Page last updated at 21:04 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 22:04 UK

Freeman recovering after surgery

Morgan Freeman (file photo)
Morgan Freeman received an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby in 2005

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is in "good spirits" after surgery for injuries sustained in a serious car accident near his Mississippi home.

Mr Freeman's spokeswomen said the surgery to reconnect nerves and repair damage to his left arm and hand lasted four-and-a-half hours.

She said the 71-year-old Dark Knight star was now looking forward to being discharged "as soon as possible".

The accident happened shortly before midnight on Sunday.

Mr Freeman's car ran off the side of the road and overturned several times, landing upright in a ditch.

Mr Freeman, who was driving the car, and a female passenger were airlifted to Memphis's Regional Medical Center, about 90 miles (145km) north of where the accident occurred in Tallahatchie County.

"He is in good spirits and was visiting with family members this morning," said Mr Freeman's spokeswoman, Donna Lee.

"He was walking this morning, and is looking forward to his release as soon as possible."

The actor was initially reported as being in a "serious" condition.

Neither Lee nor the hospital had information about the condition of the woman, Demaris Meter of Memphis.

'No freebies'

Both passengers had been wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident, said Mississippi Highway Patrol Sergeant Ben Williams.

FREEMAN FACTS
Morgan Freeman and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight
Born 1 June 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee
He spent several years in the US Air Force as a mechanic
Freeman started acting in the 1960s, appearing a couple of off-Broadway shows
His first credited film appearance was in 1971's Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow!
Freeman starred in some of the biggest films of the 1990s, including The Shawshank Redemption, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Se7en, and Deep Impact
He won an Oscar in 2005 for the film Million Dollar Baby
Freeman plays Lucius Fox in this summer's blockbuster, The Dark Knight (pictured)

"There's no indication that either alcohol or drugs were involved," he added. He said it was possible that the actor had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Mr Freeman was conscious and talking at the scene, he said.

There were "no other vehicles or pedestrians involved", he added.

An investigation into the accident is under way.

Bill Rogers, who saw the accident happen and was first on the scene, told BBC 5 Live that driving conditions on Sunday night were difficult.

"We had a rain storm that had just passed and so the highway was wet," he said. "We were standing in water in the ditch.

"When he became conscious Mr Freeman began asking the same questions over and over again: 'Was I speeding, can I lay on the ground? Is everybody okay?'" Mr Rogers added.

Clay McFerrin, editor of local newspaper the Sun-Sentinel, told the Associated Press news agency the actor later began "joking with some of the rescue workers".

When one person tried to take a photo with a mobile phone, Mr Freeman joked, "no freebies, no freebies", Mr McFerrin said.

Mechanic

Morgan Freeman is one of Hollywood's best loved and busiest actors, says the BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Los Angeles.

Mr Freeman won a best supporting actor Oscar for boxing drama Million Dollar Baby in 2005.

He has twice been nominated in the leading actor category - for The Shawshank Redemption in 1995 and Driving Miss Daisy in 1990.

Last year it was announced the actor would play former South African president Nelson Mandela in forthcoming film The Human Factor.

His first credited film appearance was in the 1971 movie Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow!

Prior to that, he had worked as a mechanic in the US Air Force.

His film appearances include Se7en, Unforgiven and the rebooted Batman franchise.


SEE ALSO
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Profile: Morgan Freeman
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14 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Actor Freeman gets Mandela role
23 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Oscar-winner offers career advice
08 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Freeman slams Black History Month
16 Dec 05 |  Entertainment
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