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Al Freeman, Jr.
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    (March 21, 1934-August 9, 2012)
    Born in San Antonio, Texas
    Portrayed Ed Hall on 'One Life To Live' (1972-2000)
    Appeared in the films 'Ensign Pulver' (1964), 'Dutchman' (1967), 'The Detective' (1968), 'Finian's Rainbow' (1968), 'Seven Hours to Judgment' (1988), 'Malcolm X' (1992), 'Once Upon A Time... When We Were Colored' (1995) and 'Down in the Delta' (1998)
    Appeared in the TV miniseries 'King' (1978) and 'Roots: The Next Generation' (1979)
    Appeared on Broadway in 'Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright' (1962), 'Blues for Mister Charlie' (1964) and 'Medea' (1973)
    Taught acting at Howard University in Washington, DC (1988-2012)
    Early in his career, he was typecast as 'an angry young militant.'
    He admired the Nation of Islam, but never joined because 'They were too strict for me with their dietary rules and code of conduct.'
    Roger Ebert predicted that his portrayal of Elijah Muhammad in 'Malcolm X' would make him the favorite to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but he was not even nominated.
    He spent decades living on his sailboat at the Washington marina.
    Joseph Papp, who directed him in several Shakespeare in the Park productions, called him 'one of the finest actors in America.'
    He was the first black actor to win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor (1979).
    Gene Siskel claimed about his 'Malcolm X' performance, 'More than one person who was very familiar with what the real Elijah Muhammad looked like . . . wondered if they were watching documentary footage of him.'
    He said his students 'are the most important people in my life. I get more from them than they get from me. Teaching really has renewed me.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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