With a list of iconic movies under his belt and one of the most calming, influential voices of our time, Morgan Freeman is considered by many to be a living legend. He’s one of the most respected figures in the entertainment industry but keeps much of his life hidden from prying camera lenses. There’s still so much that most fans don’t know about Morgan Freeman.
From a stint in the Air Force to a passion for bees, he’s certainly led an interesting life. Keep reading to find out some fascinating new facts about the former military man and renowned actor.
10 He Is One Of Five Children & Lived With His Grandmother As A Child
Today, Morgan Freeman is one of the legends of the screen. With a net worth of around $200 million, it’s no stretch to say that he’s made it. But he wasn’t born with a silver spoon is his mouth by any means. To get where he is today, he worked his way from the bottom to the top.
According to Biography, Morgan Freeman is one of five children (although some sources state that he’s one of four). Things were tight when he was a child, and for a brief period of time, he had to live with his grandmother.
9 After High School, He Joined The Air Force
As it turns out, acting isn’t the only thing that Freeman is good at. When he finished high school, he decided that becoming an actor wasn’t his dream job. Instead, he saw himself becoming a pilot in the Air Force. He enlisted in 1955, turning down a scholarship at Jackson State University.
Although he enjoyed aspects of being in the military, it wasn’t quite what he expected. Freeman lasted for just under four years in the Air Force, ascending to the rank of Airman 1stClass. But ultimately, he decided that acting was his real calling.
8 He Got Into Acting As A Punishment
Freeman first showed interest in acting when he was still young, and the scholarship he was awarded to study at Jackson State University was actually for drama. But the young Freeman happened upon drama purely by accident while still at junior high school.
Freeman pulled out the chair of a girl he had a crush on, and as punishment, he was made to participate in the school drama competition. So really, acting was a punishment that ended up changing his life. He took top honors in the program due to his natural ability on the stage.
7 He Nearly Died Of Pneumonia When He Was A Teenager
At the age of 82, Freeman is still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down with regards to his career. He’s had a few health scares throughout his life, though, the most frightening took place when he was just 16. Still a teenager, he came down with a bad case of pneumonia and developed an abscess in his lung. When the abscess burst, he nearly died.
Freeman was lucky to emerge from the episode alive. The experience no doubt influenced his views on life, death, mortality, and even religion.
6 He’s A Trained Dancer
Freeman’s talents stretch far beyond just acting. After he returned from the military, he moved to Los Angeles, where he took acting lessons at the Pasadena Playhouse. In the early 1960s, he started taking dancing classes in San Francisco.
By 1964, Freeman worked as a professional dancer at the World’s Fair. He also became a member of the Opera Ring musical theater group in San Francisco before turning his attention to other acting pursuits. Before Freeman rose to fame, he also briefly worked as a transcript clerk at Los Angeles City College.
5 He Tragically Lost His Step-Granddaughter
First losing his grandmother when he was still a child, Freeman has come to know grief well throughout his life. Most recently in 2015, he tragically lost his step-granddaughter, E’Dena Hines. The actor legally adopted Hines with his second wife, Myrna Colley-Lee. Hines was actually Freeman’s step-granddaughter from his first marriage to Jeanette Adair Bradshaw, which lasted from 1967 until 1979.
On August 16, 2015, Hines was murdered in New York City when she was just 33 years old. She was a rising actress and her death shattered the Freeman family.
4 He Is The Descendant Of A Real Love Story
In 2008, Freeman took part in a TV series called African American Lives 2, which revealed some fascinating information about his ancestry. It was discovered that Freeman’s ancestors were slaves who migrated from North Carolina to Mississippi. The actor also found out that his family has a secret love story.
His great-great-grandfather, who was a white man, was in love with his great-great-grandmother, who was African American. They could not marry legally at the time, but they were secretly buried beside each other so they could spend eternity together.
3 One Of His Favorite Pastimes Is Beekeeping
So what does Morgan Freeman get up to in his spare time? Glad you asked. When he’s not making blockbuster hits, Freeman enjoys beekeeping. In 2014, he transformed his 124-acre ranch into a sanctuary for bees. The property is home to 26 beehives.
Freeman first became interested in beekeeping after learning about the decline of honeybee and the importance of bees for the environment. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, he revealed that his bees were imported from Arkansas to Mississippi and he feeds them a mixture of sugar and water.
2 He Owns Three Private Planes & Flies Them All
When he joined the Air Force after high school, Freeman got his first taste of flying planes. It wasn’t until he was 65 years old that he received his private pilot’s license, but now he is legally able to fly private planes. According to Fox News, Freeman flies his own private jets. With such a high net worth, he can afford a few of them!
It has been reported that Freeman owns at least three of his private planes. Having your own plane would be cool enough for most people, but being able to fly it would be even more incredible.
1 He Doesn’t Live In Hollywood
Being an acting legend, Morgan Freeman is the type of person you’d imagine to live in Hollywood. But in actual fact, he primarily lives in Charleston, Mississippi. Although he was actually born in Memphis, Tennessee, he first moved to Charleston as a baby when he went to live with his grandmother. Throughout his childhood, he moved around to several locations, including Gary, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois.
Freeman owns a blues club in Clarksdale, Mississippi called Ground Zero. He was also the co-owner of a fine-dining restaurant in Clarksdale.