Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be Morgan Freeman? In addition to having one of the world’s most instantly recognizable voices, Freeman has become a cinematic icon with roles in some of the greatest movies of all time. Alas, there can only be one Morgan Freeman. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t look up to him as a role model. So I have compiled ten reasons why Morgan Freeman should be YOUR role model right now!
10. Legendary Actor
“All my life, all my life that I can, as far back as I can remember, I saw my first movie when I was six years old. And since then I wanted to do that. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Let’s get the big one out of the way first: Morgan Freeman is easily one of the most important and skilled actors working in Hollywood. During his illustrious career, he has won several major acting awards including an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male (Street Smart), a Golden Globe for Best Actor (Driving Miss Daisy), and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Million Dollar Baby). His resume includes other such classics as Glory, Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en, Bruce Almighty, and the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.
9. Skilled Dancer
“When I was doing theater, I was very successful at believing that I was great, God’s gift to the theater.”
But before Freeman was an actor, he was a dancer! In fact, dancing was one of his earliest jobs, performing at the 1964 World’s Fair and then as a member of the Opera Ring musical theater group in San Francisco. This proves that Freeman was an all-round talent and showman. Let’s see how many other major Hollywood stars can both act and dance! I’m looking at you, Brad Pitt!
“The bigger point here is that golf is a good metaphor for one’s life. The challenge of golf for me is trying to learn new rules. It’s something you always have to work at; you don’t get perfect at golf. It’s the never-ending quest for betterment.”
Freeman is also a golf fanatic. Whenever he is shooting a movie and he isn’t needed on-set for the day, you can find him down on the links. He is actually a very skilled golfer as well, being the first American to ever score a par on the Legend Golf & Safari Resort’s Extreme 19th hole, a shot from atop a mountain with a vertical height of 430m and a 400m horizontal distance to the back of the green. Not too shabby considering that ever since a 2008 car crash paralyzed his left hand, he has golfed one-handed.
“I can only be so long without work before I start getting antsy.”
At 75 years old, many people would expect a person to retire and slow down in life. But Morgan Freeman is not ordinary person. Despite his wealth of years, Freeman is a successful businessman. Although his fine dining restaurant, Madidi, has closed, his second business venture, Gound Zero, a blue’s club located next to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi, is still going strong.
6. Licensed Pilot
“About five years ago, I started learning how to fly. Now I’m a licensed jet pilot. It’s hunky-dory. I can fly wherever I need to go! I have a new airplane on order that will even allow me to fly to Europe. It’s not a big airplane. It’s actually small. But it goes on long legs—and that’s all you really need in life.”
Hollywood has more than its fair share of celebrities who love to fly, with John Travolta and Harrison Ford being two of the more well-known examples. But many people might be surprised to learn that Morgan Freeman is also a pilot. Earning his private pilot’s license at 65, he is also the owner of three different aircrafts. I guess this is proof that it’s never too late to learn a new trick.
5. Served His Country
“I joined the Air Force. I took to it immediately when I arrived there. I did three years, eight months, and ten days in all, but it took me a year and a half to get disabused of my romantic notions about it.”
Believe it or not, Freeman was already no stranger to the wild blue yonder when he got his private pilot’s license. Decades beforehand, he had served in the U.S. Air Force. He had hoped to become a fighter pilot, but was instead assigned to mechanic and radar technician duties. But still, Freeman did his part to keep America safe. That’s more than can be said about a number of more “patriotic” flag-wavers currently populating the entertainment industry.
4. Overcame Tough Childhood
“The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.”
From reading this list so far, one might think that Morgan Freeman had an easy, privileged life. After all, how else could he have achieved so much? It turns out that he had to first overcome a very difficult childhood. His father was an alcoholic who died of cirrhosis. He was largely raised by his paternal grandmother. Additionally, when he was young his family was constantly moving, preventing him from making early friendships. But this wasn’t the only major challenge that he had to overcome in life…
3. Beat Alcoholism
“Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather. Hot soup is the best because the process of digesting food helps to warm you up.”
…as Morgan Freeman was once an alcoholic like his father. The nasty habit developed during his tenure on the 1970s children’s educational show The Electric Company. Apparently he hated working on the show and the alcohol provided him with a temporary release. But he finally managed to kick the habit. Anybody who has grappled with alcoholism can tell you that that is no easy feat.
2. Advocate of racial and social equality
“I am going to stop calling you a white man and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”
Morgan Freeman is also a supporter of civil rights and same-sex marriage. Some might be thrown by the news of his criticism of Black History Month, but he makes a decent point: “You’re going to relegate my history to a month? “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” As for civil rights, Morgan Freeman has done commercials for same-sex equality and has even helped raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
“We call on anybody who has even the thought (of giving) to get beyond the thought and help these people.”
Finally, we should all look to Morgan Freeman as a role model because of his self-less philanthropy. He has helped hurricane relief efforts, supported the Mississippi Animal Rescue League, and been a patron of the Campaign for Female Education. These are just a few of the many worthy causes that Morgan Freeman has contributed towards. If only all celebrities could be so giving.