Morgan Freeman to speak in public event at Yale

Stage and screen actor Morgan Freeman, who lists God among his numerous leading and supporting roles, will be at Yale as a Chubb Fellow on Tuesday, Nov. 8. As part of his visit, he will take part in a public discussion in Woolsey Hall, corner of College and Grove streets, at 4:30 p.m. This is an unticketed event, and members of the public are advised to arrive early to find seating.

The discussion will be in the format of the long-running television show “Inside The Actors  Studio.” Yale faculty member Ron Gregg, who organizes the series “Films at the Whitney,” will ask the Academy Award-winning actor for personal reflections on his career and the art of acting.

Freeman, who is one of the most recognizable figures in American cinema, has been nominated for and received the highest awards accorded to actors. His works are among the most critically and commercially successful films of all time, and Freeman himself ranks 10th among worldwide top-grossing actors.

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 Academy Award nominations for “Street Smart” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” In 2010 he received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Broadcast Critics Association nominations for his performance as Nelson Mandela in the film “Invictus.”

Among Freeman’s other well-known film credits are “The Dark Knight,” “The Bucket List,” “Glory,” “Clean and Sober,” “Lean on Me,” “Unforgiven,” “Se7en,” “Amistad,” “Nurse Betty,” “The Sum of All Fears,” “Bruce Almighty,” ”Coriolanus,” “Attica,” “Brubaker,” “Eyewitness,” and “Death of a Prophet” He also narrated two Academy Award-winning documentaries “The Long Way Home” and “The March of The Penguins.” 

After beginning his stage acting career off-Broadway, Freeman segued into television, in the classic children’s program “The Electric Company.”  His career next took him to Broadway and Hollywood, where he quickly established his mastery of both stage and screen acting. He received Obie Awards in 1980, 1984, and 1987 and a Drama Desk Nomination in 1987 for the role of Hoke Colburn in “Driving Miss Daisy,” a role he reprised in the 1989 movie of the same name.

Freeman is a long-time sailor and has earned a private pilot’s license. As a testament to his love of the blues, he established the Ground Zero club in Clarksville, Mississippi, where the blues were born. 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.

His upcoming projects include Rob Reiner’s drama “Summer at Dog Dave’s.”

Freeman is currently in production on “The Dark Knight Rises,” the third installment in Nolan's Batman film series.

Inaugurated in 2009 by the Whitney Humanities Center, Films at the Whitney hosts a variety of events — including special screenings, conferences, festivals and workshops — with professionals in the field of filmmaking.  Films at the Whitney helps make Yale students aware of film production from a range of perspectives, and last year the program received a $5,000 grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to further its efforts.

The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging and aiding Yale students interested in the operations of government and in public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program is based in Timothy Dwight College, one of Yale’s residential colleges. Each year three or four distinguished men and women have been appointed as visiting Chubb Fellows. Chubb Fellows spend their time at Yale in close, informal contact with students and deliver a public lecture. Former Chubb Fellows include Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; authors Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes and Toni Morrison; filmmaker Sofia Coppola; architect Frank Gehry; choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov; and journalist Walter Cronkite.