Denzel Washington was born in December 28,1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was the middle child of the 3 children of a Pentecostal minister father and a beautician mother. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University intent on a career in journalism. However, he caught the acting bug while appearing in student drama productions and, upon graduation, he moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater. He left A.C.T. after only one year to seek work as an actor. With his acting versatility and powerful sexual presence, he had no difficulty finding work in numerous television productions. He made his first big screen appearance in Carbon Copy (1981) with George Segal. Through the 1980s, he worked in both movies and television and was chosen for the plum role of "Dr. Chandler" in NBC's hit medical series "St. Elsewhere" (1982), a role that he would play for 6 years. In 1989, his film career began to take precedence when he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of "Tripp", the runaway slave in Edward Zwick's powerful historical masterpiece Glory (1989).
Through the 1990s, Denzel co-starred in such big budget productions as The Pelican Brief (1993); Philadelphia (1993); Crimson Tide (1995); The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Courage Under Fire (1996) - a role for which he was paid $10 million. His work in critically-acclaimed films continued simultaneously, with roles in Malcolm X (1992) and The Hurricane (1999) garnering him Oscar nominations for Best Actor, before he finally won that statuette in 2002 for his lead role in Training Day (2001). He continued to define his onscreen persona as the tough, no-nonsense hero through the 2000s in films like Inside Man (2006), The Book of Eli (2010), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) and Safe House (2012).
Cerebral and meticulous in his film work, he made his debut as a director in 2002 with Antwone Fisher (2002); he also directed The Great Debaters (2007) in 2007. During this same time period, he also took on the role of producer for such films as The Book of Eli (2010) and Safe House (2012).
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Pauletta Washington, and their 4 children.
|Pauletta Washington||(25 June 1983 - present) 4 children|
Often portrays real people: Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in The Hurricane (1999), Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992), Herman Boone in Remember the Titans (2000), Frank Lucas in American Gangster (2007), Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987) and Melvin Tolson in The Great Debaters (2007).
Frequently plays military men and law enforcement officers
In almost all the films - e.g. Man on Fire (2004), American Gangster (2007), John Q (2002) - where he handles or uses sidearms (usually a 9mm Beretta or similar pistols), there's a scene of him swiftly ejecting a bullet from the loaded chamber by pulling back the slide assembly and subsequently catching the bullet before it falls to the ground.
Fiery anger driven tirades
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#77). 
Has 4 children, John David Washington (born July 28, 1984), Katia Washington (born November 27, 1987), and twins Malcolm Washington and Olivia Washington (born April 10, 1991), with Pauletta Washington.
Son, Malcolm, was named in honor of Malcolm X.
Attended Fordham University, receiving a B.A. in Journalism.
1996 Harvard Foundation Award
In a Newsweek cover story about the biological basis of the perception of beauty, he was used as a key example in a scientific explanation why he is considered an extremely handsome man.
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world 
According to a 1995 Premiere magazine article, Denzel confronted director Quentin Tarantino when he visited the set of Crimson Tide (1995). Quentin had done an uncredited rewrite of the script. Denzel lambasted Tarantino about his use of racial slurs in his films. Tarantino got embarrassed and wanted to move the conversation to a more private area. Denzel said, "No, if we're going to discuss it, let's discuss it now." Denzel later said he still felt that Quentin was "a fine artist".
Denzel is named after his father who was in turn named after the doctor, Doctor Denzel, who had delivered him.
In the early 1980s, years before he portrayed Malcolm X in the Spike Lee film Malcolm X (1992), Washington portrayed Malcolm in the off-Broadway production of "When the Chickens Came Home to Roost", at the Henry Street Theatre in NYC.
Frequent collaborator of Spike Lee.
Named one of E!'s "top 20 entertainers of 2001."
Supports charities such as the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and the Gathering Place (an AIDS hospice).
Met his wife Pauletta Washington in 1977 when both had small roles in the TV-movie Wilma (1977) (TV) (she was billed as Pauletta Pearson), the story of runner Wilma Rudolph. They wed five years later.
His father was a Pentecostal minister; his mother a beautician and former gospel singer. They divorced when he was 14.
Is a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, having been a member of the Boys Club once himself.
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
Ranked #28 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #40 in 2002.
Often works with director Edward Zwick.
Cousin is newsman Ukee Washington, who co-anchors the news on the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia.
Was awarded the title of "Police Chief for a Day" when he was a member of The Boys and Girls Club of America as a child. The photo was shown during his latest appearance on "Live with Kelly and Michael" (1988).
He was at his mother's beauty parlor, when a woman getting her hair done saw him and told someone to get her a piece of paper and she wrote at the top "Prophecy" and then wrote that Denzel would grow up and one day speak to millions. Denzel kept the bit of paper in his wallet. The woman was known as a prophetess in their church and community.
First studied Biology in hopes of becoming a doctor, then switched to Political Science then to a Journalism/Drama major in college.
Has worn some kind of military uniform in at least six of his films.
Ranked #59 on VH1's 100 Hottest Hotties
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #39 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Chosen as People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive 
First African-American actor to receive two Academy Awards
Has played two soldiers who have suffered traumatic, life-changing experiences while fighting in the 1991 Persian Gulf War: Lt. Col. Nathaniel Serling in Courage Under Fire (1996) and Maj. Ben Marco in The Manchurian Candidate (2004).
Though his first theatrical film was a comedy (Carbon Copy (1981)), he has only done three more since. Has mentioned that he's always wanted to do a great one.
He and his family visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BAMC). There are some buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled most of the time. He was given a tour of one of the Fisher Houses and subsequent to his visit sent them one of the largest donations they've ever received.
Is the second of three children.
As of 2006, he is the most Oscar-winning (two) and most nominated (five) black actor/actress in Academy history.
Son John David Washington recently signed as a running back with the St. Louis Rams (May 2006).
Has worked with both Ridley Scott and Tony Scott. Ridley directed him in American Gangster (2007). He has worked with Ridley's brother, Tony, on five films, which are: Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) and Unstoppable (2010).
Turned down the role of Detective David Mills in Se7en (1995).
Turned down the role of Cinque in Amistad (1997).
His daughter, Katia Washington, currently attends Yale University.
Good friends with actress Julia Roberts.
Voted as America's Favorite Movie Star in the 2006 and 2007 Harris Polls.
At one point, was to star as Dr. Alex Cross in Kiss the Girls (1997), had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
He was presented with the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia on May 20, 2007.
Son of Lennis Washington, a beautician and former Gospel singer.
Almost every summer he and his family go to Italy on vacation.
For Courage Under Fire (1996), he trained at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California, where he qualified on the M1A1 tank and the 120mm gun, participated in battle games and listened to audiotapes of tank battles in Desert Storm.
He spent months on the beat with Washington Post reporters to prepare for The Pelican Brief (1993).
December 2007 - According to Forbes, for each dollar he got paid, his movies averaged $10 of gross income.
In 2006, he donated $1 million to Save Africa's Children.
When Washington won the Best Actor Oscar for Training Day (2001), Halle Berry won the Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball (2001), and Sidney Poitier won the Honorary award (2001), 2002 marked the first time in Academy Awards history that 3 African-Americans so dominated the Oscar ceremonies. 
He is a big fan of the TV show "Monk" (2002). He requested Ted Levine to play a part in American Gangster (2007) because he was a fan of the series. He also worked with Tony Shalhoub in The Siege (1998).
Was the original choice to play the title character in Blade (1998).
Was considered for the part of Det. Ricardo Tubbs on "Miami Vice" (1984).
Broke the pinky finger of his right hand during a childhood basketball accident and never had it set correctly, resulting in the finger healing in a crooked position. The finger is still crooked to this day, bent at the bottom knuckle a full 45 degrees outward from his other fingers.
Attended the star-studded opening of Dubai's lavish Atlantis Palms resort. Guests were welcomed in style with a display of one million fireworks, said to be visible from space. [November 11, 2008]
Brother-in-law of actress Rita Pearson.
Performed all of his own stunts for the hand to hand fight sequences in the post-apocalyptic action film The Book of Eli (2010).
Lives in Los Angeles, California.
Likes to point out the difference between his father's and his first name: Denzel. Though both are spelled the same, his dad's name is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable - DEN-zel, whereas the actor's name is pronounced - den-ZEL.
Won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for "Fences".
(In 1998) "Acting's like someone asking you for years to write the characters, but they write the book."
I'm very proud to be black, but black is not all I am. That's my cultural historical background, my genetic makeup, but it's not all of who I am nor is it the basis from which I answer every question.
[on where he likes to keep his Oscars] "Next to each other."
I have a friend who says 'the first 50 was for them, this 50's for me'. I like that. The weirdest part of it, or even the saddest part, is that you start to see people die. You go 'Man! He wasn't even that old'. I lost a friend recently who died of a heart attack. He was 58. When I was 20, 58 was old. It ain't now. - on approaching 50.
That ain't fair, really. Michelle Pfeiffer hasn't been finding a lot of work recently because she doesn't like what a woman her age is offered. That's a real double standard. You get Sean Connery, who gets older and older, still playing opposite young ladies, but it doesn't work the other way around. - on working with young female co-stars.
I have to try and find a way to remain positive because those days are boring to me, really, just hanging off the side of a building, fighting or grunting. - on shooting action scenes.
People say, 'Congratulations, you finally got the Oscar', and I have to correct them: 'Actually, it's my second one. I won for Glory (1989) in 1989.' Some people say, 'Yeah, but that was for a supporting actor role' but for me, it's the same thing.
Probably Shakespeare. I did Othello in college, and Richard III, and those are the two roles I'd like to revisit. Movies? There's a couple I wish I hadn't done. I won't say which ones, but there are a couple of mistakes there. - on what roles he'd like to redo.
I was a mess. I don't know if I ate bad food or if it was too much tension, but I got sick. There was a huge traffic jam, and I remember saying 'Look, it took me all this time to get here - I'm showing up in a limousine and I don't care how late I am.' By the time I got there, there was no red carpet. Everyone was inside because the show had already started. - on being late for the 1987 Oscars.
"I root for the Knicks. I root for the Yankees." (when asked which does he call home, L.A. or New York).
"The only way I'm going to L.A. is with a job." (when asked what prompted him to go to Hollywood).
I remain thankful for the gifts that I've been given and I try to use them in a good way, in a positive way.
Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life.
For the movie Glory (1989), before going out to shoot the whipping scene, I'm backstage in a room, and I'm thinking, how am I gonna do this scene? All I did - you know people ask me, how did you prepare? - I say, I prayed. And I got on my knees and they were waiting for me, and I prayed. And then I prayed to all the spirits. I said, "Look fellas, ladies" and I'm talking about those who have been, and I said, "Look I don't know, I'm just rolling with you all. Just whatever happens, I'm going. And I said are you with me? Come on!" I'm serious! And I went out there and what hit me was, I'm in charge. Never put my head down. This isn't the first time this has happened to me, the character - and ,in fact, I had the guy build all the scars to put on my back - and I went out there with an attitude that I'm going to take this and not fold. But it hurt. And the tear was actually real. You know, you just allow it and you're thankful for it. It's not technical. It's not science. It's spirit.
"I just didn't see myself in Amistad (1997). I ain't putting no chains around my neck. I'm not in the mood right now, too edgy. It just wasn't for me. I'm not having it. I'm like, 'Yeah, that's what happened then, but how about me cutting everybody's head off and end the movie there?'" (on refusing the role in Amistad (1997))
(on making movies) It's simple: You get a part. You play a part. You play it well. You do your work and you go home. And what is wonderful about movies is that once they're done, they belong to the people. Once you make it, it's what they see. That's where my head is at.
(1998 quote on his career) With four children I have to maximize the work I do now financially. It's like I have to do one film for financial reasons, as opposed to when I was single, or before we had all of these children. I find that I'm not as good at not working as I thought I would be. I get itchy. My wife also says I'm only good for about three weeks of downtime. But I'm learning a decent pace now. I try to take four or five months off between jobs.
(1998 quote on his long-standing marriage) She puts up with me. I think, also, in a way the traveling helps. We're able to travel together and also be apart sometimes. Not everybody gets to live like that. Twenty years now. It's like you start to pat yourself on the back when you look around you and you see that very few people have 20 years into a marriage.
(on what he enjoys about making films) The magic. There's fun creating that magic. Bringing something to life, whatever. Putting together a character. The twists and the turns that people don't expect. So to sit around and talk about it before someone sees it is boring. I think there should be some mystery in it. Who wants to know everything about it? I think it ruins movies when you know everything about how the movie was made and put together. If you explain, it's like showing you the trick before I show you the magic. Let me explain to you how it works. All right, now come see the show. It's supposed to be magic. And being an actor is about creating that magic.
(on what inspires him as an actor) I like to go to new places. To specify, it is to say that I like not knowing. I like knowing when I get there. I know when it starts coming around and it raises the hair or it doesn't. I was trained in the theater. So it was instilled in me as a young performer to take chances and not to worry about all that, because failure is a part of growth. If you're gonna fail, fail big and take chances. So I've done that, or I've tried to do that.
(1998 quote on his career) In any craft or artistic endeavor you want to do different things. You want to go to different places, you want to find different ways to go about it. You may have your constants, but you're looking to go into new territories, new angles, new challenges. So that's how it is for me as an actor. I couldn't play the same guy eight times and I don't have to. I think I've said all of my career, I'm not a celebrity. I'm not a movie star. I'm just an actor who is more popular right now. I don't even know what a movie star is. And one of the reasons why I keep on going back to make movies that don't have such huge budgets is that it's not as much pressure. You feel like you can take more chances.
(on having to do publicity) I'm an actor, so that's the bottom line. I'm not a marketing whatever. My strength does not lie in marketing a product called 'Denzel.' That's not what I do. My strength lies in playing a part and hopefully entertaining and affecting people on some level. Now I'm not being naive. I know that marketing comes into play when you're spending 50 or 60 million dollars of other people's money to make a film. You have to be involved in marketing that product. But the publicity gets to be boring. How many times can I tell the same story? I understand the importance of doing publicity for a film, so I'm willing to do that, but I don't want to sit around talking about myself. That's not a great day for me. That's not my idea of fun.
The acting coach Stanislavsky talks about cutting 90 percent. So you do research, research, research, then you drop it and listen when you're in the scene and know who you are. You never know how it's gonna come around. That's why you go out there and find out. It's because you need the human beings that hook you into the character. Maybe I'm not as imaginative as the average actor. I need some kind of a hook sometimes.
Man gives you the award but God gives you the reward.
[on the 2002 Academy Awards and his win] - I didn't want to go to the Oscars. After "Hurricane," I was like, 'I don't feel like dealing with these people. I'm just not going to go.' In order to protect yourself, you almost have to not care. So that night I didn't care -- and, of course, they go, 'Here.'
[on The Book of Eli (2010)] - We shot in New Mexico, and the environment definitely helped. It was bleak. It got chilly and windy. The wind was the biggest deal. You'd have to wash the sand out of your nose and eyes. The world that the movie takes place in, the opportunity to do all this "Blade" kind of martial-arts stuff, working with the Hughes brothers -- it was an interesting combination of things.
[on Training Day (2001)] - My son talked me into doing that movie. He was like, 'Dad, you've never done anything like this'. I just hadn't been asked before. The only film that was sort of dark that I'd turned down was _Se7en (2000)_. They offered me the Brad Pitt part, but I was like, 'This is so dark and evil'. Then when I saw the movie, I was like, 'Oh, shoot'.
[on the supposed factual inaccuracies of The Hurricane (1999)] - I heard that. We'll never know, will we? The film was touchy because people were murdered and a lot of people felt that Rubin did it. So you're opening old wounds. Malcolm X (1992) was more dangerous, but The Hurricane (1999) might have been more controversial.
[on Philadelphia (1993)] - [Director] Jonathan Demme said to me, 'Look, we don't want your character to go 360 degrees. It's not like by the end of the movie he's leading a gay and lesbian parade'. If we'd done that, it would have let people like this character off the hook. But at the end, he touches [Tom Hanks' character] -- and that's huge for him. [Pauses, then laughs] I used to mess with Tom. He was barely eating at all, and I would put out, like, 200 Almond Joys in his drawer to give him a hard time. I'd pretend to sneeze and all these Snickers would fall on the ground. I'm sure he laughed all the way up to the podium when he won the Oscar.
[on the whipping scene in Glory (1989)] - I remember walking around before that scene, just praying and calling on the spirits of all the slaves, because I didn't know how to play it. I was like, 'Okay, fellas, just tell me what to do'. And I went out there with an arrogance. I spit on the ground. I had this attitude and this strength -- it all came out of this meditation. It wasn't calculated. It was organic. That whip actually hurt, but I was like, 'Don't let him win'.
(1995 quote) It was never my dream to be famous. I didn't start acting to be a movie star. I started in the theater and my desire was to get better at my craft. It's still my desire. I don't consider myself a movie star, nor do I really have the desire to be one. I'm just an entertainer. An actor who works hard at his craft. Whatever labels people give me, that's not really me or part of my process. Come and talk with me again on my 50th birthday and I may feel differently, but right now, I'm just taking the lesson from one of my old teachers who said, 'Don't be afraid to fail big'.
(1995 quote) This 'famous' stuff, I guess you can get caught up in it. You can even get caught up in fighting it, pretending it doesn't exist. But it already alters who you are, just in the fact that you're trying to deny it. I just turned 40 and my wife and I had a quiet getaway. I didn't want a big party or anything. I just wanted to reflect on what I've done with the first 40 years and what I want to do now. I think I'm just starting to figure out how to do it, you know, how to simplify things in life. Around my birthday, I was listening to this motivational speaker, Les Brown, who made this analogy about ghosts around his bed. He was saying when you die, imagine you had these ghosts around your bed that represent your unfulfilled potential. Things that should have been done, should have been experienced. How many ghosts are going to be around your bed when your time comes? People can say about me or anyone, 'Oh, you're great at this,' but you have to look at yourself and say, 'How do I feel about what I've done?' That's all that matters.
Long ago I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me, spiritually and financially.
Tony Scott was a great director, a genuine friend, and it is unfathomable to think that he is now gone. He had a tremendous passion for life and for the art of filmmaking, and was able to share this passion with all of us through his cinematic brilliance.
[on 'Flight'] If it ain't on the page it ain't on the stage. I read tons of scripts, and I know it's very rare, but this is like a Eugene O'Neil play - the tears are on the page.
|Courage Under Fire (1996)||$10,000,000|
|The Siege (1998)||$12,000,000|
|The Hurricane (1999)||$10,000,000|
|Training Day (2001)||$12,000,000|
|Out of Time (2003/I)||$20,000,000|
|Man on Fire (2004)||$20,000,000|
|American Gangster (2007)||$40,000,000|
(August 2004) Bought the film rights to the Sammy Davis Jr. biography, Sammy in Black and White.
(March 2005) Appearing as 'Marcus Brutus' in Julius Caesar on Broadway.
(1997) Release of the book, "Denzel Washington" by Alex Simmons.
(1999) Release of the book, "Denzel Washington" by Anne E. Hill.
(2003) Release of the book, "Denzel Washington: Academy Award-winning Actor" by Sara McIntosh Wooten.
(2006) Release of his book, "A Hand to Guide Me" by Denzel with Daniel Paisiner.
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