Denzel Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. The son of Denzel and Lennis Washington, the actor attended Pennington-Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon. His father was a minister; his mother worked as a beautician. Denzel has several times credited the support and comraderie he received and experienced at the city’s Boys’ Club with helping him to stay focused and out of trouble.
Actor Denzel Washington’s Early Years
IMDb also reports that after he graduated from Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida (the same high school that the NBA standout Vince Carter attended and graduated from) in 1971, Denzel Washington enrolled in college at Fordham University. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1977. While at the university, the actor majored in drama, a perfect beginning to a stellar arts and entertainment career.
Washington got his start in the live theatre where he played lead roles in New York City and in San Francisco. Although the actor’s first movie, Carbon Copy and didn’t exactly knock the socks off of critics or movie goers, his star was rising. By the time Denzel Washington appeared on the television screen in the popular series St. Elsewhere in 1982 where he portrayed the character Demetrius Williams, film lovers were starting to take notice of him.
Denzel Washington and Blockbuster Movies
St. Elsewhere ran for six years. It aired during the same time as Bill Cosby’s number one television series, The Cosby Show. Following St. Elsewhere in 1989 Denzel Washington began to act in roles that allowed him to display more passion and address inner and outer conflicts by portraying deeply moving characters like South Africa’s Steve Biko, a real life man Washington portrayed in the movie Cry Freedom. It would not be the last time that Denzel Washington took on the role of a political character. Three years later he portrayed Malcolm X in the self-titled movie that was directed by Spike Lee.
Not yet a decade into his acting career, Denzel Washington won his first Oscar Award in 1989 for his portrayal of a courageous and determined former slave in the major motion picture Glory. Many would forget that this was the actor’s first Oscar because it did not come for Washington’s work as a leading actor. However, Denzel Washington would not, and rightfully so, discredit his work in Glory, a movie about the Civil War.
Sex Symbol Status for Hollywood Actor Denzel Washington
After Denzel Washington appeared in Spike Lee’s Mo Better Blues, a movie about a single-minded jazz musician who struggles to connect emotionally to people the way he does with his trumpet, the actor’s celebrity rose. He became a sex symbol, the target of many women’s fantasies. Yet, Washington remained focused. After all, he had a family and a devoted wife. By the time he appeared in Mo Better Blues he had been married to his wife, Paulette, for seven years.
In 2001 Denzel Washington won his second Oscar Award for his role in Training Day. It was the first time that Washington had played a villain. He completely relinquished the “good guy” image and muddied the waters with his depiction of Alonzo Harris, a crooked seasoned Los Angeles police officer who earned his share of money scaring drug dealers out of their illegal product so he could fatten his own wallet. Washington was hard to like in this role, very hard to like. He played Alonzo like he was the man.
Actor Denzel Washington Moving Forward
Other notable movies that Denzel Washington has appeared in as the leading actor include Remember the Titans, The Hurricane, Philadelphia, American Gangster, He Got Game and The Great Debaters (a movie Denzel acted and directed). In addition to his two Oscar awards, the actor has won two Golden Globe awards for his work in Glory and The Hurricane. Other films, including action thrillers, actor Denzel Washington have appeared in include The Book of Eli, Inside Man (a Spike Lee production), Safe House and The Taking of Pelham 123, a movie Washington starred in alongside the highly talented actor, John Travolta.
As reported in the Chicago Tribune‘s April 26, 2010 “Fences on Broadway, Denzel Washington’s Star Power Hits Fences Out of the Park” article, in 2010 Denzel Washington returned to the live stage, appearing on Broadway in August Wilson’s play “Fences”. Starring alongside the remarkably talented actress, Viola Davis (she also starred in the movie The Help), Washington showcased the breadth of his skill. For his work he earned the highest award offered to a live stage actor – the esteemed Tony Award. Upcoming films actor Denzel Washington is working on include The Malatese Circle (a spy thriller based on writer Robert Ludlum’s book ) and Flight.
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Get Your Copy of Spiral at https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000000841/Spiral.html
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000243/bio (IMDb: Denzel Washington)
http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2010/04/fences-broadway-denzel-washington-review-fences-denzel-august-wilson-review.html (The Chicago Tribune: Fences on Broadway, Denzel Washington’s Star Power Hits Fences Out of the Park)