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The Latest Hollywood Buzz

Admin, June 23, 2015

Honey make powerful antibiotic - Plan Bee Ltd 3He’s played God, Nelson Mandela, the American President and he’s even driven Miss Daisy but the latest role being played by Morgan Freeman is that of beekeeper. The 77-year old Oscar Winner revealed on the Jimmy Fallon Show this week that he has recently set up 26 hives at his Mississippi ranch. The bees are currently being relocated and weaned on a diet of sugar water until they become acclimatised with their new surroundings.

Morgan, as we can now call our beekeeping brethren, has a gardener to help him maintaining the apiary. He explained during a recent movie tour that he is concerned for the welfare of bees and is trying to play his part in supporting dwindling colonies, as the ‘foundation of the growth of the planet’. Freeman has asked his gardener to figure out what the bees like, and so far that includes acres of clover, lavender and 140 magnolia trees.

Learning about Morgan’s new found commitment, made me think about why I got into beekeeping having worked, to a lesser degree, in the crazy world of film and TV. My commitment to bees evolved out of growing rare fruit trees that I used as an escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy working life. That grew into beekeeping and wanting to put something back into the planet. The rest is history.

He’s not the first famous person to take to beekeeping, the art of the apiarist goes back thousands of years. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle studied bees and kept some primitive hives. While a giant of philosophy he wasn’t so hot on bees. He dropped some clangers like bees find their young on flowers, honey falls magically from the air and bees live for 7 years – closer to 7 weeks. Still it was 2000 years ago and he was one of the greatest ever philosophical thinkers.

As well as helping her brother Robert set up the Girl Guide movement, Agnes Baden-Powell was a beekeeper, winning many prizes for the quality of her honey. Conqueror of Everest, the New Zealander Edmund Hillary was also a renowned beekeeper. Working for his father’s beekeeping business allowed Hillary to fund his climbing expeditions. Jointly they had 1200 hives. Deep thinking poet Sylvia Plath was inspired to keep bees by her father Otto (‘Daddy’) who was a leading figure on bumblebees. Her bee poems are also among her best known works.

More up to date we have screen siren Scarlett Johanssen took up beekeeping after Avengers co-star, Samuel L Jackson gave her beehives for a wedding present. Guess that puts the honey in honeymoon (Irish readers, you will know that is quite accurate). Hollywood legend, Henry Fonda was also a beekeeper, with his bees feeding on the lemon trees of his Bel Air estate.

Best known for the Sound of Music, Maria Von Trapp was a keen beekeeper even though she preferred her Ti (a drink) with jam and bread. And, sticking with singing, Madness frontman Suggs was a celebrity beekeeper, but sadly lost his hives. He remains however, a supporter of urban beekeeping. And, he may be have been twisting our melon for nearly 25 years, but Happy Mondays ‘entertainer’, Bez has said he finds it a ‘great, soothing, calming restful thing to do’. While the name may suggest otherwise, Police frontman Sting isn’t a beekeeper, but he is patron of the Bees for Development Trust.

So, it’s actually quite a cool thing to do. Well, when was it ever uncool to help protect the planet we all share?