Enviado por TM en Abril 10, 2008 - 19:35.
There are just a few actors who can say that have been nominated five times for the Oscars and three times as a Best Actor in a Leading Role won two Oscars one as a Best Actor in a Supporting Role and another one as a Best Actor in a Leading Role. One of those actors is Denzel Washington; one of the most recognized and pre-eminent actors of his generation. He has garnered much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone.
Actor, director. Born Denzel Jermaine Washington, Jr. on December 28, 1954 , in Mount Vernon , New York, at the north end of the Bronx in New York City.
His father, Dillwyn, Virginia-born Reverend Denzel Washington, was a Pentecostal minister with the Church of God in Christ. Although his father,was an ordained Pentecostal minister, he worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, "S. Klein".
His mother, Lynne, a beauty parlor owner, was born in Georgia and raised in Harlem. Lynne, was a former gospel singer. Washington was banned from watching movies by his parents, who divorced when he was fourteen. There were also an older sister, Lorice, and younger brother David.
He was a serious child, but brought up in very sociable surroundings, spending much time listening to his mother and father, in their own different styles, entertaining their clients at work. It's often been said that the boy picked up his desire to act from the flamboyant communication that went on around him at this time. He certainly picked up a desire to work - the family ethic was very strong - and young Denzel found himself labouring in barber shops and beauty parlours from the age of 11. He was also a member of the Boys' Club of America, for whom he is a leading spokesman to this day.
Washington was interested in attending Texas Tech University: And as he said "I grew up in the Boys Club in Mount Vernon, and we were the Red Raiders. So when I was in high school, I wanted to go to Texas Tech in Lubbock just because they were called the Red Raiders and their uniforms looked like ours."
He subsequently went through a rebellious stage, at the end of which several of his friends were sentenced to prison. Remembering his three best friends of the time, he once explained that one was murdered, one died from AIDS-related illness, while the third was in the middle of a 25-year stretch. And Denzel was living like a king in Hollywood.
His mother's reaction to his behavioral problems was to send him to preparatory school. So, when Denzel was 14, he and Lorice were sent away to boarding school.
Denzel had considered a career as a doctor, but decided on journalism and, as ever setting his mind to the task in hand, by 1977 he had graduated with a BA in journalism from Fordham University.
At Fordham, he played collegiate basketball as a Freshman guard under coach P. J. Carlesimo. After a period of bouncing from major to major and briefly dropping out of school for a semester, Washington worked as a counselor at an overnight summer camp in New England. After participating in a staff talent show for the campers, a colleague suggested he try acting, and a star was born, discovering his life's calling as an actor.
Returning to Fordham that fall with a renewed purpose and focus, he enrolled at the Lincoln Center campus to study acting, he'd stumbled into acting and discovered both a latent talent and, probably, an escape from his intense personality. He recalls now how his friends would often complain about how tense and uptight he was, how he would brood constantly. Only when he had kids of his own, he says, did he really learn how to have fun. So acting must have been a release and a relief - he certainly threw himself into it. One performance, as the green-eyed, wife-throttling Moor, is still talked about at Fordham to this day.
Denzel won a scholarship to the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Here he studied under the renowned Bill Ball but, after a single year, he grew restless for work, for a real challenge (something that's characterised his entire career). He returned to New York and was snapped up by the famed Joseph Papp, head of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Here he gained a strong grounding in the classics, appearing in the likes of Coriolanus, and also gained experience off-Broadway. In one production of Laurence Holder's When The Chickens Come Home To Roost, at the Henry Street Theatre, he took on a role he would later reprise on the Silver Screen - that of Malcolm X. Then, he would be Oscar-nominated; for now, he had to be content with an Audelco award.
To support himself, he'd been a garbage man, he'd worked in factories and in the post office, he'd even worked the midnight shift at a record-processing plant. He'd suffered bad times and hunger, keeping his unemployment book to this day to remember how it was.
While his stage career was progressing, Denzel had also procured several TV roles. He'd made his debut in 1975 Wilma, about the sprinter Wilma Rudolph, who won three golds at the 1960 Olympics - Denzel playing one of her boyfriends. On-set, he met co-performer Pauletta Pearson, an actress, singer and pianist (she'd later appear in Beloved). The couple would marry in 1982 and have four children - John David, Katia and twins Malcolm and Olivia - renewing their vows in South Africa in 1995, in a ceremony officiated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Onscreen, Denzel also made an appearance in the controversial Flesh And Blood, where a mother, Suzanne Pleshette, continually seduced her son, Tom Berenger.
Washington made his feature film debut in the comedy A Carbon Copy (1981). In this film, he played the teenage and hitherto unknown son of white executive George Segal. George must try to incorporate this surprise newcomer into his life, with, hilarious consequences.
Later, Denzel returned to New York and the stage to play in A Soldier's Story. The play concerned a black soldier found dead outside a military base in Louisiana. The investigation, by a black lawyer, uncovers an extremely complicated and wholly unexpected situation. Denzel's character, Private First Class Melvin Peterson, was conspicuously involved somehow. Denzel, was superb, picking up an Obie for his efforts.
In 1982 Denzel came to the attention of the NBC. So, his big break came when he starred in the popular television hospital drama, St. Elsewhere. He was one of a few actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run. He played a young resident Doctor Phillip Chandler. This series, concerning the daily goings-on at St Eligius Hospital, was truly innovative, veering between bizarre humour and fraught drama; it could be considered as a predecessor of ER, Chicago Hope and even Northern Exposure. Starring alongside Denzel were Ed Begley Jr and ex-football star Mark Harmon (himself also an excellent Ted Bundy), with Helen Hunt appearing between 1984 and 1986.
In 1983, Washington married actress Pauletta Pearson (now Pauletta Washington), who he met on the set of his first screen role, Wilma. The couple has four children: John David (b. 1983), Katia (b. 1987), Olivia (b. 1991) and Malcolm (b. 1991) (named after Malcolm X). In 1995, the couple renewed their wedding vows in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiating.
In the meantime, he would use his summer breaks to slowly break into movies and, cannily, tried to pick the classiest projects he could. First came Norman Jewison's film adaptation of A Soldier's Story, with Denzel reprising his onstage role. Then came Sidney Lumet's Power, where Richard Gere starred as a seemingly omnipotent political spin-doctor who gets dragged into heavy-duty corruption. And then, in 1987, Washington starred as South African anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko in Richard Attenborough's Cry Freedom, a role for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Here Denzel playing the part of South African activist Steve Biko who, having inspired and influenced journalist Donald Woods with his integrity and charisma, is then murdered by the authorities. Woods (played by Kevin Kline) now has to sneak out of the country if he wants to write the story and, though white, faces the same perils as Biko.
Denzel doesn't often dwell on race issues in Hollywood. "I'm very proud to be black," he once said "but black is not all I am. That's my cultural historical background, my genetic makeup, but it's not all of who I am, nor is it the basis from which I answer every question". This he proved over his next eight roles - only acouple dealt overtly with racial politics, but all the roles were wildly different from the rest.
Next in 1988, he revealed an outstanding English accent in For Queen And Country, where he was an ex-soldier seeking respectable work in London, only to end up as a drug dealer's bodyguard.
In 1989 came The Mighty Quinn, where Denzel played a Jamaican cop whose dodgy mate Robert Townsend (who'd earlier appeared in A Soldier's Story) gets involved with murder and Mammon.
In 1989 too, he starred in Glory. Here, co-starring Matthew Broderick played the white leader of the first company of black volunteers in US military history, taking flak from both sides in the American Civil War. With very little experience, and trying desperately to maintain some order amongst men he does not understand at all, he struggles to discipline Denzel's rebellious Private Trip, a soldier who openly asks why these men should fight for a Union that views them the same way the Confederates do. In 1989, Washington won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing Private Trip in this film.
Director Edward Zwick has said of Denzel: "Whatever that mysterious electrochemical process is that makes the camera love someone, he has more of it than any one person should". In Glory, it really showed.
After Glory came Heart Condition, where Denzel played a slimy defence lawyer who's shot dead and has his heart transplanted into the body of arch-enemy cop Bob Hoskins, returning to haunt the little feller. In Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues he acted out the tempestuous career of self-obsessed trumpet-player Bleek Gilliam. In the Summer of 1990 he starred in Mira Nair's Mississippi Masala where he played Demetrius Williams, a young American carpet cleaner who begins a frowned-upon affair with the daughter of an Indian family who've just escaped Idi Amin's Uganda. In Ricochet, he was a straight-laced assistant DA who's framed and threatened by a sublimely beastly John Lithgow.
Washington played one of his most critically acclaimed roles in 1992's Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee. His performance as the Black Nationalist leader earned him an Oscar nomination. Both the influential film critic Roger Ebert and the highly-acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese called the movie one of the ten best films made during the 1990s.
Malcolm X transformed Washington's career, turning him, practically overnight, into one of Hollywood's most respected actors. He turned down several similar roles, such as an offer to play Martin Luther King, Jr., because he wanted to avoid being typecast.
After returning to his Shakespearian roots by playing Don Pedro in Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, there was a string of big, big movies. In 1993 came The Pelican Brief, where student Julia Roberts stumbles upon the sinister truth behind the murderof two Supreme Court judges and goes on the run, followed by Denzel's hungry journalist. That same year, came the heart-rending Philadelphia. Here Tom Hanks played a lawyer sacked for contracting AIDS, with Denzel as a homophobic lawyer who has to stand for him in court.
Then came Crimson Tide, with Denzel back in uniform as the First Officer on a nuclear sub who resorts to mutiny to stop gung-ho captain Gene Hackman from zapping the enemies and starting World War 3.
Then in 1995 came Virtuosity, with Denzel the only one capable of catching a virtual criminal (Russell Crowe), created from the personalities of 150 serial killers, who somehow escapes into the real world.
That same year came the sorely under-rated Devil In A Blue Dress where he played a private detective in post-WW2 LA, hired to track down some blue blood's fiancee who's scarpered off into the black area of town. In 1996 was Courage Under Fire, once again with Edward Zwick. Here it was back to the military with the D-Man as an officer, haunted by mistakes in his own past, who goes to investigate the Gulf War heroism, or otherwise, of the dead Meg Ryan.
In 1996 he starred The Preacher's Wife, Denzel played an angel who drops from Heaven to help out a minister whose marriage to Whitney Houston is on the rocks and whose church is being nicked by developer Gregory Hines. Then there was the 1998 Fallen. Here Denzel played a cop who catches killer Elias Koteas, sees him executed and is then freaked out to discover he's back.
That same year in Spike Lee's He Got Game, played the yellow-toothed, raggedy-headed, wife-killing father of a basketball prodigy who sneakily tries to get the boy to enrol at the Governor's own college in exchange for early parole.
Now Denzel's movies were uniformly high-budget (from Courage Under Fire on he was a $10 million a film man - and more). In The Siege, once again with Zwick, he was an anti-terrorist expert who battles with nutty general Bruce Willis when New York is attacked and the city is brought under martial law.
In 1999 there was The Bone Collector which made Denzel play as a bed-ridden quadriplegic detective who uses Angelina Jolie and a cool camera set-up to track down a serial murderer.
That same year, Washington starred in The Hurricane, a movie about boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, the subject of the famous Bob Dylan song, whose conviction for triple murder was overturned after he had spent almost 20 years in prison. Various newspaper articles have suggested that the controversy over the film’s accuracy may have cost Washington an Oscar for which he was nominated. Washington did receive a Golden Globe Award in 2000 and a 'Silberner Bär' (Silver Berlin Bear) at the Berlin International Film Festival for the role.
Denzel trained for a year to get into shape for the boxing sequences, at one point undergoing two hours boxing practice a day for six months with trainer Terry Claybon. He lost 40 pounds / 18 kg. This was by no means the first time he'd prepared for a part, he's actually renowned for his hardcore research. For The Pelican Brief, he spent months with a Washington reporter. For Glory he practised with Civil War re-enactors. For Philadelphia he interviewed many lawyers, including the notorious Johnny Cochran. And for Courage Under Fire he attended the National Training Centre at Fort Irwin where he endured battle games, listened to crashing tapes of tank battles from Desert Storm and also qualified to use a 120mm gun and drive an M1A1 tank.
He also presented the Arthur Ashe ESPY Award to Loretta Claiborne for her courage. He appeared as himself in the end of The Loretta Claiborne Story movie.
In 2000, Washington appeared in the crowd-pleasing Disney film, Remember the Titans, which grossed over $100 million at the United States box office. based on a true story about a black hero, this time Herman Boone, a football coach who took over a college side in Virginia in the early Seventies, immediately after racial integration was brought in.
He was nominated and won an Oscar for his next film, the 2001 cop thriller, Training Day, which was considered a change of pace for Washington, as he played a villainous character after many roles as a heroic lead. Here Ethan Hawke played a rookie in Narcotics who spends his first day on the job with Denzel's cynical Alonzo Harris, a cop who strays far from the straight and narrow in his quest to bust dealers.
After this would come the box-office success John Q, directed by Nick Cassavetes (whose dad, John had appeared in Flesh And Blood, one of Denzel's earliest movies). Here Denzel played a poverty-stricken father who can't afford his son's heart transplant op and so holds up the local ER and demands they do their thing there and then.
And then came Denzel's directorial debut, with 2002 Antwone Fisher, where Denzel played a Navy psychologist who brings an angry young man back from the edge of madness. It was a big step forward for Denzel who'd previously only directed the video for Bebe Winans' In Harm's Way.
Between 2003 and 2004, Washington appeared in a series of thrillers that performed generally well at the box office. First, 2003 would bring the complex noir thriller Out Of Time, where Washington played a Florida sheriff in the process of splitting from his detective wife, Eva Mendes. Hooking up with an old flame, he finds she has cancer (and a well-insured, wife-beating husband) and proceeds to steal impounded drug money to fund her cure. Before the treatment can begin, though, both flame and hubbie die in a house-fire and, with Mendes investigating, all the evidence points to Denzel.
Next came Man On Fire, directed by Tony Scott, where Denzel was hired to protect an industrialist's family in Mexico City, only to see daughter Dakota Fanning kidnapped. Tortured by his guilty military past and his present alcoholism, he goes after the bad guys with all guns (and rocket launchers and bombs) blazing.
The same year, 2004, brought another winner in The Manchurian Candidate, a remake of the Frank Sinatra paranoia-fest. Here Liev Schreiber, driven on by ruthless senator mum Meryl Streep, is pushing for high office, his credentials boosted by an act of heroism during the Gulf War. Washington would play one of the old army colleagues he supposedly saved, a man troubled by flashes of nightmare that contradict the official party line. He must dig deep into traumatic memories to find the truth then, under threat from shady and all-powerful corporate interests, reveal it to the people.
Denzel's planned next move, did not come to fruition. Signed up to reteam with his Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, for American Gangster (AKA Tru Blu), he was all set to play notorious Seventies drug lord Frank Lucas, with Benicio Del Toro also onboard. The screenplay, by Steve "Schindler's List" Zaillian, was excellent. But then disputes, rumoured to be over Universal's desire to cast Matt Damon, caused the project to collapse. Clauses in his contract meant that Denzel was still paid, apparently $20 million.
In 2005, after a 15-year hiatus (he was last seen in the summer of 1990 in the title role of the Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Richard III) , Washington appeared onstage again in another Shakespeare play as Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar on Broadway; it was in the New York's Belasco Theatre. The production's limited run was a consistent sell-out, averaging over 100% attendance capacity nightly despite receiving universally terrible reviews.
Later in 2006, Washington moved on to a reunion with Spike Lee for his next film Inside Man. Here criminal mastermind Clive Owen leads a raid on a bank that goes horribly wrong, Denzel playing a cop who must persuade Owen not to execute hostages while also preventing his escape. Complicating matters would be Jodie Foster as a mysterious official who insists on entering the bank to protect the secret contents of a safety deposit box.
Following this that same year, there'd be a further reunion, with Tony Scott who, with Man On Fire, had given Denzel his best ever box office opening weekend (he'd also directed him in Crimson Tide). This would be Deja Vu where Washington would play yet another government agent, this time one who can travel through time and does so in order to save the life of a woman who'll otherwise be murdered. It would be a fascinating and romantic sci-fi thriller, though its production was delayed when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
It must be mentioned also that in May 2006 his oldest son, John David, was drafted by the NFL's St. Louis Rams, after playing college ball at Morehouse.
He recently played as Frank Lucas, a real-life heroin kingpin from Harlem, in 2007 Ridley Scott's American Gangster, opposite Russell Crowe. Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan.
Next, directed and starred in The Great Debaters. A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
He will next be seen in 2009 as subway security chief Zach "Z" Garber in the remake of the 70's thriller, "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3", opposite John Travolta and directed by Tony Scott, and is attached to star as CIA super agent Brandon Scofield in the film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's Cold War spy thriller The Matarese Circle.
Washington and his family visited soldiers at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He later made a sizable donation to the Fisher Houses, small hotels that provide rooms for soldiers' families while the soldiers are hospitalized. In October 2006, he published a bestseller entitled Hand to Guide Me, featuring actors, politicians, athletes, and other public figures recalling their childhood mentors. The book was published in commemoration of the Boys and Girls Club of America's centennial anniversary, because Washington had participated in the club as a child.
On May 20, 2007, Washington received an honorary doctorate of humanities degree from Morehouse College.
Nowadays, Denzel spends as much time as he can with his family in an LA mansion once owned by William Holden; when he is not filming or working at his production company. This, called Mundy Lane Entertainment after the place Denzel grew up, debuted with Devil In A Blue Dress and has made well-received documentaries on Hank Aaron and Shaft-director Gordon Parks, both Emmy-nominated.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#77) (1995)
Has 4 Children: John David (b. July 28, 1984), Katia (b. 1987), and twins Malcolm and Olivia (b. 1991).
Son, Malcolm, was named in honor of Malcolm X.
To prepare for his role as boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter in The Hurricane (1999), Washington worked out for a year with L.A. boxing trainer Terry Claybon.
Attended Fordham University, receiving a B.A. in Journalism.
1996 Harvard Foundation Award
In a Newsweek cover story about the biological basis of the perception of beauty, he was used as a key example in a scientific explanation why he is considered an extremely handsome man.
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world (1990).
According to a 1995 Premiere magazine article, Denzel confronted director Quentin Tarantino when he visted the set of Crimson Tide (1995). Quentin had done an uncredited rewrite of the script. Denzel lambasted Tarantino about his use of racial slurs in his films. Tarantino got embarrassed and wanted to move the conversation to a more private area. Denzel said, "No, if were going to discuss it, let's discuss it now." Denzel later said he still felt that Quentin was "a fine artist".
Denzel is named after his father who was in turn named after the doctor, Doctor Denzel, who had delivered him.
In the early 1980s, years before he portrayed Malcolm X in the Spike Lee film Malcolm X (1992), Washington portrayed Malcolm in the off-Broadway production of "When the Chickens Came Home to Roost", at the Henry Street Theatre in NYC.
Frequent collaborator of Spike Lee.
Named one of E!'s "top 20 entertainers of 2001."
Supports charities such as the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and the Gathering Place (an AIDS hospice).
Met his wife Pauletta Washington in 1977 when both had small roles in the TV-movie Wilma (1977) (TV) (she was billed as Pauletta Pearson), the story of runner Wilma Rudolph. They wed five years later.
His father was a Pentecostal minister; his mother a beautician and former gospel singer. They divorced when he was 14.
Is a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, having been a member of the Boys Club once himself.
Only the second actor of color (after Sidney Poitier) to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (for Training Day (2001)). Poitier received the honorary Academy Award that same year.
Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
Ranked #28 in Premiere's 2003 annual Power 100 List. Had ranked #40 in 2002.
Often works with director Edward Zwick.
Cousin is CBS anchorman Ukee Washington.
He and his family are members of the same church as actors Dwayne Winstead, Sy Richardson, Marvin Wright-Bey, and Fitz Houston.
Was awarded the title of "Police Chief for a Day" when he was a member of The Boys and Girls Club of America as a child. The photo was shown during his latest appearance on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" (1989).
Tom Hanks said working with Washington on Philadelphia (1993) was like "going to film school". Hanks said he learned more about acting by watching Denzel than from anyone else.
When he was very young he was at a barber's shop with his mother and a nice old lady sitting in the corner asked his mother to write his full name down. When his mother asked why she said "Because he's going to entertain millions one day". His mother gave the old lady his name and it wasn't until later that they found out she was rumored to be some kind of local fortune teller.
Cites star-athletes like Jim Brown and Gale Sayers as the role models of his youth.
First studied Biology in hopes of becoming a doctor, then switched to Political Science then to a Journalism/Drama major in college.
Has worn some kind of military uniform in at least six of his films.
Ranked #59 on VH1's 100 Hottest Hotties
Because of his pay-or-play deal on the doomed 2005 "American Gangster" project (which was to be directed by Antoine Fuqua), he was paid $20 million even though the film did not move ahead.
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #39 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Chosen as People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive (1996)
First African-American actor to receive two Academy Awards
Has played two soldiers who have suffered traumatic, life-changing experiences while fighting in the 1991 Persian Gulf War: Lt. Col. Nathaniel Serling in Courage Under Fire (1996) and Maj. Ben Marco in The Manchurian Candidate (2004).
Though his first theatrical film was a comedy, Carbon Copy (1981), he has only done three more since. Has mentioned that he's always wanted to do a great one.
He and his family visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BAMC). There are some buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled most of the time. He was given a tour of one of the Fisher Houses and subsequent to his visit sent them one of the largest donations they've ever received.
His performance as Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992) is ranked #17 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Is the second of three children.
As of 2006, he is the most Oscar-winning (two) and most nominated (five) black actor/actress in Academy history.
Son John David Washington recently signed as a running back with the St. Louis Rams (May 2006).
Has two films on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time. They are: Glory (1989) at #31 and Philadelphia (1993) at #20.
Has worked with both Ridley Scott and Tony Scott. Ridley will direct him in the upcoming American Gangster (2007). He has worked with Ridley's brother, Tony, on three films, which are: Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), and Deja Vu (2006).
Turned down Se7en (1995). He opted to do another detective thriller that year, Devil in a Blue Dress (1995).
Claims his personal favorite performances are his works in Cry Freedom (1987), Glory (1989), Malcolm X (1992), and Training Day (2001).
Turned down the role of Detective David Mills in Se7en (1995).
Turned down the role of Cinque in Amistad (1997).
His daughter, Katia Washington, currently attends Yale University.
Good friends with actress Julia Roberts.
Voted as America's Favorite Movie Star in the 2006 and 2007 Harris Polls.
At one point, was to star as Dr. Alex Cross in Kiss the Girls (1997), had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.
He was presented with the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia on May 20, 2007.
Son of Lennis Washington, a beautician and former Gospel singer.
Almost every summer he and his family go to Italy on vacation.
For Courage Under Fire, he trained at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in California, where he qualified on the M1A1 tank and the 120mm gun, participated in battle games and listened to audiotapes of tank battles in Desert Storm.
To prepare for his attorney role in Philadelphia, he met with two lawyers who were about to become celebrities in their own right: Johnny Cochran and Carl Douglas.
He spent months on the beat with Washington Post reporters to prepare for The Pelican Brief.
Has worked with both Fanning sisters. He worked with Dakota Fanning in Man on Fire (2004); he worked with (although did not have any scenes with) Elle Fanning in Deja Vu (2006).
December 2007 - According to Forbes, for each dollar he got paid, his movies averaged $10 of gross income.
In 2006, he donated $1 million to Save Africa's Children.
When Washington won the Best Actor Oscar for Training Day (2001), Halle Berry won the Best Actress Oscar for Monster's Ball (2001), and Sidney Poitier won the Honorary award (2001), 2002 marked the first time in Academy Awards history that 3 African-Americans so dominated the Oscar ceremonies. 
He is a big fan of the TV show "Monk" (2002). He requested Ted Levine to play a part in American Gangster (2007) because he was a fan of the series. He also worked with Tony Shalhoub in The Siege (1998/I).
Named Gene Hackman, Angelina Jolie, and Dakota Fanning as the most talented actors he has ever worked with.
The actors he most wants to work with are Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. The director he most wants to work with is Martin Scorsese.
The offer he regrets turning down the most is Brad Pitt's role in Se7en (1995).
Was the original choice to play the title character in Blade (1998).
Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life.
Any good piece of material like Shakespeare ought to be open to reinterpretation.
Black or white good parts are hard to come by. A good actor with a good opportunity has a shot; without the opportunity it doesn't matter how good you are.
Dakota Fanning is a child, but she is a wonderful actor. I don't know what a child actor is. She's an actor who's a child.
Everybody has a job to do. There are people in Iraq on both sides of this war who do what they do for religious reasons, and they feel with God on their side. Some people are good at annihilating people. Maybe that's their gift.
Family is life; acting is making a living.
Growing up I didn't watch movies.
I and haven't been unemployed for 20 years. I'm an exception to the rule.
I don't concern myself with award. I'd been to the party enough times to know it really didn't matter.
I had a lot of success from the start. I never really was tested for long periods of time. I got my first professional job while I was a senior in college. I signed with the William Morris Agency before I graduated.
I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me - spiritually and financially.
I never really had the classic struggle. I had faith.
I played Othello, but I didn't sit around thinking how Laurence Olivier did it when he played it. That wouldn't do me any good.
I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it.
I think the bottom of the totem pole is African-American women, or women of colour. I think they get the least opportunities in Hollywood.
I wasn't allowed to go to movies when I was kid; my father was a minister. 101 Dalmatians and King of Kings, that was the extent of it.
I'd be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I'd been given. I'd be more frightened by procrastination and laziness.
I work hard for the audience. It's entertainment. I don't need validation.
I'm not a film buff. I don't watch a lot of movies.
I'm more experienced having directed one film and acted in many more.
I still have my unemployment books and I remember when I worked for the sanitation department and the post office.
I make enough movies.
I look back and say, I've been in some good movies! A lot of movies, too!
I'm not in the loop; I don't know any actors, really, just the ones I work with.
I've been fortunate. I don't pick scripts. Scripts pick me.
When they said my name, I said, 'There is no way I can go up here without sharing it with Rubin'. Everything that has happened with this film and this moment is about the love that has come from him.
I actually sat out in the audience a few times with my mother.
I'm an actor. It's not that deep.
It's only acting. Pressure is being a 20-year-old kid in Iraq with a gun slung over his shoulder.
When everyone was getting on with their lives, I was doing everything in my powers to shorten mine. In those situations everyone gets a tap on the shoulder at some point. Mine was starting to listen when I realised my mother really cared about me. (on his addiction to heroin when he was just 14-years-old)
I've worked in a factory. I was a garbage man. I worked in a post office. It's not that long ago. I like to think that I'm just a regular guy.
I've worked with children all my life.
I've made 26 films in 20 years.
I've been watching American Idol.
I've done so many war movies. I had done a lot of talking to psychiatrists.
If I am a cup maker, I'm interested in making the best cup I possibly can. My effort goes into that cup, not what people think about it.
I've been cleaning my closets, which is good. I gotta let stuff go. I'm throwing away papers, I'm taking time off.
I've been around the block.
I've always felt protected. That's the God's honest truth.
I'm not in the loop; I don't know any actors, really, just the ones I work with.
I'm not attracted to playing the role of a soldier. I guess there's more soldier and cop films made.
If you don't trust the pilot, don't go.
If you have an enemy, then learn and know your enemy, don't just be mad at him or her.
In any profession it gets to be a grind.
In Los Angeles, everyone is a star.
Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.
Meryl and Katharine Hepburn are probably the two greatest actresses of this and the last century.
Manchurian Global is like a Halliburton or a Enron or McDonalds. That's nothing new.
My mother never gave up one me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.
It's very difficult for women of any color in Hollywood. The men get older and the women get younger somehow.
It's easy to pick a Training Day or John Q!
If you're about to lose your child and there's nothing you can do about it, the pain won't go away with any amount of money.
It is just a movie. On the other hand, I see the impact that it has on people.
My mother used to tell me man gives the award, God gives the reward. I don't need another plaque.
My career for a long time has been about the business of doing something about the anger that I felt, and through the roles I play, I am not as upset because I understand what I'm up against.
You worry about where the camera's going to be, let me worry about being heavy.
My role 14 years ago in Richard III - that was the first time I played a bad guy and learned a lot about it - they have all the fun!
One good thing about acting in film is that it's good therapy.
The last few years I've been saying I was ready to quit. It wasn't that interesting to me. Now that I'm directing, it's all new again.
The poorest people are the sweetest people.
People don't come over to the house. My wife socializes, not me. I don't have a lot of friends.
Outside Fiddler on the Roof, I don't think I've ever done a picture 2 hours and 25 minutes.
The Hunger is a film I really liked. It didn't do well artistically or financially.
The NAACP has been very active in Los Angeles, and they've been putting a lot of pressure on the studios to hire more people.
The time to worrying about flying is when you're on the ground. When you're up in the air, it's too late. No point in worrying about it then.
When I did A Soldier's Story, I was very young and green and thought I knew everything-now I know I know everything!
When I was a child I thought I saw an angel. It had wings and kinda looked like my sister. I opened the door so some light could come into the room, and it sort of faded away. My mother said it was probably my Guardian Angel.
When people protest and are upset with a movie, it becomes a big hit. They hated Passion of The Christ, it worked out pretty well for the box office. So let's get that going.
Where I think the most work needs to be done is behind the camera, not in front of it.
War is the most extreme circumstance and it makes for heightened drama.
There's a struggle to do regular things because it's not a normal situation. I just do it anyway, I don't care.
Van Gogh was out there and burning up in the sun and I dug that, nobody bought any of his paintings and now look at him.
You don't know when you're being watched. That's one of the weird things about celebrity. It's my least favorite part of acting, celebrity.
Working on Cry Freedom was wonderful in that I got to go to Africa for the first time, and that was an amazing thing. But in terms of the role itself, I don't have a favourite.
You have to grab moments when they happen. I like to improvise and ad lib.
When people protest and are upset with a movie, it becomes a big hit. They hated Passion of The Christ, it worked out pretty well for the box office. So let's get that going.
You never know how you're going to affect people.
You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's a part of it.
Trabajos Realizados / Logros:
Often portrays real people: Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in The Hurricane (1999), Malcolm X in Malcolm X (1992), Herman Boone in Remember the Titans (2000), Frank Lucas in American Gangster (2007), Steve Biko in Cry Freedom (1987), and Melvin Tolson in The Great Debaters (2007).
Frequently plays military men and law enforcement officers.