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Morgan Freeman has one of the most iconic voices in the world. It instantly allows audiences to recognize his signature sound, but is it his natural voice? Freeman once explained that the voice he’s known for didn’t actually happen on its own. The actor had to develop it with the help of a specific individual.

Morgan Freeman is known for his deep, calming voice

Morgan Freeman, the man with an iconic voice, wearing a suit
Morgan Freeman | Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Freeman is an actor who is just as known for his acting as he is for his ability to narrate movies. His breakout role was in 1987’s Street Smart, but he garnered much larger fame with Glory, Lean on Me, and Driving Miss Daisy. Audiences instantly connected with his deep and calming voice, which provided him with another avenue of work.

The actor delivers marvelous performances, but his voice lends itself well to animated movies and other projects that call for such a voice. Several documentaries tasked Freeman with providing narration for their features, including March of the Penguins. He speaks in a reassuring voice that is very clear, as he annunciates each word with clarity.

Morgan Freeman explained to Conan O’Brien how he developed his movie speaking voice

Late Night with Conan O’Brien brought Freeman on as a guest, where he talked about his iconic voice. The host asked if the actor’s voice was natural. The actor explained how it was a journey that took time.

“No, no, no, no,” Freeman said. “It’s not a natural gift at all. I don’t think that any voice is a natural gift. Someone helps you get it.”

Host Conan O’Brien wasn’t expecting that response. He asked what Freeman’s voice was like before.

“It was high,” Freeman admitted. “I had a very thick Southern accent. I was raised in Mississippi.” The crowd applauded in response to these statements.

“When I studied Acting 101 at LACC, Los Angeles City College, and it turned out that it was a very fine voice coach, voice instructor,” Freeman said. “He gave us voice and diction, and voice development. Voice development is where he started working you down in your register. He says everybody, most people talk a bit higher than their normal [voice].”

O’Brien admitted that he hated his own voice. The actor said that he doesn’t agree with his statement of “self-hate.” However, many people generally don’t enjoy hearing their voices back on a recording.

The actor can’t replicate what Clark Gable and James Cagney could do with dialogue


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Freeman called himself a voice “thief” of sorts, taking bits and pieces from other working actors that he respects. However, there are some actors with vocal talents that aren’t possible for him to replicate.

“The only people I can’t do that with are James Cagney and Clark Gable,” Freeman said on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. “Well, what they had was this dialogue affinity. If you’ve listened to Clark Gable, dialogue comes out of him like that (snaps fingers) and it’s all clear. I can’t do it.”

Nevertheless, Freeman has one of the most recognizable voices in the history of the entertainment industry. It’s clear that all of his training went to good use.