Denzel Washington biography 2022

Actor Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington biography

Denzel Washington is also admired by the ladies as one of the most handsome men in Hollywood. Denzel was born in Mount Vernon, New York, on December 28, 1954. The middle child of his parents' three children, Washington grew up surrounded by spirited performances and constant storytelling.

His father, Denzel Sr., was a preacher, while his mother, Lennis, was a beautician. Watching his father's passionate performances at church, and listening to his mother gossip and tell stories while she dolled up her clients at the salon, were the perfect ingredients to finally create his passion for drama and performing.

Denzel Washington and his older sister were sent to boarding school when the actor was 14 years old so that he and his sister would not witness the downfall of their parents' failed marriage. He then attended Fordham University and received a B.A. in journalism.

He showed his potential for the dramatic arts when participating in several student productions, most notably his lead role in Othello. Once a university graduate, Washington pursued his studies at the American Conservatory Theater on scholarship to study a different form of storytelling: drama. After only one year of learning, Washington grew antsy and was ready to perfect his acting skills by pursuing his career.

Before hitting it big as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the NBC drama St. Elsewhere, Washington appeared in the made-for-TV movie Wilma and the production of Coriolanus at a Shakespeare Festival. He appeared on the big screen for the first time in the 1981 film Carbon Copy.

During his six years on St. Elsewhere, Washington used his summertime breaks to work on his film career. He starred in 1987's Cry Freedom. His Oscar-winning portrayal of a runaway slave in the 1989 historical drama Glory ensured movie audiences and critics would not ignore the star in the making.

In the '90s, Denzel Washington's name appeared on the credits of many diversified films. He starred in three Spike Lee joints: Mo' Better Blues; Malcolm X (for which his title role garnered an Oscar nomination); and He Got Game.

He showed his star appeal in action films and thrillers such as The Pelican Brief, co-starring Julia Roberts, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire, The Siege, Fallen, and The Bone Collector with Angelina Jolie. He charmed audiences in the romantic film, The Preacher's Wife, opposite Whitney Houston, and revisited Shakespeare in the comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

In more severe roles, Washington equally never disappoints. As the lawyer defending Tom Hanks' HIV-infected character, his role in the critically acclaimed drama Philadelphia won rave reviews.

At the same time, his 1999 portrayal of wrongfully accused champion boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in The Hurricane earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and an Oscar nomination in the same category.

The role also gave him a new six-pack after training for 1½ years with a boxing trainer.

After a role as Herman Boone in the 2000s Remember the Titans, Washington starred in the title role in John Q. His performance in Training Day garnered him the Best Actor Oscar in 2002, making him the first African-American actor to receive the honor in 40 years since Sidney Poitier.

A spokesman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Washington supports charities such as The Gathering Place (a home for those infected by HIV), the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and his church.

As if being named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World several times and one of Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in film history weren't enough proof of his looks, Newsweek used him in an article about the scientific explanation of "beauty."

Washington lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 17 years, Pauletta Pearson, and their four children, John David, Katia, and twins Malcolm and Olivia. Denzel made his directorial debut in the 2002 film The Antwone Fisher Story (a.k.a Finding Fish.)


last updated October 2022

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