a Centre for Evidence-Based Policing and Reform.

He is also known for his support of various charities, including ONE Campaign, the Red Cross, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, among many others. He has also given support to the Mississippi Animal Rescue League, and he donated funds to help create a new research area at the Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine, subsequently named the Morgan Freeman Equine Reproduction Research Unit.

Freeman’s story is an inspiring one. His roles in various film genres, coupled with his distinctive deep voice, have made him a veteran in the entertainment industry and one of the most respected, and he has become a testament to how talent, hard work, and perseverance intertwine. His business ventures also demonstrate his versatility and contribute tremendously to his impressive net worth. Freeman’s story shows that, with passion and dedication, one can achieve great success in various fields.

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