Al Freeman Jr., whose career on the stage, screen and in the drama classroom covered more than 50 years and included the first Emmy awarded to an African American for his work in a daytime television series, died Aug. 3 in Washington. He was 78.

He is best known for a 15-year, Emmy-winning stint as police Capt. Ed Hall on One Life to Live, a TV soap opera, as Nation of Islam leader Elijah Mohammed in the film Malcolm X and as Malcolm X in the TV mini-series Roots: The Next Generations. He won a best actor Emmy for One Life to Live in 1979.

He attracted critical praise on the New York stage, on and off Broadway, in the 1960s in Long Dream (1960), Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright (1962), and Blues for Mister Charlie(1964).

His television credits date from Suspicion in 1958 and included appearances on more than a score of TV shows and broadcast specials from The Millionaire (1958), Bourbon Street Beat (1959) and The Defenders (1965) to Hot L Baltimore (1975), The Cosby Show (1986) and Law and Order (1990 to 2004), according to Howard.

His film credits listed by include Black Like Me (1964), Ensign Pulver (1964),For Pete’s Sake (1966), Dutchman (1967), The Detective (1968), Finian’s Rainbow (1968), and Down in the Delta (1998).