Morgan Freeman honored with AFI Life Achievement Award
Morgan Freeman was honored by friends and colleagues with an AFI Life Achievement Award at a ceremony on Thursday, June 9.
Clint Eastwood, Betty White, Helen Mirren, Forrest Whitaker, Sidney Poitier, Matthew Broderick and Rita Moreno are among the stars who gave tribute at the American Film Institute's event honoring the actor. Freeman is the 39th recipient of the honor, which recognizes those whose talent helps advance the art of film. See the red carpet arrivals.
The three-hour celebration included clips from Freeman's films and early performances, including him singing and dancing on TV's "The Electric Company" in the early '70s. There was also a musical tribute, where Garth Brooks and a chorus performed "Lean on Me," which was the title of the actor's 1989 film. The ceremony will air on June 19 on TV Land at 9 p.m. ET.
The 74-year-old actor is known for his roles in movies such as "Million Dollar Baby," which earned him his only Oscar, and plays God in "Bruce Almighty" and its sequel "Evan Almighty." Freeman is also known for his iconic voice, which is heard in Visa credit card commercials.
During the event, White arrived on stage to the theme song to "Driving Miss Daisy." The 89-year-old actress appeared opposite Freeman in the 1998 film "Hard Rain," but told the audience that she had always wanted to appear on stage with the actor in "Hello, Dolly!" Freeman was part of the all-black Broadway cast of the show in 1968 and White did a parody of the musical's title song, renamed "Hello, Morgan," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Mirren said of her "Red" co-star, "In movie after movie, this AARP member has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he can kick some serious ass."
Eastwood, who directed the actor in "Million Dollar Baby," summoned Freeman to the stage to accept the award and said, "I don't know if it's proper to love another man, but this is as close as I'm going to get to it."
Freeman has also been nominated for Oscars for his performances in "The Shawshank Redemption," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Street Smart" and the 2009 film "Invictus," which saw him playing South African leader Nelson Mandela alongside Matt Damon, last year's recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award.
"For me, heaven has always been about acting in the movies. Acting for me means living - it's what I do. And tonight, you told me I am pretty good at it," Freeman told the audience. "I'm proud to be an actor, although for this one night, you have made me feel like a star."
The Oscar-winning actor is known for his film work and also hosts "Through the Wormhole," a Science Channel series that "explores the deepest mysteries of existence." Freeman poses questions such as "What do aliens look like?," Can we live forever?" and "Is there life after death?" Its second season premiered on Wednesday, June 8.
Check out a promo video for the second season of Freeman's series, "Through The Wormhole" below.