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Morgan Freeman gets American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award

June 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Morgan Freeman's impressive body of work is no doubt one reason the American Film Institute chose to honor him on Thursday with its 39th Life Achievement Award.

Sidney Poitier did the honors of welcoming Freeman to an evening celebrating a film career 47 years in the making.

Among his many memorable performances are his Oscar-winning role in "Million Dollar Baby," his Oscar-nominated roles in "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Driving Miss Daisy."

"He's so joyful," said Cary Elwes, Freeman's costar in "Glory" and "Kiss the Girls." "I mean, he brings such joy to the set. He's very serious about his work, but he doesn't take himself too seriously."

Freeman's roles are as diverse as being in the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight," to playing Nelson Mandela in "Invictus." He tackled slavery in "Amistad" and a serial killer in "Se7en." He played God in the comedy "Bruce Almighty."

"I mean, he's alright in the cool factor. He has a high quotient of cool, yes," said actor Samuel L. Jackson.

"I love him as an actor. I love him as a creator. He's a great guy," said Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group.

Freeman is a big movie star today, but in the 1970s, you could find him on kids' educational TV series, "The Electric Company." That's when he worked with Rita Moreno.

"The moment he walks into a scene, walks into a room, people will just inevitably turn to him. He has that, and that is indefinable," said Moreno.

And while this is life achievement award for Freeman, he says there's still more life in him.

"Beyond this, just keep it coming. Just let me keep going, you know? I can still dance!" said Freeman.

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