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Hollywood has brought on many talents, and one of such talents that has made a significant impact all over the world is Denzel Washington; an actor, director, and producer.
Parents, Early Life, and Education
Denzel Washington was born Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. on December 28th, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. his parents were Denzel Hayes Washington Sr. – an ordained minister in a Pentecostal church – and Lennis Washington, née Lynne, who owned and ran a beauty salon.
In his elementary years, Denzel attended the Pennington-Grimes in Mount Vernon. After his parents’ divorce when He was 14 years old, his mother sent him to Oakland Military Academy, New York. After that, He went to Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida (1970 – 1971). He then went on to Fordham University, where He played collegiate basketball.
Washington became unsure of what major to pursue that He took a semester off, and it was during that period that He worked as a director of creative arts at Camp Sloane YMCA, Lakeville, Connecticut. He displayed an outstanding performance to the point that someone suggested He should consider a career in acting.
In 1977, after his graduation, He got his Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Journalism. He finally went to the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, for graduate school, after which He returned to New York to begin his professional career in acting.
In the summer of 1976, Denzel Washington performed a state play titled Wings of the Morning in the summer stock theater in St. Mary’s City, Maryland.
However, his first on-screen appearance happened not long after He graduated from Fordham University in 1977 in the made-for-television film Wilma.
His first appearance in Hollywood starred him in the film titled Carbon Copy in 1981. On November 20th that same year, the movie titled A Soldier’s Play in which He played Private First Class Melvin Peterson produced by the Off-Broadway Negro Ensemble Company earned him a shared Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award.
He got the first big break of his career after playing the role of Dr. Phillip Chandler in NBC’s television hospital drama series titled St. Elsewhere that ran for six years, beginning in 1982. In 1984, He starred in a film titled A Soldier’s Story, and in 1986 He starred in the movies Hard Lessons and Power.
He got nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor after his role as Steven Biko, a South African political activist that was against apartheid in the film titled Cry Freedom. He finally won the award after his appearance in Glory, a film in which He played the role of an ex-slave soldier.
Still, in 1989, He made an appearance in the films Mighty Quinn and For Queen and Country, in which He played the role of a British soldier (Reuben James) who, after retiring from a famed military career to civilian life, was forced into vigilante action and violence due to the ongoing racial discrimination.
Some of the films that starred Denzel Washington in the 1990s include Spike Lee’s film titled Mo’ Better Blues, Mississippi Masala in which He played the role of Demetrius Williams, Malcolm X – his performance earned him a nomination for Best Actor category in the Academy Award. his other films during this period include Philadelphia, The Pelican Brief co-starring Julia Roberts, Crimson Tide, co-starring Gene Hackman, and Much Ado About Nothing.
In 1996, He starred in a film titled Courage Under Fire with Meg Ryan. He played the role of a United States Army officer who lost heart after making a huge mistake and decided to investigate if a female chopper commander was worthy of receiving a Medal of Honor. That same year He co-starred The Preacher’s Wife, a romcom with Whitney Houston.
Between 1996 and 1999, Washington starred in films such as He Got Game, Fallen in which He co-starred with John Goodman and Donald Sutherland, The Hurricane, which earned him a Golden Globe Award and a Silver Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in the year 2000, The Bone Collector which He co-starred with Angelina Jolie.
In the film Training Day, He was the winner in the Best Actor category of the Academy Award in 2001 for his role as Detective Alonzo Harris – a corrupt cop in Los Angeles. At that same event, He also received an Honorary Award.
Other popular films in which Washington played a role include Inside Man, American Gangster, Julius Caesar, Remember the Titans, Déjà Vu, The Taking of Pelham, 2 Guns, Safe House, Unstoppable, The Iceman Cometh, The Equalizer, and The Equalizer 2.
The year 2016 saw Denzel Washington starring in the remake of a 1960 western film titled The Magnificent Seven. In the movie, Washington’s role was that of a duly sworn warrant officer from Kansas, precisely Wichita by Sam Chisolm (“the Bounty Hunter”). The co-stars in the movie include Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Haley Bennett, Lee Byung-hun, Marin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Peter Sarsgaard.
Although Denzel Washington had no experience with Westerns while He was growing up and his father never allowed him or his siblings anywhere near the cinema, He was regardless cast for the film.
While producers were unsure if He would take the role, Fuqua, whom He had already collaborated with on two previous occasions, went down to New York to negotiate with him.
Also, in 2016, Denzel Washington directed a film titled Fences which He co-starred with Viola Davis. Wilson already created a play, and He (Wilson) was the scriptwriter of the movie. On December 16th, 2016, the film was released with a Pittsburgh setting in the 1950s. It had Washington play the role of a baseball player in an African-American league who was also working as a collector of wastes and through that was struggling to be the breadwinner of his family.
His role in the movie gained him a nomination for the Golden Globe Award in the Best Actor category. Also, He received a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award. That same performance earned him his ninth overall nomination for the Oscars and his sixth nomination for Best Actor.
Denzel Washington got married on June 25th, 1983, to Pauletta Pearson. He met her at the time when he made his debut appearance, the film Wilma. Denzel and his wife are the proud parents of four kids: John David, a former football player and currently an actor; Katia – a graduate of Yale University with a BA in 2010; and twins named Olivia and Malcolm.
Olivia got a role in a movie titled, The Butler and Malcolm have a degree in film studies, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
Denzel and his wife Pauletta renewed their marital vows in 1995, and the officiating minister was Desmond Tutu, which happened in South Africa.
Denzel Washington is a fervent Christian and has thought of being a minister. He says that He reads his Bible daily. In his words, “I’ve had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I’ve been given seriously, and I want to use it for good.”
In 1995, He donated $2.5 million in a bid to aid the building of the new West Angeles Church of God in Christ (WACGC) located in Los Angeles. Since 1993, Washington has served as the national spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, appearing in awareness campaigns and public service announcements on behalf of the organization.
He became a board member of the organization in the year 1995, and because of his work with the organization and with PS 17X, an Elementary School in New York City named their school after him.
Sometime in between the year 2004, during his visit to the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), Fort Sam Houston, He participated in a Purple Heart ceremony where He presented medals to three soldiers recovering from injuries sustained when they were stationed in Iraq.
He also visited the Fisher House facilities at the fort and having learned that its capacity had been exceeded, He made a huge donation to the Fisher House Foundation. Washington also donated $1 million each to the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Fund and Wiley College for the resuscitation of the debate team at the college.
He was one of the three persons named with whom the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were willing to negotiate on the topic of releasing three defense contractors held captive by the group.
On May 18th, 1991, Fordham University awarded Denzel Washington an honorary doctorate because He “impressively succeeded in exploring the edge of his multifaceted talent.” He donated $2 million to the university for an endowed chair of the theater department in 2011. That same year, He also donated $250,000 towards establishing a scholarship specific to the theater at the school.
On May 20th, 2007, Denzel Washington received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Morehouse College. On May 16th, 2011, He was awarded an honorary Doctor of the Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Denzel Washington’s Net Worth
Denzel Washington has played some famous characters on both the big and small screens throughout the course of his 40-year career.
Denzel Washington has a net worth of roughly $250 million. The bulk of his net worth is generated majorly from blockbusters films such as Fallen, Training Day, and the Siege. It is said that Denzel received a minimum of $12 million for each of those films. Shuffling between his multi-working nature of being an actor, producer, director, and spokesperson, Denzel’s annual salary is over $60 million