Morgan Freeman

Born June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tenn., Morgan Freeman has enjoyed a long career onstage, in television and in movies, where his presence has lent an air of gravitas to many features. He had a nomadic childhood, moving with his family from Mississippi to Indiana to Illinois.

At age 12, Freeman won a statewide drama competition that confirmed his acting promise. He made his Broadway debut in the all-black "Hello, Dolly" and went on to originate the role of the black chauffeur in the off-Broadway hit "Driving Miss Daisy."

After broad TV and film experience, Freeman made his mark in Glory (1989), scored Oscar nods for his work in the screen version of Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994), then won the statue for his supporting turn in Million Dollar Baby (2004). Playing Nelson Mandela in 2009's Invictus, Freeman earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Actor.