(March 21, 1934 – August 9, 2012)
I remember the first time I saw the movie, Malcolm X, on BET when I was in grade school. That was pretty much one of those "defining moments" in my life where things were never the same. And to hear that one of the actors from the movie, Al Freeman Jr., had passed away last month was truly saddening.
Al Freeman Jr. is one of those brilliant actors that you would see in a film, and out of everyone he would be one of the actors whom you would remember the most because his presence was so memorable and moving. He is also one of those actors that you could never understand why he didn't get more breakout roles or recognition as an actor, because his skills were downright incomparable.
Freeman's career as an actor and director stems from the 1960's all the way up to the new millenium, as he played in various films. His role as The Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Malcolm X is probably one of his most notable, but one of his most unsung roles was in a play turned movie entitled, The Dutchman. Which was a movie that showed the realities that the African American male of the Civil Rights Movement era had to deal with. And with such a rewarding career and true experience, Freeman took his skills to the classroom, becoming an acting professor at Howard University.
A Black cinema trailblazer and hero in his own right, Al Freeman Jr.'s legacy lives on.
Ebony Magazine article