Played the lead role in a school play at age eight
Won a statewide drama competition at age 12
Performed on a radio show in Nashville, TN while in high school
Turned down a partial scholarship in drama from Jackson State University to serve in the Air Force
Lived in New York, where he danced at the 1964 World's Fair; also lived in San Francisco, where he joined the Opera Ring musical theater group
Worked as an extra on the feature film "The Pawnbroker"
Left the Opera Ring when he was asked to play an Indian who waves a flag at the end of a production of "Little Mary Sunshine"
Made acting debut in the touring company of Peter Shaffer's "The Royal Hunt of the Sun"
Made off-Broadway debut as Creampuff opposite Viveca Lindfors in "The Niggerlovers"
Broadway debut, played Rudolph in all-black production of "Hello, Dolly!" with Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway at the St James Theatre
Played the title role in "Purlie!" when it was staged by the American National Theater Academy in New York
Played Easy Reader on TV's "The Electric Company" (PBS)
Made film acting debut as Afro in "Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow?"
Had featured role in the Broadway play "The Mighty Gents"; received rave reviews and a Tony nomination, but play closed after nine performances
Acted in the ABC miniseries "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"
Appeared in support of Robert Redford in "Brubaker"
Co-starred in the ABC movie "Attica"
Originated role of the Messenger in the off-Broadway staging of "The Gospel at Colonus"; reprised role in the 1985 PBS TV adaptation
Had featured role in the CBS miniseries "The Atlanta Child Murders"
Originated role of the black chauffeur hired to take around an elderly Jewish woman in the Pulitzer-winning, off-Broadway hit "Driving Miss Daisy"
Earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for turn as the pimp Fast Black in "Street Smart"
Cast in first starring film role, as New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark in "Lean on Me"
Co-starred as a Union soldier in an all-black unit in "Glory"
Reprised the role of chaffeur Hoke, opposite Jessica Tandy in "Driving Miss Daisy," the film version of the award-winning play; received Best Actor Academy Award nomination
Cast as the Judge in "Bonfire of the Vanities," Brian De Palma's screen version of Tom Wolfe's novel
Portrayed Azeem, the Moor and friend to the title character in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"
Cast opposite Clint Eastwood's gunslinger William Munny in the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Unforgiven"
Made feature directorial debut with "Bopha!"
Earned second Best Actor Oscar nomination as inmate Ellis 'Red' Redding in "The Shawshank Redemption"; film was adapted from a short story by Stephen King
Co-starred with Brad Pitt as homicide detectives in David Fincher's "Se7en"
Played the enigmatic project head in "Chain Reaction"
Formed Revelations Entertainment with Lori McCreary
Portrayed police detective Alex Cross in "Kiss the Girls"; film based on James Patterson's novel; Ashley Judd co-starred
Tapped by Steven Spielberg to portray an abolitionist in "Amistad"
Portrayed the U.S. President coping the imminent destruction of Earth by an oncoming meteor in "Deep Impact"
Made debut as an executive producer with the NBC TV-movie "Mutiny," based on the real-life Port Chicago Mutiny
With Gene Hackman, co-executive produced and co-starred in "Under Suspicion"
Reprised role of Alex Cross in "Along Came a Spider"
Reteamed with Ashley Judd in "High Crimes"
Portrayed the director of the CIA in "The Sum of All Fears"; adapted from the Tom Clancy best-seller
Starred as the villain in "The Dreamcatcher"; adapted from a Stephen King novel
Played God in the feature "Bruce Almighty"
Co-starred with Owen Wilson in "The Big Bounce"
Cast as Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris opposite Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby"; directed by Clint Eastwood who also co-starred
Cast as former Wayne Enterprises board member Lucius Fox opposite Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins"
Played 'The Boss' opposite Josh Hartnett in the thriller "Lucky Number Slevin"
Cast as a nameless actor in Brad Silberling's low-budget feature "10 Items or Less"
Reprised his role as God in "Evan Almighty," the sequel to "Bruce Almighty" starring Steve Carell in the lead role
Played a Boston Police Chief in Ben Affleck's feature directing debut "Gone, Baby, Gone"
Returned to Broadway in a Mike Nichols directed revival of Clifford Odets's play "The Country Girl"
Cast as an assassin in the comic book adaptation "Wanted"
Reprised role of Lucius Fox opposite Christian Bale in the Nolan directed sequel "The Dark Knight"
Portrayed former South African President Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's "Invictus," about the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa
Co-starred with Bruce Willis in "Red," an adaption of the comic book mini-series of the same name
Narrated the fantasy action feature "Conan the Barbarian," starring Jason Momoa in the title role
Co-starred with Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd in the family drama "Dolphin Tale"
Reprised role of Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises"
Played the Speaker of the House in action thriller "Olympus Has Fallen"
Featured in the sci-fi movie "Oblivion"
Appeared in the crime caper "Now You See Me"
Starred in "Last Vegas" with Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas