Denzel Washington

Biography

Denzel Washington Jr. (born 28.12.1954)

Denzel Washington is an American actor and film director. He rose to fame in the 1990s and his career has been notable for his credible performances of real life people, including Malcolm X and Steve Biko.

Denzel Washington: Childhood

Born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, Denzel Washington was raised by his mother, Lennis - the owner of a beauty parlour - and Reverend Denzel Washington Sr. His father was a Pentecostal minister who also worked in a department store and for the Water Department, part time.

Denzel Washington studied at a grammar school named Pennington Grimes Elementary School. Aged 14, Denzel Jr. was sent to Oakland Military Academy in New Windsor. He later attended Mainland High School in Florida. When he graduated from high school, Denzel studied for a BA in Drama at Fordham University. He landed major roles in productions of Othello and The Emperor Jones Whilst at university, he played basketball, coached by PJ Carlesimo.

At one point, Denzel quit university for a semester and worked as a counselor at Camp Sloane YMCA.

When he graduated from Fordham, Denzel Washington won a scholarship to study at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. After a year there, he left for New York, to pursue a career in acting.

Denzel Washington: Acting Career

Denzel Washington's professional acting debut came in 1977, in the TV movie Wilma. In 1981, he made his film debut, with Carbon Copy.

Washington's lucky break came when he landed a role in St. Elsewhere, a drama that ran from 1982 to 1988.

In 1987, Denzel Washington took on what would be the first of many film roles in which he portrayed a historical, or real life person. The first of these roles was his portrayal of Steve Biko, the South African Anti-Apartheid activist, in Cry Freedom. The film was directed by Richard Attenborough and also starred Kevin Kline and John Thaw. Washington was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

Two years later, Washington starred as a former slave in Glory. This time, the Best Supporting Actor Oscar had Denzel Washington's name on it. Glory also featured Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman. Later on in 1989, Denzel Washington also starred in For Queen and Country, opposite Bruce Payne.

1990 saw Denzel Washington appearing as Bleek Gilliam in Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues, alongside Wesley Snipes and Samuel L Jackson.

In 1992, Washington undertook one of his most highly revered roles, when he played Malcolm X in Spike Lee's film of the same name. He earned himself another Oscar nomination for his performance, as well as praise from the acclaimed director Martin Scorsese and the respected movie critic Roger Ebert. Malcolm X also stars.

The following year, Denzel Washington took on another challenging film role, playing a homophobic lawyer in Philadelphia, opposite Tom Hanks.

The rest of the decade continued to be fruitful for Denzel Washington. He landed a number of high profile film roles, including the lead in The Pelican Brief, an adaptation of a John Grisham novel starring Julia Roberts.

He later played the lead in Crimson Tide, with Gene Hackman. Taking a break from serious thrillers, Washington then played the role of Don Pedro of Aaragon in a modern adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. The film also starred Kenneth Branagh, Keanu Reeves and Emma Thompson.

In 1996, Denzel Washington starred in the romantic drama The Preacher's Wife, opposite Whitney Houston.

In 1995, Washington was the cause of some controversy when he refused to be filmed kissing his co-star, Kelly Lynch. He felt that the target audience of black males would not want to see him kissing a white female. A few years later, though, Denzel Washington and Milla Jovovich featured in a sexual scene together in the Spike Lee-directed He's Got Game.

In 1999, Denzel Washington portrayed the former boxer and falsely convicted murderer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter in the film Hurricane.

Denzel Washington then earned his next Oscar for his role in Training Day, which also starred Ethan Hawke. He was only the second African American to win a Best Actor Oscar, after Sidney Poitier.

Washington made his directorial debut in Antwone Fisher. He also appeared in the film.

In 2003, Washington returned to starring in a string of thrillers, including The Manchurian Candidate and Out Of Time.

In 2006, he worked once again with Spike Lee, in Inside Man, alongside Jodie Foster and Clive Owen. He then starred in Déjà Vu, opposite Val Kilmer. The following year, he took on one of his best-known roles, co-starring with Russell Crowe in American Gangster. The film was directed by Ridley Scott.

Another directorial job came with The Great Debaters, in which he co-starred with Forest Whitaker. He followed this with an appearance in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 opposite John Travolta.

Personal Life

Denzel Washington married Pauletta Pearson in 1983. They have four children together.

Read More

Toronto Film Festival Unveils Line-Up

23rd July 2014 -

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David Cronenberg's new film Maps to the Stars which stunned critics at Cannes and features Julianne Moore and Robert Pattinson will screen alongside another Cannes favourite, crime drama Foxcatcher which sees Despicable Me actor Steve...

A Week In Movies: The Fault In Our Stars Hits London, Transformers Bows In Hong Kong, New Trailers For Washington, Daniels, Carrey And More

20th June 2014 -

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Fans lined the streets outside London's May Fair Hotel to glimpse the cast of the teen hit The Fault in Our Stars as they attended a special gala screening in advance of the film's opening...

'The Equalizer': Denzel Washington Avenges Crime In Brutal New Thriller

17th June 2014 -

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The trailer has just been released for the upcoming revenge thriller, The Equalizer, which stars Denzel Washington alongside Chloe Grace Moretz. Set for release in September, the movie promises to be a cathartic and dynamic...

The Equalizer

17th June 2014 -

 Video

Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs for a peaceful life on his own to live out the rest of his days. He is a retired black...

Could Denzel Washington Be Back in the Oscars Hunt With 'The Equalizer'?

3rd June 2014 -

 News

We love seeing Denzel Washington getting his bad ass action star routine on and it looks like The Equalizer is going to give us just that opportunity. Based on the television series which ran between...

A Week In Movies: Awards Season Gathers Pace, Superhero Movie Rumours Abound, Expendables 3 Drops A Teaser

3rd January 2014 -

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Things always go quiet in the film industry over the holidays as everyone takes one last break before the full onslaught of awards season campaigning. Nominations for both Oscars and Baftas come in the next...

Mark Wahlberg Has The Thirst For Knowledge After Gaining Diploma

18th September 2013 -

 News

For Marky Mark Wahlberg, growing up wasn’t exactly the drama-school adventure a lot of today’s Oscar hopefuls were lucky enough to enjoy. No, he dropped out in the ninth grade, and not because he wasn’t...

2 Guns

15th August 2013 -

 Movie Review

What looks like a rather standard buddy action comedy is elevated by a smarter-than-normal script, skilful direction and surprisingly offhanded chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg. In addition to the usual action chaos, the film lets...

Denzel Washington Narrates PBS Civil Rights Documentary 'The March'

7th August 2013 -

 News

Denzel Washington is the narrator of a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary on the US Civil Rights movement. The documentary, The March, will focus on the 1963 March on Washington which saw Martin Luther King...

Weekend Box Office - '2 Guns' Is 2 Powerful For Competition

5th August 2013 -

 News

As predicted, the big names of Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg were enough to draw in the crowds as 2 Guns took the weekend box office crown. A total of $27m changed hands so...

Mark Wahlberg's '2 Guns' Shoots Up 'Wolverine' At The Box-Office

5th August 2013 -

 News

The Mark Wahlberg vehicle 2 Guns - co-starring Denzel Washington - topped the US box office over the weekend with estimated takings of $24.4 million. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the...

'2 Guns' Shoots Straight To No. 1 In Box Office After Strong Opening Weekend

5th August 2013 -

 News

The battle for the number one spot at the box office wasn't quite so one sided as it was last week, but like last week, our number one this time around was a clear victor,...

US Weekend Box Office: '2 Guns' Shoots Past 'The Smurfs 2' To No.1

5th August 2013 -

 News

2 Guns shoots to the top of the US Weekend Box Office grossing, on its opening weekend, over $27 million.Denzel Washington at the premiere of 2 Guns at the SVA Theatre, New York.2 Guns stars...

Reviews For "2 Guns" Much Like The Film Itself, Are Violent

2nd August 2013 -

 News

With a cast boasting Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in the main roles, there’s little a movie like 2 Guns could do to mess it up. And yet this brass tax action flick apparently didn’t...

A Week In Movies: Red carpets for 2 Guns and Lovelace, new glimpses of Walter Mitty, the Millers and Bad Grandpa

2nd August 2013 -

 News

The stars turned out this week for the world premiere of 2 Guns, the new action movie that teams up Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Both actors were on the red carpet in New York...

'2 Guns'? 2 Positive Reviews Would Be Nice, Critics Weigh In On Washington and Wahlberg

2nd August 2013 -

 News

Perhaps there’s a reason Denzel Washington doesn’t do comedy films. He’s established himself as one of the finest dramatic actors of a generation, played our favorite maverick cops, unlikely heroes and even thrown in a...

Mark Wahlberg And Denzel Washington Joke Around In '2 Guns' Interview

2nd August 2013 -

 Footage

Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington are interviewed about their new action comedy flick '2 Guns' in which they star as two double-crossed, undercover cops. They talk about the characters' relationship and why is makes such...

It's Back To Broadway for Denzel Washington In 'A Raisin In The Sun'

2nd August 2013 -

 News

Like many accomplished actors, Denzel Washington found the stage to be his biggest and most rewarding challenge, so it’s no surprise that he’s heading back to Broadway in the spring for a revival of Lorraine...

Nobody Knows If Wahlberg, Washington's '2 Guns' Is Great, or Terrible [Trailer]

1st August 2013 -

 News

Two crooked undercover cops partner up, unknowingly leading investigations on the other. Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington's latest movie 2 Guns has been made at least 20 times in the past. And if it hasn't,...

'2 Guns' Failures To Fire Up Critics In Early Reviews

1st August 2013 -

 News

2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, is due to be released on US cinemas on 2nd August. The film sees a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer forced to run following their...

Mark Wahlberg And Denzel Washington Spotted At '2 Guns' World Premiere - Part 1

31st July 2013 -

 Footage

The stars of crime comedy '2 Guns' including 'Ted' actor Mark Wahlberg and 'The Book of Eli' actor Denzel Washington attend the world premiere of the movie at the SVA Theatre in New York City....

Bill Paxton And James Marsden Arrive At The Premiere Of '2 Guns' - Part 2

31st July 2013 -

 Footage

'Big Love' star Bill Paxton and James Marsden from 'X-Men' were among arrivals at their world premiere of the movie '2 Guns' at the SVA Theatre, New York.They star alongside 'Ted' star Mark Wahlberg and...

Robert Downey Jr Tops Forbes List: What Do You Get For $75 Million?

17th July 2013 -

 News

Robert Downey has obliterated the field in Forbes' annual list of the highest paid actors in the world, earning $75 million in just 12 months thanks to super-hits The Avengers and Iron Man 3.Robert Downey...

Meet Robert Downey Jr, Forbes' Highest Paid Actor In The World

17th July 2013 -

 News

Robert Downey Jr, the star of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 - two of the biggest grossing movies in history, has been named Forbes' highest paid actor on the planet with annual estimated earnings...

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg Team Up In '2 Guns' (Trailer)

3rd April 2013 -

 News

Ok, so Denzel Washington's push for Oscar glory with 'Flight' didn't quite work out, but he's dusted himself down and got back in the saddle for '2 Guns' - a fairly standard though entertaining looking...

2 Guns

3rd April 2013 -

 Video

Marcus Stigman and Bobby Trench have, for the last year, been working together as part of a drug organisation; however, neither knows the other's true identity as they have both been sent out undercover as...

Seth MacFarlane at the Oscars: How Denzel Washington Will Help Him Cope

19th February 2013 -

 News

Hosting the Oscars is one of the biggest hosting jobs a person can do in their lifetime, unless you hosted the royal wedding, or... well, that's pretty much the only thing bigger than the Oscars....

Good Genes Or Good Ops: Which Male Celebrities Don't Show Their Age?

8th February 2013 -

 News

We've all had that moment; looking at photos of our favourite celebs and then jumping out of our seats screaming, 'He's HOW old?!' Well, we've been doing a lot of that here at ContactMusic. Some...

'Flight' Expected To Take Off At UK Box Office This Weekend

1st February 2013 -

 News

Oscar hopeful Flight has it's long-awaited box office unveiling today (Feb 1) in the UK and if critical reception and US box office takings is enough to go by then Paramount shouldn't have too much...

Flight

1st February 2013 -

 Movie Review

With another deeply committed performance, Washington brings badly needed complexity to what is otherwise a contrived, overstated drama about addiction. It helps that the film is directed by Zemeckis as a kind of companion piece...

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Comments

babbs's picture

babbs

Everybody knows me no I lov me some(him)Denzell). He's not just my American Idol but others love Denzell and I say sooooooooo what on that gossip, let'em talk, folk will always talk, they are jealous, mean spirited folk out here in this world, that's just how people are, when it comes to good people doing right like Denzell and his wife, them sad folk cannot not touch Denzell and his wife that's why they start rumors. D and Pauletta is still simling all the way to the bank.

8 years 1 week ago
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zollyann's picture

zollyann

hi my comment on denzel washington is a great artist he have a wonderful voice an my best part i cant wait to see the movie flight with the hero denzel washington peace love mona.

2 years 4 weeks ago
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satferguson's picture

satferguson

I would like to write Mr. Washington about his interest in the youth. I live in Soth Carolina and I have started an outreach geared to the youth of tomorrow. We seem to share the same passion and there are a couple of comments, ideas, etc. that I would like to share with him.

5 years 11 months ago
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zollyann's picture

zollyann

hi denzel washington u is my no 1 best guy .may god bless u an your whole families. peace from ramona

2 years 5 months ago
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leyla-istanbul's picture

leyla-istanbul

Hi Denzel, You have to be the President of America. Please come to İstanbul,Türkiye , it will be a honour to meet you. You are an idol ın each matter on my opınıon. Respectfully yours Leyla.

6 years 8 months ago
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lynn young's picture

lynn young

Denzel you are still my No. 1 guy. God bless you and your family.from your spirtual sisterLynn

5 years 2 months ago
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Chilailli's picture

Chilailli

I love Denzel, Pauletta and their children dearly. They are a special family and I always remember them in my daily prayers. Bless them Lord and keep them safe.

7 years 12 months ago
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bronxmom's picture

bronxmom

I love Denzel 's movies. He knows how to act and did it on his own.

8 years 4 months ago
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