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Denzel Washington Biography:

One of the most highly respected actors of the 90's, Denzel has mastered the art of storytelling; whether in action films, thrillers, or social awareness-themed films. Being recognized for his work with countless nominations and awards, Denzel is also admired by the ladies (and the industry) as one of the most handsome men in Hollywood.

Denzel Washington Jr. was born in Mount Vernon, New York, on December 28, 1954. The middle child of his parents' three children, Washington grew up surrounded by fervent performances and constant storytelling.

His father, Denzel Sr., was a preacher, while his mother, Lennis, a beautician. Watching his father's passionate performances at church, and listening to his mother gossip and tell stories while she dolled up her clients at the salon, were the perfect ingredients to finally create Washington's passion for drama and performing.

Washington and his older sister were sent to boarding school when the actor was 14 years old, so that he and his sister would not witness the downfall of their parents' failed marriage. He then attended Fordham University and received a B.A. in journalism. He showed his potential for the dramatic arts when he participated in several student productions, most notably his lead role in Othello.

Once a university graduate, Washington pursued his studies at the American Conservatory Theater on scholarship, to study a different form of storytelling: drama.

After only one year of studying, Washington grew antsy and was ready to perfect his acting skills in a more practical manner, by actually pursuing his career.

Before hitting it big as Dr. Phillip Chandler on the NBC drama St. Elsewhere (which can be considered his claim to fame), Washington appeared in the made-for-TV movie Wilma and a production of Coriolanus at a Shakespeare Festival. He appeared on the big screen for the first time in the 1981 film Carbon Copy.

During his six years on St. Elsewhere, Washington used his summertime breaks to work on his film career. He starred in 1987's Cry Freedom (which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor), but it was his Oscar-winning portrayal (in the category of Best Supporting Actor) of a runaway slave in the 1989 historical drama, Glory, that ensured movie audiences and critics would not ignore the star that was in the making.

In the '90s Denzel Washington's name appeared on the credits of many diversified films. He starred in three Spike Lee joints: Mo' Better Blues; Malcolm X (for which his title role garnered Washington Best Actor awards from the New York Critics Circle, Boston Film Critics Association and an Oscar nomination); and He Got Game.

Washington showed his star appeal in action films and thrillers such as The Pelican Brief, co-starring Julia Roberts, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire, The Siege, Fallen, and The Bone Collector with Angelina Jolie. He also charmed audiences in the romantic film, The Preacher's Wife, opposite pop-diva Whitney Houston, and revisited Shakespeare in the comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

In more serious roles, Washington equally never disappoints. His role in the critically acclaimed drama Philadelphia, as the lawyer defending Tom Hanks' HIV-infected character won rave reviews, while his 1999 portrayal of wrongfully accused champion boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in The Hurricane, earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, and an Oscar nomination in the same category.

The role also gave him a new six-pack after having trained for a year and a half with a boxing trainer in preparation for the role.

After a role as Herman Boone in 2000's Remember the Titans, Washington starred as the title role in John Q.. His performance in Training Day garnered him the Best Actor Oscar in 2002, making him the first African-American actor to receive the honor in 40 years, since Sidney Poitier.

Spokesman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Washington is an avid supporter of charities such as The Gathering Place (a home for those who are infected by HIV), the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and his church.

As if being named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World several times and one of Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in film history weren't enough proof of Washington's looks, Newsweek used him in article about the scientific explanation of "beauty".

Washington lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 17 years, Pauletta Pearson, and their four children, John David, Katia, and twins Malcolm and Olivia.

Denzel Washington makes his directorial debut in the 2002 film The Antwone Fisher Story (a.k.a Finding Fish).



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