Actor tells of moon landing tears

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iol news pic Moon Anniversary~1 AP FILE - Astronaut Michael Collins wears the space helmet for the Apollo 11 moon mission. Collins, now 83, the command module pilot who stayed behind in lunar orbit as the gatekeeper, also spent decades sidestepping the spotlight. He is making an exception for the 45th anniversary where he plans to take part in a NASA ceremony at Kennedy Space Center on Monday, July 21, 2014, to add Armstrong's name to the historic Operations and Checkout Building. (AP Photo, File)

Washington - American actor Morgan Freeman said Friday he became teary-eyed when he watched US astronauts set foot on the Moon for the first time, 45 years ago.

“I cried,” said Freeman, 77, at a US space agency event to commemorate the 1969 Moon landing when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin hopped out of the Apollo 11 and walked on the lunar surface.

Armstrong famously described the moment as “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Freeman was 32 years old on July 20, 1969 when he and countless others around the world saw televised images of white-clad American astronauts becoming the first humans to step on the Moon.

“I was in my apartment in New York, lying on the couch, watching this. I cried, yeah,” said Freeman.

“We just landed on the Moon,” he said incredulously.

“It was such a momentous event to have actually done that and come back. Proof positive that whatever we can imagine, we can do.”

Freeman is perhaps best known for his roles in the movies Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In the 1970s he appeared on a children's show called The Electric Company.

These days, Freeman hosts a television show about the universe called Through The Wormhole, but said he was not particularly interested in science as a youth.

“I have been an actor all my life,” the Oscar-winner said.

“I am like most people. I like science fiction. And any science that attaches itself to my science fiction-reading and seeing, then I am excited because it is not just imagination anymore. It is real.”

Freeman also expressed concern about the health of the Earth, and noted that the most advanced NASA telescopes have not been able to find signs of life elsewhere in the universe.

“This is the only planet we have got and we are not taking good care of it,” Freeman said.

“If I was going to give anybody any advice, I would say think better about what we are doing to the home.”


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