Al Freeman Jr. the Emmy award winning actor and a professor at Howard University who was known for his role in a Malcolm X film has died, said a spokesperson from the university. Freeman was 78.
Freeman died on August 9 and the location and cause of his death was not reported and there was no report of any surviving family.
Freeman started acting on Broadway in the beginning of the 1960s. He also acted in over a dozen movies and received a nomination for an Oscar for playing Elijah Muhammad in the film Malcolm X, by Spike Lee in 1992.
In 1992, Freeman said he had studied a great deal of video of the leader of the Nation of Islam, for his role in Malcolm X to better understand the speech patterns of the leader. Freeman said the leader’s voice was just an octave higher than his was, and put together sentences strangely when he spoke.
Freeman won his Emmy during his 15-year run on the soap opera One Life to Live on ABC. He played Ed Hall a police captain. He won the award in 1979. He also appeared in a number of television shows including The Mod Squad and The Cosby Show.
He retired in May from his position as Howard University’s theater department chairman.
In an interview on Saturday, Lee said that Freeman was one of the best actors he had met in all his years of directing.