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Denzel Washington - Biography

Denzel Washington is an actor best known for his work on films such as Malcolm X, Glory, Cry Freedom, The Equalizer, Remember the Titans, and more

Denzel Washington attends the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019 in Hollywood, California
8 October 2009
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Denzel Washington Early Life

Denzel Washington was born on December 28, 1954, to Pentecostal minister Denzel Hayes Washington Sr. and his wife Lennis "Lynne," a beauty parlor owner. 

He grew up in Mt. Vernon, a city within Westchester County, New York, however after his parents divorced, his mother sent him to Oakland Military Academy, a private prep school in New Windsor, New York, not far from West Point.

In 1977, he earned a BA in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University, and first dipped his toes in the world of entertainment as a creative arts director for Camp Sloane, a YMCA overnight summer camp in Lakeville, Connecticut.

Denzel Washington Acting Career

Denzel's first time acting came during his time in Fordham, when he was cast in the school's production of Shakespeare's Othello. He made his screen acting debut in 1977, in the made-for-television film Wilma, which was followed by his big break as Dr. Phillip Chandler in the hospital drama St. Elsewhere, which ran from 1982 to 1988 on NBC.

Ten years after his on-screen debut, Denzel was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor after his role as anti-apartheid political activist Stephen Biko in Cry Freedom (1987), and two years later he won the same award for 1989's war drama Glory.

Among Denzel's most critically-acclaimed works is in the titular role of Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992) – for which he received the Best Actor nomination at the Oscars – as well as in Philadelphia the following year, where he portrayed a lawyer defending a gay man with AIDS (Tom Hanks). In 2000, he became the first Black actor to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama since Sydney Poitier did so in 1963, for his portrayal of Rubin Carter in The Hurricane.

Other notable movies starring Denzel include The Equalizer, Remember the Titans, Training Day, American Gangster, The Book of Eli, among others,

Denzel Washington Personal Life

Denzel met his wife Pauletta Pearson in 1977 on the set of his first on-screen work, Wilma, and the two tied the knot on June 25, 1983. In 1995, they renewed their vows with a ceremony in South Africa officiated by the late anti-apartheid and human rights activist Desmond Tutu.

The longtime couple share four kids together: John David, 39, who is also an actor best known for his starring role in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, Katia, 35, a film producer, and twins Olivia and Malcolm, 32; Olivia is an actress, and Malcolm has worked as a director and producer.

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