Freeman, 78, lived on a boat outside of Washington, D.C. and taught at Howard University.
“It is with tremendous sadness that the passing of our beloved Professor Al Freeman, Jr. is confirmed,” Kim James Bey, chair of Howard University’s theater department, told the Star Tribune Friday afternoon.
Freeman was best known for his screen roles. He appeared on such programs as "Roots," “The Cosby Show,” “Law and Order” and “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” He won Emmys for “One Life to Live” and “Malcolm X." He also won an NAACP Image Award for his Elijah Muhammad.
Freeman first gained acclaim for his stage work in Amiri Baraka’s “Dutchman,” in a 1967 off-Broadway production. He played a black subway rider who is tormented by a white woman.