Morgan Freeman reveals how he developed his iconic voice

In a 2007 interview with Conan O'Brien, Morgan Freeman revealed that his famous voice did not come naturally, but had to be trained by a voice coach

Morgan Freeman

In 2007, veteran actor Morgan Freeman appeared on Conan O’Brien’s talk show and revealed that his most famous feature – his voice – is not something that came naturally, it had to be trained. Freeman’s voice has been put to good use as narration in some of the best movies of all time such as The Shawshank Redemption and March of the Penguins, as well as giving him the gravitas to play God in Bruce Almighty/Evan Almighty.

Freeman says; “It’s not a natural gift at all. I don’t think any voice is a natural gift, someone helps you get it.” O’Brien asks Freeman what his voice was like before; “It was high and I had a very thick Southern accent. I was raised in Mississippi.”

Freeman continues; “When I studied Acting 101 at Los Angeles City College, I had a very fine voice coach, voice instructor. He gave us voice and diction, and voice development. Voice development is where he started working you down in your register. He said that most people talk a bit higher.”

Freeman also discusses stealing from other actors; “I’m a big thief. When I was a kid, I lived in the movies. That was where I went. Every actor that I saw, I watched with the idea that ‘one of these days, I’m going to be able to do that.’ The only people I couldn’t do were James Cagney and Clark Gable. What they had was this dialogue affinity. If you’ve listened to Clark Gable, dialogue comes out of him very quickly and it’s all clear. I can’t do that.”

“I used to watch Victor Mature movies, like Kiss of Death, Samson and Delilah. He had this habit, if he was going to show any kind of emotion, he’d just pop his scalp back.” At the age of 85, Freeman is still working and was recently seen in Paradise Highway and Hitman’s Wife’ Bodyguard.

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