Al Freeman Jr. (born Albert Cornelius Freeman Jr., on March 21, 1934, in San Antonio, Texas), passed away on Thursday at the age of 78, Howard University said on Friday.
"It is with tremendous sadness that the passing of our beloved Professor Al Freeman, Jr. is confirmed," Kim James Bey, chair of the university's theater department said in a statement. Freeman was a faculty member at the university.
Freeman is best known to soap opera fans from his long-running role as Captain Ed Hall in ONE LIFE TO LIVE, opposite Ellen Holly's Carla. Pianist Hazel Scott performed at Ed and Carla's 1973 wedding ceremony, delayed several times by the Watergate hearings. Freeman also played Assistant District Attorney Ben Lee in THE EDGE OF NIGHT.
Freeman was best known as an actor of theater, television and film but also was a writer and director.
His TV credits included LAW & ORDER, HOMICIDE, MAUDE and THE COSBY SHOW.
Freeman's film roles included parts in Down in the Delta, Malcolm X and Seven Hours to Judgment.
Freeman was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards for his work in ONE LIFE TO LIVE winning once in 1979 as Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series. He was also nominated for two Primetime Emmys including his role in Roots: The Next Generations. Freeman won an Image Award in 1995 for Malcolm X.
His Broadway theatre credits include "Blues for Mister Charlie" (1964), "Look to the Lilies" (1970) and "Medea" (1974).
Up until his death, Freeman was a professor at Howard University, in the Department of Theatre Arts, teaching acting. He served as Chairman/Artistic Director of the Department for six years.
Watch Freeman perform in a 1984 episode of ONE LIFE TO LIVE below opposite Lillian Hayman and Ellen Holly:
- FLASHBACK: White Market For Black Actors 1979
- FLASHBACK: Catching Up with the Stars of ONE LIFE TO LIVE - In 1979!
- FLASHBACK: ONE LIFE TO LIVE Hits Quarter Center; Still The Soap With A Social Conscience
- WLS Interview Archive: Ellen Holly (January 2012)