"A powerful sexual and
romantic presence."



Denzel Washington

Born: December 28, 1954. Place of birth: Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
Spouse/Dating: married 1983 to Pauletta Pearson, actress, singer, pianist; born 1951; renewed vows in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiating (1995)
Children: Son: John David, actor, born 1984; Daughter: Katia, born 1987; Twins: Olivia and Malcolm, born April 10, 1991 (Malcom was named after Malcolm X).
Family: Father: Denzel Washington, reverend with Church of God in Christ; Mother: Lynne Washington, beautician; (they are divorced); Sister: Lorice, older; Brother: David, younger.
Education: Fordham University, Bronx, New York; B.A., Journalism, 1977; American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, California, studied only one year, then moved to L.A; Studied acting with Wynn Handman
Sign: Capricorn
Residence: Los Angeles

Awards:
>2000 NAACP Image Award: Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, The Hurricane
>1999 Golden Globe: Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama), The Hurricane
>1997 NAACP Image: Best Performance in an Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special, Happily Ever After: Mother Goose
>1997 NAACP Image: Entertainer of the Year
>1997 NAACP Image: Best Motion-Picture Actor, Courage Under Fire
>1997 ShoWest Actor of the Year
>1996 NAACP Image: Entertainer of the Year
>1996 NAACP Image: Best Motion-Picture Actor, Crimson Tide
>1996 NAACP Image: Best Performance in an Animated/Live-Action/Dramatic Youth or Children's Series/Special, Happily Ever After: Rumpelstiltskin
>1993 MTV Movie Award: Best Male Performance, Malcom X
>1992 Berlin Film Festival: Silver Bear Award: Best Actor, Malcolm X
>1992 NAACP Image: Best Actor, Mississippi Masala
>1992 Boston Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Malcolm X
>1992 New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, Malcolm X
>1989 Oscar: Best Supporting Actor, Glory
>1989 Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Glory
>1981 Obie: Distinguished Ensemble Performance, A Soldier's Play
>1981 Audelco Award: When the Chicken Comes Home to Roost

Film Credits Include:
Coming Soon:
>John Q
>Training Day
>The Antwoine Fisher Story (also titled "Finding Fish," which will be his feature film directorial debut)

>2000 Remember the Titans
>1999 The Bone Collector
>1999 The Hurricane
>1998 A Century of Black Cinema
>1998 Fallen
>1998 He Got Game
>1998 The Siege
>1996 Courage Under Fire
>1996 The Preacher's Wife
>1995 Crimson Tide
>1995 Devil in a Blue Dress
>1995 Virtuosity
>1994 Century of Cinema, A
>1994 Devil in a Blue Dress
>1993 Much Ado About Nothing
>1993 The Pelican Brief
>1993 Philadelphia
>1992 Malcolm X
>1992 Rabbit Ears - John Henry
>1991 Mississippi Masala
>1991 Ricochet
>1990 Heart Condition
>1990 Mo' Better Blues
>1989 For Queen and Country
>1989 Glory
>1989 The Mighty Quinn
>1987 Cry Freedom
>1986 The George McKenna Story
>1986 Power
>1984 License to Kill
>1984 A Soldier's Story
>1982 St. Elsewhere (TV)
>1981 Carbon Copy
>1979 Flesh and Blood
>1977 Wilma

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Denzel Washington (cont.)

   Denzel Washington possesses a sincere love of God, family and work, as evidenced by a solid family life that belies the Hollywood stereotype, and a burgeoning body of work that would have worn the tread off most professionals by now.
   The second of three children, Washington began working after school at the age of eleven in various barber and beauty shops. With a preacher for a father and beautician for a mother, he grew up eavesdropping on the drama in his father's sermons and the gossip and story telling in the beauty shops. It was an dual environment of performance art that naturally fostered a love of story telling and drama that would remain with him the rest of his life.
   At fourteen his parents separated (and finally divorced) and Denzel and his older sister were sent to boarding school. After high school, Washington attended New York's Fordham University, where he received a B.A. in Journalism in 1977.
   While at Fordham, he won several roles in drama department student productions. His lead role in the student production of Othello was a stand-out performance that foreshadowed events to come later in his acting career. After completing his B.A. he won a scholarship to San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (ACT), where he continued to study his passion for acting. But his studies at ACT lasted only a year. Washington left the Conservatory early to attempt a professional career. It was a courageous early step towards stardom.
   Washington's early career films included Wilma (1977), an NBC telefilm in which he portrayed the boyfriend of Olympic runner Wilma Rudolph, and work with the New York Shakespeare Festival in their production of "Coriolanus" (1979). His debut on the big screen was as an illegitimate teenager in "Carbon Copy" with George Segal. But his real break came when he was cast in TV's St. Elsewhere, performing for six years as Dr. Phillip Chandler. Hollywood producers and casting directors finally started calling and Washington began spending breaks from his TV schedule making movies.
   It was 1989's civil war movie "Glory" that really put Washington's name on the star map. His portrayal of a runaway slave in the Union Army garnered Washington an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
   In the decade of the 90's, Washington upped his market value with three movies by Spike Lee: "Mo' Better Blues" (1990); "Malcolm X," (1992) (the movie was difficult for him as his father died during filming) for which he earned Best Actor awards from the New York Critics Circle and the Boston Film Critics Association as well as an Oscar nomination; and as an adept basketball player in "He Got Game" (1998).
   It was also in the 90's that he starred in the blockbuster "The Pelican Brief" (1993) with Julia Roberts; the Shakespeare comedy "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993); the critically acclaimed "Philadelphia" (1993), and the hit "Crimson Tide" (1995) with Sean Connery.
   His latest film offering "Remember the Titans" is about a 1970's Virginia high school coach trying to unite white and black football players (and sometimes an entire town) into a winning team.
   Named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World and one of Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in film history and even used by Newsweek to illustrate the scientific definition of "beauty," Denzel Washington is well known as one of the most handsome men in Hollywood, but he is also one of the most respected actors in the movie industry. His career has been well thought out and any respect that has come his way has been earned through hard work and a series of good decisions about which roles to accept, which to decline and then delivering intense performances in every role in which he has been cast.
   One reason Washington is a legend in the movie industry is because his characters come through as real people. This is probably because of the sometimes exhaustive research he does for each character he portrays. For example, he spent months with Washington Post reporters to prepare for "The Pelican Brief." He practiced with Civil War battle re-enactors for "Glory," and he trained at the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin in Texas to qualify on the M1A1 tank and the 120mm gun as well as listening to audiotapes of Desert Storm tank battles to prepare for "Courage Under Fire."
   Washington likens his preparation for his roles to that of an investigative reporter meticulously uncovering a story.
   More recently, he won the prestigious Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of wrongfully imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in the film "The Hurricane." He was also nominated for a fourth Oscar for his portrayal. In preparing for this movie, Washington spent a year and a half with a boxing trainer, developing quite a physique in the process.
   Audiences and fellow actors alike are fans of this man. In an interview in Vanity Fair, actor/director Kenneth Branagh remarked that Denzel Washington, "has intellectual weight, spiritual gravity, and a powerful sexual and romantic presence." Actor Tom Hanks said he has a scrupulous habit of "testing the parameters of the scene."

(cont. next column) >


Denzel Washington (cont.)

   About himself as an actor and the marketing of himself and his movies, Washington puffed on a cigar (which he does only out of doors) and told Cigar Aficionado, "I'm an actor, so that's the bottom line. I'm not a marketing whatever. My strength does not lie in marketing a product called 'Denzel.' That's not what I do. My strength lies in playing a part and hopefully entertaining and affecting people on some level. The publicity gets to be boring. How many times can I tell the same story? I understand the importance of doing publicity for a film, so I'm willing to do that, but I don't want to sit around talking about myself. That's not a great day for me. That's not my idea of fun."
   Washington has also described his take on movie making by saying it's, "just like a muffin. One person might say, 'Oh, I don't like it.' One might say it's the best muffin ever made. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin."
   Being a black man in an essentilly white business, Washington has been asked many times about his attitude towards racism and how he feels about how he is perceived racially in the roles he undertakes. His response has always grounded in reality.
   "There are all kinds of ways to win a battle. I do what I do. I know what I'm doing. I don't need to talk about it too much. My affection is to the public. They hear me. When they appreciate it, they tell me--they come to my movies. I'm just making movies. I don't waste my time worrying about how I'm perceived."
   About the type of movies he enjoys making, either a dramatic or action movie, Washington says, "I like talking. I like acting. Running and jumping and ducking bullets is not my idea of a good day."
   One way to know if you're really a Hollywood star or not is if your hands and feet are immortalized in cement, and since there are only about 173 movie star impressions in the small forecourt at Mann's Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre), you know Denzel Washington has made it. His hands and feet are among the immortalized few in the famous sidewalk's wet cement.
   But when you're a star you inevitably get blasted by the rumor rags that thrive on Hollywood dirt. During an interview with Barbara Walters on Oscar night in 1993, Washington confided that, "Being a star and all of that, temptation is all around, and I haven't been perfect. I'll be quite candid about it."
   As might be expected, and despite what he may have really meant by his comment, his candor started a storm of rumors in the press about his marital problems and possible infidelities. But during a trip to South Africa, Denzel and Pauletta renewed their wedding vows before Archbishop Tutu -- a ceremony that disappointed the many Hollywood rumor mongers by quelching any concerns of marital problems within the Washington family.
   In an interview with USA Weekend, Washington explained his love for family by saying "Acting is not life. My career has been enhanced by family and stability and having birthday parties. If I didn't have a family, what would I be doing this weekend?"
   When it comes to the press, despite being a respected, genuinely nice guy, Washington can, at times, be impressively cranky with the media or stunningly friendly, depending on the mood he's in. Catch him on a bad day and (to put it politely) he's less than approachable. On a good day, however, he talks and jokes around and you feel like an old and dear buddy.
   Outside filmmaking, Washington is the spokesman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, of which he says, "I believe in the Boys Clubs because I grew up in them. You're either part of the problem or you're a part of the solution. The first commercial I did was with the actual director of the club I went to."
   He also supports charities such as The Gathering Place (a home for people infected with HIV), the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and always, always his family's Pentecostal West Angeles Church.
   Recently, Washington tested his business acumen by investing in LA's posh Georgia Restaurant along with Eddie Murphy and several other stars but, unfortunately, the Georgia folded its tent and closed down in January of this year.
   Also on a personal note, when he has the time, Washington has been a semi-regular at Laker basketball games at The Great Western Forum, but now that the Lakers have a new home at the $300 million Staples Center you'll probably have to look for him there.
  Another place that Washington has been spotted is at LA's Hugo restaurant along with other stars like comic Jerry Seinfeld, Keanu Reeves, Kim Basinger, and rockers Eric Clapton and David Bowie. This unassuming westside restaurant is well known for its delectible breakfast and lunch menus.
   When forced to sum up, one gets the impression that this good-looking, story telling man is one of the hardest working men in Hollywood, with a love of filmmaking that is only surpassed by his love of God and family.
   Wow! A Hollywood rarity! A man who has his priorities straight!