Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born December 28, 1954 and he is an American actor, director and producer. 

He has been described as an actor who reconfigured “the concept of classic movie stardom”, mostly associating himself with characters defined by his grace, dignity, humanity and inner strength.

Denzel Washington Biography

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born in Mount Vernon, New York , on December 28, 1954. His mother, Lennis “Lynne” who was born Lowe in 1924, was a beauty salon owner and an operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem, New York .

His father, Denzel Hayes Washington Sr. (1909–1991), was originary of Buckingham County, Virginia, an ordained Pentecostal minister and an worker of the New York City Water Department, who was also working at a local S. Klein department store.

When he was 14, his parents divorced, and his mother sent him to the private Oakland Military Academy preparatory school in New Windsor, New York. 

He later said, “That decision changed my life, because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I was dating at the time, my career partners, have now served maybe 40 combined years in the penitentiary.” … They were good guys, but the streets caught up with them.”

After Oakland, he attended Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, from 1970 to 1971. He wanted to attend Texas Tech University: “I was growing up in the Boys Club in Mount Vernon, and we were the Red Raiders.

So when I was in high school, I wanted to go to Texas Tech in Lubbock just because they were called the Red Raiders and their uniforms looked like ours.”

He was earning a bachelor’s degree in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University in 1977.  At Fordham, he played college basketball as a guard under coach PJ Carlesimo.

After a period of indecision about which major to study and taking a semester off, he was  working as the director of creative arts for the overnight summer camp at Camp Sloane YMCA in Lakeville, Connecticut. He was participating in a staff talent show for campers and a colleague suggested that he try acting. 

Returning to Fordham Fall with renewed purpose, he enrolled at the Lincoln Center campus for studio acting, where he was given the title role in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and Shakespeare’s Othello . 

He then attended graduate school at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, where he stayed for a year before returning to New York to begin a professional acting career.

Denzel Washington Career

He was spending the summer of 1976 in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, in a summer stock theater performing Wings of the Morning , the Maryland state play, which was written for him incorporating a character/narrator African-American loosely based on the historical figure from early colonial Maryland, Mathias Da Sousa. 

Shortly after graduating from Fordham, Washington made his screen acting debut in the 1977 made-for-television film Wilma , and his first Hollywood appearance in the film Carbon Copy from 1981 . 

He was sharing a 1982 Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award for playing Private First Class Melvin Peterson in the Off-Broadway Black Ensemble Company production of A Soldier’s Play which opened November 20, 1981. 

A major break in his career came when he played Dr. Phillip Chandler on the NBC television hospital drama St. Elsewhere , which ran from 1982 to 1988.

He was one of the few African-American actors to appear on the series. throughout his series. six-year run. He also appeared in various television, film, and stage roles, including the films A Soldier’s Story (1984), Hard Lessons (1986), and Power (1986). In 1987, he was playing South African anti-apartheid political activist Steven Biko in Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom , for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1989, he won the Academy Award For Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a defiant and self-possessed ex-slave in the film Glory . 

That same year he appeared in the movie The Mighty Quinn ; and in For Queen and Country , where he played the troubled and disillusioned Reuben James, a British soldier who, despite a distinguished military career, returns to a civilian life where racism and inner-city life lead to vigilantism and the violence.

He was appearing in the Disney film Remember the Titans which grossed over $100 million in the US .At the 57th Golden Globe Awards, he was winning the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his work in The Hurricane . He has been  the first black actor to win the award since Sidney Poitier in 1963

He was winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for the 2001 crime thriller Training Day , where he played Detective Alonzo Harris, a corrupt Los Angeles cop. 

He was the second African-American actor to win the category after Sidney Poitier, who received an Honorary Academy Award that same night. 

After appearing in the 2002 blockbuster health-themed John Q. , Washington directed his first film, a well-reviewed drama called Antwone Fisher , in which he also co-starred.

Between 2003 and 2004, he appeared in a series of thrillers that did well at the box office, including Out of Time , Man on Fire , and The Manchurian Candidate . In 2006, he was starring in Inside Man , a bank heist thriller directed by Spike Lee co-starring Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, released in March, and Déjà Vu .

In 2007, he co-starred opposite Russell Crowe for the second time (the first was 1995’s Virtuosity ) in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster .

He was also directing and starred in the drama The Great Debaters with Forest Whitaker. He then appeared in Tony Scott’s 2009 film The Taking of Pelham 123 (a remake of the 1974 thriller of the same name), where he played New York City subway security chief Walter Garber opposite the villain of John Travolta .

Denzel Washington Net Worth 

His Net Worth is $250 Million .

Denzel Washington Private Life

On June 25, 1983, he got married with Pauletta Pearson, whom he met on the set of his first screen job, the television movie Wilma . 

They have four children: John David (born July 28, 1984), also an actor and former football player,  Katia (born November 27, 1986) who graduated from Yale University with a bachelor of arts in 2010 and twins Olivia and Malcolm (born April 10, 1991).

Malcolm graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in film studies, and Olivia played a role in Lee Daniels’s film The Butler . In 1995, him and his wife renewed their wedding vows in South Africa with Desmond Tutu officiating. 

He is a devout Christian, and has considered becoming a preacher. He said in 1999, “Part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach.

Maybe you’re still engaged.'” I had the opportunity to play great men and, through his words, to preach. I take the talent I’ve been given very seriously, and I want to use it for good.” 

In 1995, he donated $ 2.5 million to help build the new West Angeles Church of God in Christ facility in Los Angeles. Washington says he reads the Bible daily. 

He has served as the national spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1993  and he was appearing in public service announcements and awareness campaigns for the organization.

In addition, he has served as a board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1995.  Because of his philanthropic work with the Boys & Girls Club, PS 17X, a New York City elementary school decided officially name their school after Washington.

In mid-2004, he was  visiting the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) at Fort Sam Houston, where he was participating in a Purple Heart ceremony, presenting medals to three Army soldiers recovering from injuries they received while stationed in Iraq.

He also toured the fort’s Fisher House facilities and, after learning that she had exceeded his capacity, made a substantial donation to the Fisher House Foundation.

His other charitable contributions include $ 1 million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in 1995  and $ 1 million to Wiley College to resurrect the university’s debate team. 

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) named Washington as one of three people (the others being directors Oliver Stone and Michael Moore) with whom they were willing to negotiate the release of three defense contractors the group had held captive among 2003 and 2008. 

On May 18, 1991, he was receiving an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Fordham University, for having “impressively succeeded in exploring the limit of his multifaceted talent.”

In 2011, he donated $2 million to Fordham for a drama department endowed chair, as well as $250,000 to establish a drama-specific scholarship at the school.

He also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Morehouse College on May 20, 2007  and an honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania on May 16, 2011.

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