Denzel Washington

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Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington (born December 28, 1954) is an African American, Oscar-winning actor.

He was born in Mount Vernon, New York, the son of a minister and a beauty-parlour owner. In his youth, Washington was banned by his parents from watching movies. When his parents separated, Washington went through a rebellious stage, at the end of which several of his friends were sentenced to prison. His mother's reaction to his behavioral problems was to send him to preparatory school, and, later, on to Fordham University, where he discovered acting and earned a degree in journalism.

He landed his first film role in the 1975 TV movie Wilma. While filming this movie he met actress Pauletta Pearson, whom he later married. His big break came when he starred in the popular TV hospital drama St. Elsewhere.

Washington turned down roles in several action films, in hopes for a more challenging role. In 1987 he starred as South African anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko in Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom. In 1989 Washington won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, after playing a defiant self-possessed slave in the film Glory.

Washington played one of his most critically acclaimed roles in 1992's Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee, where his performance as the Black Nationalist leader earned him an Oscar nomination. Both the influential film critic Roger Ebert and the highly-acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese called the film one of the ten best films made during the 1990s.

Malcolm X transformed Washington's career, turning him, practically overnight, into one of Hollywood's most respected actors. He turned down several similar roles, such as the chance to play Martin Luther King, Jr., because he wanted to avoid being typecast by subject matter.

After being nominated several times before, in 2002 Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in the film Training Day in which he played a corrupt, drug-dealing cop.

Washington made his debut as a director with Antwone Fisher (2002), a film about a man who confronts his traumatic past with the support of a naval psychiatrist. Washington also co-starred in the film.

In 2004, Washington announced that he would only be willing to play villains in films. The following year, he played Marcus Brutus in the Broadway revival of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

Washington earned a reputation for philanthropy when he donated money for building a 'Fisher House' at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC)


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