Denzel Washington’s biography
Denzel Washington is Hollywood’s double Oscar-winning Afro-American actor, who rose to fame thanks to his role as Steve Biko in Richard Attenborough’s history drama Cry Freedom. He is the producer of such popular movies as The Equalizer, The Book of Eli, and others. As a film director, he made three full-length movies, the most recent one being the drama Fences. He’s a loving husband and father. Net worth: $280 million.
Childhood: Mount Vernon
The second son born in the family of the minister from Mount Vernon, just before the beginning of 1955, was named Denzel, after his father. Denzel Hayes Sr., right upon taking his son into his arms, envisioned a similar future for him as he's – the one of a minister.
However, his wife, Lennis Lowe, thought otherwise. Being quite the successful business lady and owning her own beauty salon, she’d often take Denzel to work, where he’d play while his mother was managing her business. When he started attending the Pennington-Grimes Elementary School, he’d run after classes to help her.
During one of his interviews, Washington told the story of how once, one of his mother’s elderly clients, kept staring at him and then wrote on a piece of paper that a bright future awaits him and that millions of people will listen to him. There was a rumor around the neighborhood that this woman was actually a fortune teller and he kept the piece of paper with the prophecy.
When one more son was born into the family, his father was insisting on the fact that the middle son spent more time in his church, rather than at his mother’s salon. The spouses would often argue. Their divorce was very painful for Denzel, but he never saw the life of a minister as the only option in life. His mother transferred him to the Oakland Military Academy, where he later on graduated.
Youth: New York – San Francisco
At the beginning of the 70s, he enrolled at the University of Fordham University (one of the graduates being Donald Trump too). He opted for medicine, however, later on, he changed his mind and decided to be a journalist, so he transferred to another faculty, which he graduated successfully in 1977.
Aside from his university studies, Denzel was also practicing sport, and after taking in part in several student drama plays, it wasn’t long before he became a popular and promising amateur actor. The highlight was his role as Shakespeare’s Othello.
Winning an educational grant, Washington left for San Francisco, where he would go to classes at an American conservatory for over a year. That is when fate gave him his first chance – the role of young Robert Eldridge in Bud Greenspan’s drama Wilma. Denzel felt like he found his calling, so he leaves the conservatory and starts working as an actor on theater and movie sets. Wilma brought about one more gift: he met Pauletta Pearson, his future wife.
Career: two Roberts, two Oscars
The name Robert is very familiar with Denzel. That was the name of his first character, and of the protagonist from The Equalizer, and in between those two, he managed to appear in over fifty movies. His background role in Jud Taylor’s drama Flesh and Blood marked the end of the 70s.
The real highlight of his acting career took place in the 80s. The six-year-marathon in the medical drama St. Elsewhere was intertwined with main roles on the big screen. Denzel – Roger in the comedy Carbon Copy, Private Peterson in A Soldier’s Story, Arnold Billings in the political drama Power, the protagonist being portrayed by Richard Gere.
Then followed the TV drama The George McKenna Story, where he played the protagonist - a school principal, the drama For Queen and Country telling the story of paratrooper James, the history drama Cry Freedom, where he plays the leader of the movement of the national identity of Africans. This role led to his first Oscar nomination.
He played the protagonists in the thriller The Mighty Quinn, in the fantasy drama Heart Condition, and in the history drama Glory. His role as Private Trip earned him his first Oscar and the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Successful and highly demanded, he won the heart of director Spike Lee at the dawn of the 90s, who offered him a role in the romance drama Mo’ Better Blues and then in the drama Malcolm X. Spike was the person who helped Denzel unleash his talent of transformation, and further on (sports drama He Got Game co-starring with Milla Jovovich) continued to offer him the possibility to explore the versatility of his acting mastery.
The role of John Hobbes from the mystery drama Fallen, where he worked with Donald Sutherland and John Goodman, is yet another confirmation of the amplitude of his acting talent, as well as the role of the quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme in the crime thriller The Bone Collector. Denzel co-starred with Angelina Jolie, who he said was one of the most talented actresses he’s ever worked with.
He made an appearance in several movies that achieved an undoubted commercial success: Philadelphia with Tom Hanks, The Siege with Bruce Willis, Training Day with Ethan Hawke. In the latter, for his role as the main villain – Alonzo Harris, he received his second Oscar, and the role of Rubin Carter in The Hurricane earned him his first Golden Globe.
In the 2000s, he tries his hand at directing, shooting Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, and Fences. He co-starred with Jodie Foster in Inside Man, with Eva Mendes in Out of Time, with Dakota Fanning in Man on Fire, with Meryl Streep in the science fiction The Manchurian Candidate, and with Russell Crowe in the true-crime drama American Gangster.
The role of Melvin Tolson in the drama The Great Debaters earned him the well-deserved Golden Globe, the second in the artist’s film award inventory. He co-starred with John Travolta in the crime The Taking of Pelham 123, with Gary Oldman in The Book of Eli, with Ryan Reynolds in Safe House, with Kelly Reilley in Flight, and with Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns.
In 2014 and 2018 he brought to life the ex-CIA agent Robert McCall, who was delivering justice on the streets. The Equalizer was so successful that the director, Antoine Fuqua, decided to shoot a sequel, to which Denzel agreed wholeheartedly. After reading the script, Denzel exclaimed: Holy cow! This is a whole different world!. It seemed that this is a whole new movie, but with the same protagonist – the equalizer of good and evil.
According to Zoomboola.com, on December 28, 2018, Denzel Washington celebrated his 64th birthday with his family and friends. Both him and his wife Pauletta, are passionate supporters of their favorite basketball team – Lakers.
Denzel Washington’s personal life
His meeting with Pauletta Pearson on the set of Wilma led to a five-year-long affair, which turned into marriage in 1982. His first son, David, was born in 1985, and three years after his wife gave birth to a baby girl, who the couple decided to name Katia. They became happy parents to twins Malcolm and Olivia Washington in 1991.
He thanks God for all of his achievements in life and he reads the Bible daily. Just before the new millennium, he was seriously considering the life of a minister, but the father of the church he went to told him that in his current position, he can reach out to many more people, and he gave up on the idea. Instead, he donated 2 million dollars for the construction of the Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles.
Denzel Washington now
In January of 2019, the Washington family attended the Golden Globe awards. The reason for that was the nomination of his eldest son, David, for Best Actor in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Even though he didn’t receive the award, his father considers that he has yet to unleash his full potential.
In 2020, it became known that Washington will star in a new drama "Leave the world behind" from Netflix with Julia Roberts. The project will be led by the producer of the series "Mr. Robot", and the plot of the film will tell the story of families unfamiliar to each other, forced to spend time under one roof.
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