Morgan Freeman to Receive 39th AFI Life Achievement Award
Morgan Freeman has been selected by the American Film Institute's (AFI) Board of Trustees to receive the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film, it was announced today by Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the AFI Board of Trustees.
The award will be presented to Freeman at a gala tribute on Thursday, June 9, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA. TV Land will broadcast the 39th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute on TV Land PRIME later in June 2011.
"Morgan Freeman is an American treasure," said Stringer. "Across decades, whether playing a prisoner, a president or God, he embodies a calm authority that demands respect for the character and for the art form. His gifts to the cultural record are also underscored by his unmistakable voice that echoes through the hearts and minds of movie lovers around the world. AFI is proud to present him with its 39th Life Achievement Award."
Last year's AFI Tribute to Mike Nichols brought together the film community in unprecedented fashion, including Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Candice Bergen, Cher, Michael Douglas, Nora Ephron, Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Eric Idle, Shirley MacLaine, Elaine May, Jack Nicholson, Mary Louise Parker, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Williams and a special musical performance by Simon and Garfunkel.
About Morgan Freeman
Academy Award®-winning actor Morgan Freeman is one of the most recognizable figures in American cinema. His works are among the most critically and commercially successful films of all time and Freeman himself ranks 10th among worldwide top-grossing actors of all time. His films have earned over $3 billion in cumulative ticket sales. Whether a role requires an air of gravitas; a playful smile, twinkle of the eye or a world-weary, yet insightful soul, Freeman's ability to delve to the core of a character and infuse it with a quiet dignity has resulted in some of the most memorable portrayals ever recorded on film.
Freeman won the Academy Award® in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Million Dollar Baby." In 1990 he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in "Driving Miss Daisy." Freeman also received an Academy Award nomination in 1987 for Best Supporting Actor for "Street Smart" and in 1994 for Best Actor for "The Shawshank Redemption."
In 2000 Freeman was honored with the Hollywood Actor Award from the Hollywood Film Festival. Eight years later he received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor for his distinguished acting.
In 2010 he received an Academy Award® nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a Broadcast Critics Association nomination for his performance as Nelson Mandela in the acclaimed film "Invictus." He also won the National Board of Review award for Best Actor and was the film's executive producer. The picture was produced by Revelations Entertainment, the company he co-founded in 1996 with a mission to produce films that enlighten, express heart, and glorify the human experience. Other Revelations features include "Levity," "Under Suspicion," "Mutiny," "Bopha!", "Along Came a Spider," "Feast of Love," "10 Items or Less" and "Maiden Heist."
Freeman's credits include Summit Entertainment's comedic espionage thriller "Red," "The Dark Knight," "The Bucket List," "Glory," "Clean and Sober," "Lean on Me," "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "Unforgiven," "Se7en," "Kiss the Girls," "Amistad," "Deep Impact," "Nurse Betty," "The Sum of All Fears," "Bruce Almighty, "Nurse Betty," "Coriolanus," "Attica," "Brubaker," "Eyewitness," "Death of a Prophet" and "Along Came a Spider." He also narrated two Academy Award® documentaries "The Long Way Home" and "The March of The Penguins." His next film "Dolphin's Tale" begins production in the fall of 2010.
After beginning his acting career on the off-Broadway stage productions of "The Niggerlovers" and the all- African-American production of "Hello Dolly", Freeman segued into television. Many people grew up watching him on the long-running Children's Television Workshop classic "The Electric Company", where he played several recurring characters. Looking for his next challenge, he set his sights on both The Great White Way and silver screen simultaneously and quickly began to fill his resume with memorable performances.
In 1978 Freeman won a Drama Desk Award his role as Zeke in "The Mighty Gents." He also received a Tony Nomination for BestPerformance by a Featured Actor.
His stage work continued to earn him accolades and awards, including Obie Awards in 1980, 1984 and 1987 and a second Drama Desk Nomination in 1987 for the role of Hoke Colburn which he created for the Alfred Uhry play "Driving Miss Daisy" and reprised in the 1989 movie of the same name.
In his spare time, Freeman loves the freedom of both sea and sky; he is a long-time sailor and has earned a private pilot's license. He also has a love for the blues and seeks to keep it in the forefront through his Ground Zero club in Clarksville, Mississippi, the birthplace of the blues. In 1973 he co-founded the Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop, now in its 37th season. The workshop seeks to serve successful playwrights of the new millennium. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Earth Biofuels, a company whose mission is to promote the use of clean-burning fuels. He also supports Artists for a New South Africa and the Campaign for Female Education.
About the AFI Life Achievement Award
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 26, 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:
"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."
AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients
Morgan Freeman joins an esteemed group of individuals who have been chosen for this distinguished honor since its inception in 1973.
1973 John Ford
1974 James Cagney
1975 Orson Welles
1976 William Wyler
1977 Bette Davis
1978 Henry Fonda
1979 Alfred Hitchcock
1980 James Stewart
1981 Fred Astaire
1982 Frank Capra
1983 John Huston
1984 Lillian Gish
1985 Gene Kelly
1986 Billy Wilder
1987 Barbara Stanwyck
1988 Jack Lemmon
1989 Gregory Peck
1990 David Lean
1991 Kirk Douglas
1992 Sidney Poitier
1993 ElizaBeth Taylor
1994 Jack Nicholson
1995 Steven Spielberg
1996 Clint Eastwood
1997 Martin Scorsese
1998 Robert Wise
1999 Dustin Hoffman
2000 Harrison Ford
2001 Barbra Streisand
2002 Tom Hanks
2003 Robert De Niro
2004 Meryl Streep
2005 George Lucas
2006 Sean Connery
2007 Al Pacino
2008 Warren Beatty
2009 Michael Douglas
2010 Mike Nichols
About the American Film Institute
AFI is America's promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work, and to educate the next generation of storytellers. As a national, public-supported educational and cultural organization, AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.
AFI preserves the legacy of America's film heritage through the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, an authoritative record of American films from 1893 to the present, and the AFI Archives, which contains rare footage from across the history of the moving image.
AFI honors the artists and their work through a variety of annual programs and special events, including the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI Awards. For 39 years, the AFI Life Achievement Award has remained the highest honor for a career in film while AFI Awards, the institute's almanac for the 21st century, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year. AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies television events and definitive movie reference lists, as well as AFI Night at the Movies, have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers. And as the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the United States, AFI offers film enthusiasts a variety of events throughout the year, including AFI Fest presented by Audi, the longest running international film festival in Los Angeles; AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs, the largest documentary festival in the US; and year-round programming at the AFI Silver Theatre in the Washington, D.C. area.
AFI educates the next generation of storytellers at its world-renowned AFI Conservatory, offering a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. AFI also explores new digital technologies through special workshops.
Additional information about AFI is available at AFI.com.
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