Al Freeman Jr., Pioneering African-American Actor -- Emmy Winner for Soap 'One Life to Live' and Emmy Nominated for 'Roots: The Next Generations' -- Dead at 78. He Also Played Elijah Muhammad in Spike Lee's 'Malcolm X' Playbill
Al Freeman Jr., a pioneering actor and director whose career included winning a Daytime Emmy along with a number of other honors, has died, Playbill reports. He was 78 and died Aug. 9, 2012.
Freeman was known for his work in feature films including “Malcolm X,” “My Sweet Charlie” and “Finian’s Rainbow.” He also acted extensively on television, being seen in series including “One Life to Live,” “The Cosby Show,” “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order.”
He won a Daytime Emmy in 1979 for “One Life to Live,” a show for which he was nominated a total of four times. He was the first African-American actor to receive a Daytime Emmy for lead actor. Freeman also directed episodes of the soap opera.
He was also nominated twice for Primetime Emmys -- in 1970 for “My Sweet Charlie” and in 1979 for “Roots: The Next Generations.”
He received an Image Award in 1995 for his portrayal of Elijah Muhammad in Spike Lee's 1992 feature biography "Malcolm X."
Freeman also worked extensively on the stage, with credits including “Look to the Lilies” (1970), “Medea” (1973) and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (1981).