Popular African American actors as of 2015 include Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Will Smith. Freeman and Washington each have been awarded an Oscar for their performances.
Freeman was born in June 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Los Angeles City College, then served in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic from 1955 to 1959. Freeman's early career was spent on the stage, and he received four Obie awards for his performances. Freeman moved to feature films in the early 1970s. His most memorable and acclaimed performances include his roles in "The Shawshank Redemption," "Invictus," the "Dark Knight" series and "Million Dollar Baby."
Washington was born in December 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He attended Fordham University, then enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater. Like Freeman, Denzel spent his early career performing in plays before moving to screen roles in the early 1980s. His best and most well-known performances include "Malcolm X," "The Hurricane," "Training Day," "Remember the Titans" and "American Gangster."
Jackson was born in December 1948 in Washington, D.C. He became well-known in the late 1980s and received his first Oscar nomination in 1994 for "Pulp Fiction." Jackson is also known for his roles as Nick Fury in Marvel's "Avenger" series and Mace Windu in "Star Wars."
Smith was born in September 1968 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the early 1990s, Smith became a household name as he starred in the television series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." He began venturing into films in the mid 1990s and is best known for his performances in "Independence Day," "Men in Black," "Hitch and "The Pursuit of Happyness."