Morgan Freeman is set to take the Screen Actors Guild’s top honor.
SAG announced Tuesday the Oscar-winning actor and producer will be the 54th recipient of its Life Achievement Award, bestowed for his achievements in film in addition to his humanitarian accomplishments.
After winning a statewide drama competition in Mississippi at age 12, Freeman would go on to perform in small roles before serving in the U.S. Air Force, eventually graduating to film and television roles in his subsequent career in Hollywood, which has resulted in over $4.5 billion in cumulative worldwide ticket sales.
In addition to his work on screens big and small — namely in movies like Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy, and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy — Freeman has embarked on several philanthropic ventures. In 1973, he co-founded the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop in support of African-American playwrights, and continues to contribute to Artists for a New South Africa and the Campaign for Female Education.
“I am thrilled to announce Morgan Freeman as this year’s recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award. Some actors spend their entire careers waiting for the perfect role. Morgan showed us that true perfection is what a performer brings to the part,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “He is innovative, fearless and completely unbound by expectations. As a chauffeur, convicted murderer, boxing gym attendant, pimp or president, Morgan fully realized every character baring their souls and showcasing their humanity. It has been a privilege to see his genius at work.”
The prestigious award has been given to esteemed members of the industry elite in the recent past, including Ernest Borgnine in 2010, Mary Tyler Moore in 2011, Dick Van Dyke in 2012, Rita Moreno in 2013, Debbie Reynolds in 2014, and Carol Burnett in 2015. Lily Tomlin received the honor at last year’s ceremony.
The 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be broadcast live on TNT and TBS Sunday, Jan. 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET.