Black History Month: Legendary Actors?
Hollywood's African American leading men have taken us on wild adventures in their films for decades. They have entertained us and angered us. They have surprised us while also teaching us a thing or two about the sometimes fickle entertainment industry. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried with these big screen icons, and they without a doubt play a significant role in our culture. Here are our top African American actors that have set the standard for what it means to be a black man in film.
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Since Denzel began acting in the early 1980‘s, he has lit up the screen on television, in movies and in off-Broadway productions, amassing a legion of adoring fans along the way. Denzel’s highly-acclaimed films include Malcolm X, The Hurricane, and Man on Fire, and the two-time Academy Awards winner is up for another statue this year for his soaring performance in Flight.
Jones' voice is one of the most recognizable in Hollywood, as he is best known as the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films. James’ other notable acting performances include roles in Patriot Games and The Great White Hope and Coming To America. His talents go far beyond Hollywood: Jones' Broadway roles have earned him theatrical praise and two Tony Awards.
Morgan Freeman first caught our attention in the African American production of the musical Hello, Dolly in 1967. His numerous credits include Driving Miss Daisy, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, as well as his Academy Award Best Supporting Actor winning role in 2005's Million Dollar Baby.
Samuel began his acting career by playing bad guys and drug addicts, but since then, he has appeared in more than 100 films. In 1994, he had his break out role in Pulp Fiction for which he received an Academy Award nomination, but he is also known for roles in Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith and Iron Man. In 2011, The Guinness Book of World Records named Jackson the highest grossing movie actor of all time.