Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Tupac Shakur Facebook Page Posts Cryptic Message on Upcoming "Special Announcement." Biopic News? Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Weekend B.O. Aug 21-23 (F. Gary Gray Becomes a Prominent Member of the $100 Million Black Directors Club) Dr. Dre Issues Public Statement Apologizing for "The Women I’ve Hurt" Dr. Dre Issues Public Statement Apologizing for "The Women I’ve Hurt" Timely Brit Documentary 'The Hard Stop' Explores Life & Death of Mark Duggan + Riots That Followed (Trailer) Timely Brit Documentary 'The Hard Stop' Explores Life & Death of Mark Duggan + Riots That Followed (Trailer) Say Hello to Marvel's Newest Superhero - Moon Girl Say Hello to Marvel's Newest Superhero - Moon Girl Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey' AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey'

RIP Al Freeman Jr.

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 10, 2012 at 4:37PM

The son of African American stage actor Al Freeman (1884-1956), and star of stage, TV and film, Al Freeman Jr. (born Albert Cornelius Freeman Jr., on March 21, 1934, in San Antonio, Texas), has died at the age of 78 years old.
19
Al Freeman

The son of African American stage actor Al Freeman (1884-1956), and star of stage, TV and film, Al Freeman Jr. (born Albert Cornelius Freeman Jr., on March 21, 1934, in San Antonio, Texas), has died at the age of 78 years old.

His career, as an actor primarily, as well as a writer and director, spans several decades, dating back to the 1950s.

He made his big screen debut in 1960's melodrama The Rebel Breed.

Most notably, in 1967, Freeman Jr. co-starred with Shirley Knight in the film version of Leroi Jones' (Amiri Baraka'soff-Broadway play Dutchman, in a performance that earned him excellent reviews, and further attention for his portrayal of a black subway passenger victimized by a frantic white woman.

Dutchman would later be adapted for the screen, with Freeman Jr. and Knight reprising their roles - a film we've featured on this site on more than one occasion, and will likely feature again shortly, in light of today's news.

Three years later, Freeman Jr. co-starred with Patty Duke in the landmark TV movie My Sweet Charlie (1970), playing a volatile New York City lawyer stranded in a small Texas town with a white unwed mother.

Freeman Jr. is likely best best known to daytime-drama fans for his lengthy stint as Lt. Ed Hall on One Life to Live - a role that won him a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series in 1979, and setting his place in history as the first African American actor to win that specific award.

And more recently, he'll also be remembered for his portrayal of Elijah Muhammed in Spike Lee's 1992 opus Malcolm X; he actually played Malcolm X in the 1979 miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations.

Freeman was also a screenwriter, penning screenplays for Ossie Davis' Countdown at Kusini (1976), and was a director himself, helming (and starring in) the 1971 feature A Fable, from a script written by Amiri Baraka, based on his own play (The Slave: A Fable), about a black radical who violently and fatally torments his white ex-wife and children, after they start a new family with a white man.

On TV, Freeman Jr appeared in serials like The Cosby Show, and Homicide: Life on the Street.

His Broadway theatre credits include Blues for Mister Charlie (1964), Look to the Lilies (1970) and Medea (1974).

Up until his death, Freeman Jr. was a professor at Howard University, in the Department of Theatre Arts, teaching acting. He served as Chairman/Artistic Director of the Department for six years.

I was informed this afternoon that he died last night, August 9th; although the cause of his death hasn't yet been made public.

"It is with tremendous sadness that the passing of our beloved Professor Al Freeman, Jr. is confirmed," Kim James Bey, chair of Howard university's Theatre Department said in a statement.

RIP.

This article is related to: Al Freeman Jr.


Shadow & ActNewsletter