Sage-like in his tempered wisdom and frank in his delivery, actor Morgan Freeman is a sort of “voice of reason” for many Americans. To millions upon millions of fans worldwide, the veteran thespian radiates a signature air of grace under fire, whether he is playing a role or speaking out on important social issues of the day. But it’s a safe bet that the ever-unflappable Freeman suffered a few moments of harrowing trepidation during an ill-fated airplane trip on Saturday night.
According to TMZ, the 78-year-old actor was the only passenger on a problem-addled private flight that ultimately ended in an emergency landing at an unintended destination. Tennessee’s WMC News 5 reports that the plane was en route to Houston, Texas, from Clarksdale, Tennessee, when a mid-air emergency forced the plane’s pilot to change course and land quickly.
TMZ reports that the plane experienced some kind of hydraulic problem shortly after takeoff. After calling in a “mayday” alert, the pilot received clearance to land at an airport in Tunica, Mississippi. The drama mounted during the emergency landing, as the plane went off the runway and ultimately came to rest in a dirt field. Both Morgan Freeman and the plane’s pilot are reportedly safe.
Memphis-area news source FOX 13 noted that Freeman was en route to a photo shoot for National Geographic.
A critically-acclaimed star of the silver screen, Morgan Freeman has amassed a formidable list of honors during his 51-year career in the entertainment industry. The Internet Movie Database notes that Freeman has been nominated for an Academy Award a total of five times, winning the honor for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his work in Million Dollar Baby in 2005. Freeman has also been nominated for scores of other awards, including numerous Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Image Awards.
Prior to his work in film, Morgan Freeman established himself on television and he occasionally returns to that medium. His work on the science show Through the Wormhole earned Freeman an Emmy nomination in 2012. Earlier this year, Freeman also made an appearance on the CBS drama Madame Secretary in the role of Chief Justice Frawley.
Although his career continues to thrive, Morgan Freeman has endured significant personal tragedy in the recent past. As reported by Inquisitr, Freeman’s 33-year-old granddaughter, E’Dena Hines, was killed under bizarre circumstances in New York City in August. She was found outside of her apartment having suffered 15 stab wounds including puncture wounds to her heart, lungs, and liver. Police noted that the knife was still stuck in her chest when she was found by first responders. Her boyfriend, 30-year-old Lemar Davenport, was taken into custody for second-degree murder. Eyewitness reports indicated that Davenport had attacked Hines because he thought she was possessed by demons, according to the New York Daily News.
For his part, Morgan Freeman later thanked fans for their support via Facebook. In his statement, he acknowledged the “tremendous outpouring of love and support” following the tragedy.
Although Freeman is known for his calm and cool demeanor, he can also be very outspoken when it comes to controversial situations. Earlier this year, Freeman spoke out over the American media’s coverage of the Baltimore riots in the wake of the death of 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. In comments to the Daily Beast, the actor praised citizen-held technology that brings new perspectives to light with regard to contentious situations, concluding his comments by exclaiming, “F**k the media.”
In addition to offering his plain-spoken perspective to matters regarding race and media, Morgan Freeman has also spoken out in favor of the legalization of marijuana and gay rights. After this weekend, maybe the actor and activist will add airplane safety to his list of noteworthy causes.
[Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images]