AT “79-AND-A-HALF,” THE BELOVED ACTOR SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING DOWN
dishes to Closer about being at the top of his game at 79.
He won the Career Achievement Award at AARP’s Movies for Grownups on Feb. 6, but Morgan Freeman says the greatest life lesson he’s learned is to stay quiet. “Keep your mouth shut more often than it’s open,” he shared with Closer at the Beverly Hills ceremony.
Of course, it would be a shame if he silenced his sonorous voice completely. And that’s unlikely, as he’s got a new movie, Going in Style, in theaters April 7 and several more in the pipeline. “I’m at a place where I get to do whatever I want,” he says.
That hasn’t always been the case. Morgan grew up on the South Side of Chicago, which he’s described as “a hellhole.” “I really didn’t get discovered until 1987, when I was 50,” he says of his breakout role as a pimp opposite Christopher Reeve in Street Smart. “As you can imagine, these years have been the best of my life.” They’ve included five Oscar nominations and a win for 2004’s Million Dollar Baby.
On June 1, Morgan will celebrate his 80th birthday, and “all my friends are planning” a party, he says. But he’s not ready for that milestone yet. “I’m 79-and-a-half,” he deadpans. “I guess I’m finally a f---ing grown-up.” Spending much of his time in Clarksdale, Miss., helps keep him grounded. “I live outside the city with the birds and the bees,” he says. “I get to have a normal life. I golf with friends. I have dinner.” And of all his accomplishments, the father of four says, “I’m most proud of my kids.”
But he’s still looking for new challenges. “I’ve learned a lot on this journey,” Morgan says. “With the advantages of being a grownup comes responsibility to be true to yourself, to honor those who came before you [and] to leave the world a better place.”
— Bruce Fretts, with reporting by Amanda Champagne-Meadows
“I don’t always [feel like] a grown-up.”
“Morgan, you are truly unique,” Red’s Helen Mirren said at
the AARP event. Morgan robs a bank with fellow Oscar winners Michael Caine and
Alan Arkin in Going in Style.