Denzel Washington or Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954. He is one of the most recognizable black actors in the history of show business. Other than playing roles in front of the camera, Denzel is also quite comfortable behind it. He is as successful as a director, film producer, and screenwriter as he is an actor.
Denzel Washington was born near New York City in Mount Vernon. His mother was the operator and owner of a beauty parlor. His father, Denzel Senior, was a duly ordained Pentecostal minister. He attended grammar school until 1968 when his mother sent him to a private prep school, Oakland Military Academy, at age 14.
He said that that decision changed his life and that if he continued being with his buddies in Pennington-Grimes Elementary School, he would have ended up like his buddies doing some time in the penitentiary. Nevertheless, he comments that his buddies were completely nice guys only that the streets got to them.
He attended a public high school in Daytona Beach, Florida until 1971. He then earned from Fordham University his B.A. in Drama and Journalism. During college he played collegiate basketball. He then studied acting in the Lincoln Center after an enlightening moment in an overnight summer camp that was known as Camp Sloane YMCA where a colleague suggested that he should try acting.
Biography in Charity
Other than being known for his success in the movie and film industry, Denzel Washington supports a lot of charitable causes. He is the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of American’s spokesperson. He is also Save Africa’s Children’s honorary chairperson and he is part of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as a founding member. Other charities in his list include Project Angel Food, Keep a Child Alive, Artists for a New South Africa, and the Fisher House Foundation.
A Successful Early Career
Denzel Washington started out his acting career performing in theaters. His very first appearance in Hollywood was in a film entitled Carbon Copy in 1981. His first major break came in the hospital drama for television St. Elsewhere that ran for six years. All the while, Denzel performed both on TV and on stage. He won his first Academy Award in 1989 as supporting actor in the film Glory.
Reaching the Peak
The full height of his career came in the 1990s and the following decade after where he gave powerful performances and eventually won distinguishing awards. One of his critically acclaimed roles was in the movie Malcolm X in 1992. He co-starred with Tom Hanks in the 1993 film Philadelphia where he portrayed a homophobic lawyer with Hanks playing the role of the AIDS inflicted homosexual man.
Other successful films include The Pelican Brief, Virtuosity, and The Hurricane. Denzel Washington won the Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear and the Golden Globe Award in 2000 for his role in The Hurricane. This was in spite of efforts by a former reporter pressuring voters for the Academy Award not to award him the Oscars.