Denzel Washington

Actor, Producer, Director
After winning Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his performance in the Civil War epic "Glory" (1989), Denzel Washington tackled one challenging role after another on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in ... Read more »
Born: 12/27/1954 in Mount Vernon, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (131)

Dateline NBC 2006 - 2007, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

On the Record With Bob Costas 2003 - 2004, 2006 - 2007, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Graham Norton Show 2003 - 2004, 2006 - 2007, 2012 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Guest

Jimmy Kimmel Live 2014 (Tv Show)

Guest

The Equalizer 2014 (Movie)

Robert McCall (Actor)

The Late Show With David Letterman 2008 - 2010, 2012, 2014 (Tv Show)

Guest

2 Guns 2013 (Movie)

Robert "Bobby" Trench (Actor)

Champs 2013 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Flight 2012 (Movie)

Whip Whitaker (Actor)

Safe House 2012 (Movie)

Tobin Frost (Actor)

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Stand Up to Cancer 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Actor

The 64th Annual Tony Awards 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Actor

The Book of Eli 2010 (Movie)

Eli (Actor)

The Jay Leno Show 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Unstoppable 2010 (Movie)

Frank Barnes (Actor)

2009 MTV Movie Awards 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 31st Annual Kennedy Center Honors 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

The Taking of Pelham 123 2009 (Movie)

Walter Garber (Actor)

Dateline NBC: Going for Gold 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Julia Roberts: American Cinematheque Tribute 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

The 39th Annual NAACP Image Awards 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

The 80th Annual Academy Awards 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

American Gangster 2007 (Movie)

Frank Lucas (Actor)

The Great Debaters 2007 (Movie)

Melvin B Tolson (Actor)

Deja Vu 2006 (Movie)

Doug Carlin (Actor)

Inside Man 2006 (Movie)

Detective Keith Frazier (Actor)

The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

BET AWARDS 2005 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Apollo at 70: A Hot Night in Harlem 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Man on Fire 2004 (Movie)

Creasy (Actor)

Moving Image Salutes Richard Gere 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Oscar Countdown 2003 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

The 2004 ESPY Awards 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

The Manchurian Candidate 2004 (Movie)

Ben Marco (Actor)

Out of Time 2003 (Movie)

Matt Lee Whitlock (Actor)

The 34th NAACP Image Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

The 75th Annual Academy Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Antwone Fisher 2002 (Movie)

Dr Jerome Davenport (Actor)

John Q. 2002 (Movie)

John Quincy Archibald (Actor)

The 74th Annual Academy Awards 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

The 2001 Essence Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Training Day 2001 (Movie)

Alonzo Harris (Actor)

Twice Born 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Voice

Remember the Titans 2000 (Movie)

Coach Boone (Actor)

The 31st Annual NAACP Image Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The 6th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The BET 20th Anniversary Celebration 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

True Life: I Am Driving While Black 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

John Henry 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Narrator

The 71st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bone Collector 1999 (Movie)

Lincoln Rhyme (Actor)

The Great Christmas Movies 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The Hurricane 1999 (Movie)

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (Actor)

ABC in Concert 1990 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Fallen 1998 (Movie)

John Hobbes (Actor)

He Got Game 1998 (Movie)

Jake Shuttlesworth (Actor)

Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Voice

The 70th Annual Academy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Siege 1998 (Movie)

Anthony Hubbard (Actor)

NBA at 50 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The 28th NAACP Image Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The ShoWest Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Tom Hanks: Hollywood's Golden Boy 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Courage Under Fire 1996 (Movie)

Nat Serling (Actor)

The 1996 ESPY Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The 27th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The Preacher's Wife 1996 (Movie)

Dudley (Actor)

American Heroes & Legends 1992 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Crimson Tide 1995 (Movie)

Lt Commander Jim Hunter (Actor)

Devil in A Blue Dress 1995 (Movie)

Easy Rawlins (Actor)

Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The 67th Annual Academy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The Third Annual Trumpet Awards Ceremony 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Virtuosity 1995 (Movie)

Parker Barnes (Actor)

The 26th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Essence Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Jammin': Jelly Roll Morton on Broadway 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Narrator

Much Ado About Nothing 1993 (Movie)

Don Pedro--Prince of Arragon (Actor)

Philadelphia 1993 (Movie)

Joe Miller (Actor)

The 1993 MTV Movie Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 19th Annual People's Choice Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 65th Annual Academy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The Barbara Walters Special (03/29/93) 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The Pelican Brief 1993 (Movie)

Gray Grantham (Actor)

AFI Salute to Sidney Poitier 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Malcolm X 1992 (Movie)

Malcolm X (Actor)

Mississippi Masala 1992 (Movie)

Demetrius (Actor)

Muhammad Ali's 50th Birthday Celebration 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The 64th Annual Academy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The Essence Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Motown 30: What's Goin' On! 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Ricochet 1991 (Movie)

Nick Styles (Actor)

The 23rd Annual NAACP Image Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The 45th Annual Tony Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The 63rd Annual Academy Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Heart Condition 1990 (Movie)

Napoleon Stone (Actor)

Mo' Better Blues 1990 (Movie)

Bleek Gilliam (Actor)

The 22nd Annual NAACP Image Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 62nd Annual Academy Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Baka: People of the Forest 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Narrator

For Queen & Country 1989 (Movie)

Reuben James (Actor)

Glory 1989 (Movie)

Trip (Actor)

The Mighty Quinn 1989 (Movie)

Xavier (Actor)

St. Elsewhere 1982 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Cry Freedom 1987 (Movie)

Stephen Biko (Actor)

Reunion 1987 (Movie)

(Actor)

The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Power 1986 (Movie)

Arnold Billings (Actor)

A Soldier's Story 1984 (Movie)

PFC Peterson (Actor)

License to Kill 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

Carbon Copy 1981 (Movie)

Roger Porter (Actor)

Flesh and Blood 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

A Century of Black Cinema (TV Show)

Actor

Anansi (TV Show)

Narrator

The George McKenna Story (TV Show)

Actor

The March (TV Show)

Narrator

The Matarese Circle (Movie)

(Actor)

Wilma (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (6)

The Equalizer 2014 (Movie)

(Producer)

Safe House 2012 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Book of Eli 2010 (Movie)

(Producer)

Antwone Fisher 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Director (2)

The Great Debaters 2007 (Movie)

(Director)

Antwone Fisher 2002 (Movie)

(Director)
Music (2)

Mo' Better Blues 1990 (Movie)

("Pop Top 40") (Song Performer)

The Mighty Quinn 1989 (Movie)

("Cakewalk Into Town") (Song Performer)
Writer (1)

The Book of Eli 2010 (Movie)

Screenplay (Revised) (Screenplay)

Biography

After winning Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his performance in the Civil War epic "Glory" (1989), Denzel Washington tackled one challenging role after another on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in the world. Likened to Sidney Poitier for his ability to appeal to multiracial audiences, Washington's grounding presence was a major draw in historical dramas like "Cry Freedom" (1987), "Malcolm X" (1992), "Hurricane" (1999) and "American Gangster" (2007). He also starred in more action-driven dramas such as "The Pelican Brief" (1993), "Courage Under Fire" (1996), "Remember the Titans" (2000) and "Training Day" (2001), the latter of which earned him the first Best Actor Oscar for an African-American since Poitier's feat in 1963. Rising above the black actor moniker, Washington not only held a firm position as one of Hollywood's top dramatic leads with acclaimed performances in films like "Philadelphia" (1993), but he also earned industry respect for his filmmaking efforts directing and producing both "Antwone Fisher" (2002) and "The Great Debaters" (2007). Throughout his career, Washington collaborated with a number of great directors, but had lasting relationships with the likes of Spike Lee on "He Got Game" (1998) and "Inside Man" (2006), and Tony Scott who directed him in "Crimson Tide" (1995) and "Man on Fire" (2004). Though he stumbled occasionally with mediocre, but well-intentioned movies like "John Q" (2002), "Deja Vu" (2006) and "The Taking of Pelham 123" (2009), Washington remained one of American's most bankable and likeable leading men.

Relationships

Pauletta Washington Actor

Wife
Met while filming NBC movie "Wilma" (1977) Married June 25, 1983; renewed vows in 1995 in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiating

Denzel Washington

Father
Originally from Dillwyn, VA; divorced Washington's mother when he was 14; died in 1991 at age 81

John David Washington Actor

Son
Born July 28, 1984; mother, Pauletta Pearson Washington Played a student in Harlem classroom in "Malcolm X" (1992) Co-produced "The Book of Eli" (2010), which starred his father

Lennis Washington

Mother
Born in Georgia and raised in Harlem; divorced Washington's father when he was 14

Katia Washington

Daughter
Born Nov. 27, 1987; mother, Pauletta Pearson Washington Graduated from Yale University, Bachelor of Arts in 2010; worked in film production

Olivia Washington

Daughter
Born April 10, 1991; twin of Malcolm; mother, Pauletta Pearson Washington Studied acting in the Stella Adler program at New York University

Malcolm Washington

Son
Born April 10, 1991; twin of Olivia; named after Malcolm X; mother, Pauletta Pearson Washington Majored in Cinema at the University of Pennsylvania

Lorice Washington

Sister
Older

EDUCATION

Studied acting with Wynn Handman

American Conservatory Theatre

San Francisco , California
Studied for one year; quit to move to Los Angeles

Fordham University

Bronx , New York 1977
Starred in college production of "Othello"; played on a junior varsity basketball team coached by future Seton Hall and pro coach P J Carlesimo; first theatrical mentor was Fordham drama professor Robinson Stone

Oakwood Academy

New Windsor , New York
Played football

Milestones

2012

Played a fugitive on the run with a CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) in "Safe House"

2012

Starred in Robert Zemeckis directed drama "Flight"

2010

Played the lead role in "The Book of Eli," a post-apocalyptic drama directed by the Hughes brothers

2010

Re-teamed with Tony Scott for "Unstoppable"

2010

Starred in the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s "Fences"

2009

Once again teamed with Tony Scott for the remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123"

2007

Cast as Frank Lucas, a real-life 70's heroin kingpin in the Ridley Scott directed "American Gangster"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor

2007

Directed (also acted) "The Great Debaters"; a true story based on the Wiley College debate team in the 1930s

2006

Re-teamed with director Tony Scott for the thriller, "Deja Vu"

2006

Re-teamed with director Spike Lee for the fourth time to star in the hostage drama "Inside Man"

2005

Starred as Brutus in the Broadway production of "Julius Caesar"

2004

Cast in the role of Bennet Marco, originally played by Frank Sinatra, in remake of "The Manchurian Candidate"

2004

Starred opposite Dakota Fanning in Tony Scott's "Man on Fire"

2003

Portrayed Chief Detective Matt Whitlock in the thriller "Out of Time"

2002

Starred in "John Q" as a man who confronts an HMO that withholds treatment from his ill child

2002

Feature directorial debut, "The Antwone Fisher Story"; also co-starred

2001

Undertook villainous role as a cop on the take paired with a rookie (Ethan Hawke) in "Training Day"; received Best Actor Golden Globe and SAG nominations

2000

Was one of the producers of the documentary "Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks"

2000

Starred in Boaz Yakin's "Remember the Titans"; film was based on the true story of a newly-integrated high school football team in the South going on to a state championship

1999

Delivered a convincing turn as a paralyzed NYC criminologist who helps solve the identity of a serial killer in "The Bone Collector"

1999

Played former middleweight boxer Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter in Norman Jewison's "Hurricane"; received Best Actor Academy Award and SAG nominations

1998

Third film with Edward Zwick, "The Siege"

1998

Re-teamed with Lee for "He Got Game"

1997

Made directing debut with "In Harm's Way," a music video for the Winans

1996

Acted opposite Whitney Houston in Penny Marshall's "The Preacher's Wife"

1996

Re-teamed with Zwick for "Courage Under Fire"

1995

Executive produced the TV documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream" (TBS)

1995

Headlined the adventure-thriller "Crimson Tide"; teamed him with Gene Hackman

1995

Starred in Carl Franklin's film noir, "The Devil in a Blue Dress"; first feature produced under the auspices of his production company Mundy Lane

1993

Portrayed ambulance-chasing lawyer who, inspite of his own homophobia, agrees to represent an AIDS-stricken lawyer (Tom Hanks) who claims discrimination in his dismissal from a law firm in Jonathan Demme's "Philadelphia"

1993

Acted opposite Julia Roberts in "The Pelican Brief"

1993

Displayed his Shakespearean chops as Don Pedro in Kenneth Brannagh's film adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing"

1992

Played the Black Nationalist leader in "Malcolm X"; second film with Lee; garnered Best Actor Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations

1992

Excelled as a carpet salesman in the small art film "Mississippi Masala"

1991

Essayed title role in NYSF production of "Richard III"

1990

Initial collaboration with director Spike Lee, "Mo' Better Blues" playing jazz musician Bleek Gilliam

1989

Earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work as the defiant slave-turned-soldier in "Glory"; first film with director Edward Zwick

1989

U.S. debut as feature lead, "The Mighty Quinn"

1988

First time headlining a feature, the British film "For Queen and Country"

1987

Portrayed martyred South African leader Steven Biko in Richard Attenborogh's "Cry Freedom"; earning first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination

1987

Made Broadway debut in disastrous run of Ron Milner's "Checkmates"

1986

Selected by director Sidney Lumet for the role of a public relations executive in "Power"; part was originally written for a white man

1984

Earned critical praise for reprising Peterson in Norman Jewison's film "A Soldier's Story"; adapted from Fuller's play

1982

TV series debut as regular playing Dr Phillip Chandler on the NBC medical drama "St. Elsewhere"

1981

Originated role of PFC Melvin Peterson in Charles Fuller's Pulitzer-winning "A Soldier's Play" at the Negro Ensemble Theater

1981

Feature film debut in "Carbon Copy"

1981

First time playing Malcolm Shabazz (aka Malcolm X) in New Federal Theater stage production of "When the Chicken Comes Home to Roost"

1979

Acted in CBS miniseries "Flesh and Blood"

1979

Appeared in New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) production of "Coriolanus"

1977

TV-movie debut in "Wilma" (CBS), biography of Olympic runner Wilma Rudolph; future wife Pauletta Pearson also acted in telefilm

Worked in New York with New Federal Theater and Negro Ensemble Company

While a camp counselor in Lakeville, CT, took his first turn onstage during a talent show

Founded Mundy Lane Entertainment, named for the street on which he grew up

Opened Georgia, a restaurant in Los Angeles

Theatrical debut in Fordham University production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Emperor Jones"

Bonus Trivia

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"[Washington] auditioned late, but as soon as I saw him I knew he was Peterson. What was striking about Denzel right from the first was his presence, his ability to create a positive persona but also its opposite – that hint of mystery and threat. It's an interesting combination that gives him a wonderful range of possibilities." – Douglas Turner Ward, founder and artistic director of the Negro Ensemble Company and director of "A Soldier's Play", recalling Washington in The Boston Globe, Aug. 5, 1990

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Washington received a honorary degree from Fordham University in 1991.

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"Denzel Washington, who has become the reigning black-male sex symbol of his generation, is fashion-model handsome, with a body that's a lean, athletic dream. His appeal, though, is rooted in the beckoning gentleness of his stare. When he smiles, exposing a slight overbite, he radiates seductive ardor rather than narcissism." – Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly, Feb. 14, 1992

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He also received the Spencer Tracy Award from UCLA for his body of work in 1993.

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About working with him in "The Pelican Brief": "It was like working with the Beatles. I'd come out of the trailer, and there'd be four guys going, you know, 'Hey, Julia, babe.' Denzel comes out and (there were) 200 women screaming."Referring to Denzel Washington as simply sexy is like saying Ernest Hemingway was a good fisherman." – Julia Roberts quoted in People, July 29, 1996

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According to a 1998 Harris Poll, Washington was the 10th most popular movie star, male or female. No other black actor made the top 40.

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"It's no coincidence that as the Oscars come around, there's a lot more British actresses being nominated than American. And I think it's because they get better training. When we did 'Much Ado About Nothing' it was almost embarrassing to hear everybody talking about what they were going to do next. All the British actors were talking about the theatre work they were off to do, while the Americans were doing movies next. That was the trouble at that time, the Brits were prepared but had no place to showcase. We've got the showcase, but we're not as prepared." – Washington, quoted in Neon, May 1998

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While in South Africa, Washington spontaneously gave $1 million to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

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About the importance of family in his life: "Acting is not life; those children are life. I don't want to be that person who says, 'Oh, God, I wasn't there. I was more thinking about me than them. My career has been enhanced by family, stability, having birthday parties. If I didn't have a family, what would I be doing this weekend?" – Washington quoted in USA Weekend, Jan. 9-11, 1998

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As a spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Washington was often found in inner-city neighborhoods hanging out with kids. "It makes me sad. A lot of young kids think they have to be hard. You look a little deeper and you see that they're really just looking for love. They're looking for respect. But they think they have to be hard to be accepted. I know better. I grew up with murder and mayhem, too, but I turned it into a positive." – Washington to Cindy Pearlman in The Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 21, 1998

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About making his directorial debut: "It was the fear of the unknown. But now I'm hooked. I just won the Academy Award, but I can tell you, this was more exciting than that." – Washington to Premiere September 2002

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"People ask me a lot about this Oscar and what it means and I’m like, I won one 13 years ago and to me there is no difference in supporting and best actor. It’s like writers. If they gave out an Oscar for writing an article should a 1000 word article be a supporting writer and a 2000 word article a leading article, what’s the difference? That doesn’t mean that the leading writer is a better writer. So I really feel that way and it was not more of a thrill the first time. All of those things, the responsibility or fears and all that, I think were more acute 13 years ago for me than now." – Washington to www.darkhorizons.com, Oct. 1, 2003

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"I love Denzel's obsessive quality and his internal darkness. There's a hardness to Denzel that's really interesting. He knows how to draw it out and use it effectively." – director Tony Scott to Toronto Sun-Times, April 18, 2004

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"Sidney Poitier told me this years ago: 'If they see you for free all week, they won't pay to see you on the weekend, because they feel like they've seen you. If you walk by the magazine section in the supermarket and they've known you all their life, there's no mystery. They can't take the ride.' My professional work is being a better actor. I don't know how to be a celebrity." – Washington quoted in GQ, October 2012

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