Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington


12/28/1954, Mount Vernon, New York

Birth Name

Denzel Washington


out of 10
User Rating
129 votes


Tall, strikingly handsome leading man of films and television in the 1980s and 1990s, Denzel Washington was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was the middle child of the 3 children of a Pentecostal minister father and a beautician mother. After graduating from high school,…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Denzel turned down the role of the title character in Michael Clayton.

    • Along with Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel voiced a character in a new audio version of the Bible, which was released in two segments; The New Testament, released in 2006 and The Old Testament, released in 2007.

    • Denzel has been nominated for three SAG Awards. In 2000, he was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for The Hurricane, in 2002, he was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for Training Day and in 2008 he was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for American Gangster.

    • Denzel has been nominated for six Golden Globes. In 1988, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for Cry Freedom. In 1990, he won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Glory. In 1993, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for Malcolm X. In 2000, he won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for The Hurricane. In 2002, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for Training Day. In 2008, he was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for American Gangster.

    • Denzel has been nominated for two Emmys. In 1995, he was nominated for Outstanding Informational Special for Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. In 2001, he was nominated for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special for Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks.

    • Denzel was chosen as People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive in 1996. He was also chosen as one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2007.

    • Denzel was listed in the #1 position in the annual Harris Poll of America's top ten favourite movie stars in 2006.

    • Denzel revealed in January 2007 that he turned down the lead role in Love Field with Michelle Pfeiffer after finding the script to be racist.

    • Denzel turned down a love scene with Julia Roberts because she wasn't black. Denzel was cast opposite Julia in The Pelican Brief, but refused to take part in the sex scene in the original script out of loyalty to his female African-American fans.

    • Denzel became addicted to heroin after his parents divorced when he was 14, but beat his addiction before he was 20.

    • Denzel was the first African-American to win two Academy Awards and the third African-American to win an Oscar.

    • Premiere Magazine voted Denzel as the 39th greatest actor of all times.

    • Denzel is a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

    • Denzel met his wife in 1977 when they both had roles in the TV movie Wilma.

    • Denzel is an active contributor to many charities such as the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and The Gathering Place (an AIDS hospice).

    • Denzel was selected as one of the top 20 entertainers by E! in 2001.

    • Denzel collaborated on 3 different films with Spike Lee.

    • Denzel was named after the doctor who delivered him.

    • Denzel and director Quentin Tarantino got into an argument on the set regarding Tarantino's use of racial slurs.

    • In 1990 People Magazine chose Denzel one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world.

    • Newsweek did an article on the "Biological Basis of the Perceptions of Beauty". Newsweek used Denzel as the example for what an extremely handsome man is.

    • Denzel was awarded the Harvard Foundation Award in 1996.

    • Denzel studied Journalism and received a BA in that field from Fordham University.

    • In the movie The Hurricane, Denzel trained for a year with Los Angeles-based boxing trainer Terry Claybon.

    • Denzel's son was named after Malcolm X.

    • Denzel is married to Pauletta Washington. They got married on June 25, 1983. They have 4 children: John David (1985), Katia (1988) and a set of twins Malcolm and Olivia (1991).

    • Denzel enjoys portraying "real people." He played Reuben Carter in The Hurricane and Malcolm X in Malcolm X.

  • Quotes

    • Denzel Washington: (on turning down the lead role in Love Field) It was nigger this and nigger that. I wasn't going to be one of many niggers in a film.

    • Denzel Washington: (on refusing to do a love scene with Julia Roberts in The Pelican Brief) Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film. And they have always been my core audience.

    • Denzel Washington: (on actors who complain about the pressure of fame) It's only acting. Pressure is being a 20-year-old kid in Iraq with a gun slung over his shoulder.

    • Denzel Washington: (on his addiction to heroin when he was just 14-years-old) 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.

    • Denzel Washington: You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's a part of it.

    • Denzel Washington: You have to grab moments when they happen. I like to improvise and ad lib.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: Where I think the most work needs to be done is behind the camera, not in front of it.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: When I did A Soldier's Story, I was very young and green and thought I knew everything - now I know I know everything!

    • Denzel Washington: War is the most extreme circumstance and it makes for heightened drama.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: There's a struggle to do regular things because it's not a normal situation. I just do it anyway, I don't care.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: The poorest people are the sweetest people.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: The Hunger is a film I really liked. It didn't do well artistically or financially.

    • Denzel Washington: People don't come over to the house. My wife socializes, not me. I don't have a lot of friends.

    • Denzel Washington: Outside Fiddler on the Roof, I don't think I've ever done a picture 2 hours and 25 minutes.

    • Denzel Washington: One good thing about acting in film is that it's good therapy.

    • Denzel Washington: 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!

    • Denzel Washington: My mother used to tell me man gives the award, God gives the reward. I don't need another plaque.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: Manchurian Global is like a Halliburton or a Enron or McDonalds. That's nothing new.

    • Denzel Washington: It's very difficult for women of any color in Hollywood. The men get older and the women get younger somehow.

    • Denzel Washington: It's easy to pick a Training Day or John Q!

    • Denzel Washington: It's a movie, so everything's heightened. The stakes are higher.

    • Denzel Washington: In Los Angeles, everyone is a star.

    • Denzel Washington: In any profession it gets to be a grind.

    • Denzel Washington: Imagine that: a movie about smart people.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: If you take the time and effort to write your own material and absolutely refuse to be denied the right to make your film, it is difficult whatever color you are.

    • Denzel Washington: If you have an enemy, then learn and know your enemy, don't just be mad at him or her.

    • Denzel Washington: If there can be considered racism, it's to do with the lack of opportunities for writers and producers and the people behind the camera.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: I've worked with children all my life.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: I've made three films with Spike and I've made two with Norman. I will continue to work with both of them. I love working with both of them.

    • Denzel Washington: I've done so many war movies. I had done a lot of talking to psychiatrists.

    • Denzel Washington: I've been fortunate. I don't pick scripts. Scripts pick me.

    • Denzel Washington: I've been cleaning my closets, which is good. I gotta let stuff go. I'm throwing away papers, I'm taking time off.

    • Denzel Washington: I've always felt protected. That's the God's honest truth.

    • Denzel Washington: I'm not in the loop; I don't know any actors, really, just the ones I work with.

    • Denzel Washington: I'm not attracted to playing the role of a soldier. I guess there's more soldier and cop films made.

    • Denzel Washington: I'm not a film buff. I don't watch a lot of movies.

    • Denzel Washington: I'm more experienced having directed one film and acted in many more.

    • Denzel Washington: I'm an actor. It's not that deep.

    • Denzel Washington: I'd be more frightened by not using whatever abilities I'd been given. I'd be more frightened by procrastination and laziness.

    • Denzel Washington: I work hard for the audience. It's entertainment. I don't need validation.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: I still have my unemployment books and I remember when I worked for the sanitation department and the post office.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: I never really had the classic struggle. I had faith.

    • Denzel Washington: I make enough movies.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: I look back and say, I've been in some good movies! A lot of movies, too!

    • Denzel Washington: I just try to be honest and true to the character and play the part.

    • Denzel Washington: I just directed my first film and I've got this great new movie. I'm just enjoying life.

    • Denzel Washington: I have to see the movie with an audience.

    • Denzel Washington: I have four children.

    • Denzel Washington: I have a new respect for filmmakers, that's for sure, 'cause it's not easy. If I'm allowed to, I'll be directing for the rest of my life. I love the process.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: I gotta win at something!

    • Denzel Washington: I go to football games with my kids. Basically, I'm a driver and assistant coach.

    • Denzel Washington: I get nervous when a picture goes beyond two hours.

    • Denzel Washington: I don't want to say I don't care, but I don't know what people are going to think and I don't do it for what I think they're going to think.

    • Denzel Washington: I don't think some college student is going to change his mind from graduating to killing someone because of this movie. I don't give a movie that much credit.

    • Denzel Washington: I don't think a national health care system will be the solution. But as we all know, there are obviously a lot of people who fall between the cracks in the system we have now.

    • Denzel Washington: I don't like running around for two weeks without saying anything, ducking. I don't care for it-fight scenes and all, it's just not for me. I'm getting too old for that stuff. It hurts.

    • Denzel Washington: I don't concern myself with award. I'd been to the party enough times to know it really didn't matter.

    • Denzel Washington: I didn't want to be known as Mr Biography. There was no plan. Who knew when I met Richard Attenborough, when he asked me to do Cry Freedom, what the future held?

    • Denzel Washington: I haven't been unemployed for 20 years. I'm an exception to the rule.

    • Denzel Washington: He is Rubin Hurricane Carter, so the Hurricane part of him I came to know in myself through the boxing training. I found out that I liked to fight, didn't mind inflicting pain, didn't want to get hurt, but I had it in me.

    • Denzel Washington: Growing up I didn't watch movies.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: 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.

    • Denzel Washington: Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life.

    • Denzel Washington: At the post office, they give you three hours of work, and you try to make it last eight hours!

    • Denzel Washington: Any good piece of material like Shakespeare ought to be open to reinterpretation.

    • Denzel Washington: It's about one of the biggest and most notorious drug dealers in the history of America, Frank Lucas and a New York detective, Richie Roberts, who tracks him down.

    • Denzel Washington: I want to be responsible. If I give you $50 million, it's because I want my money to come back. Not because I like your haircut

    • Denzel Washington: We just go. It's a shorthand. It's familiar

    • Denzel Washington: Don't get comfortable in here, sport

    • Denzel Washington: The hat kept the sun off of me but, to be honest, it's a handle. I worked the hat. We had one hat and one tie, by the way. I don't know if anyone knows this, but by the last scene in the movie at the restaurant, the hat is falling apart

    • Denzel Washington: I'm on a plane tonight. No partying tonight. I gotta hit it, I gotta do what I gotta do so I can do what I want to do. I gotta work. They call it show business

    • Denzel Washington: If there is a political message I don't know what it is. Don't rob a bank

    • Denzel Washington: Spike really started me on this path many moons ago. Now, it really helps me do my job. [Improvising] helps me work

    • Denzel Washington: Part of the reason I liked the idea of doing the film was that it was very wordy. I was getting good practice playing Brutus. So 'Inside Man' felt a bit like Shakespeare goes to the streets or something

    • Denzel Washington: I've heard (the rumors). Having babies, I've left home and all this... I'm a big boy. I can take it. But what bothers me about all of that stuff is the effect on the family

    • Denzel Washington: It's hard because a lot of people expect me to be a certain way,'' says J.D., whose face is a bit fuller, yet sounds strikingly like his father

    • Denzel Washington: [Roberts, who starred opposite Washington in] The Pelican Brief, ... the best actor of this generation, hands down.

    • Denzel Washington: 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

    • Denzel Washington: A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, 'Oh, I don't like it'. One might say 'It's the best muffin ever made'. One might say 'It's an awful muffin'. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin.

    • Denzel Washington: I really want my father's life to be portrayed honestly. I don't want people getting drawn into the theatre because they want to see the last scene where he's shot and killed.

    • Denzel Washington: Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life.

    • Denzel Washington: My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.

    • Denzel Washington: I'm very proud to be black, 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.

  • amazing actor

    No other way to put it: He shows us time and time again, how acting is supposed to be done! In acting class, they should just show clips of Denzel. What an extraordinary actor. And he's a genuinely good man too! He has a stable family life, and he always seems so calm when i see him being interviewed! He always makes a movie interesting! i never grow tired of his performances in Inside man, The great debaters, Manchurian Candidate, Deja Vu, American Gangster (not usually my kind of movie, but i watched it for Denzel, i was not dissapointed!), and of course, the classic remember the titans.moreless
  • A great actor.

    Denzel Washington is a great actor. I've seen many of his movies and I have to say that my favorite Denzel Washington movie would have to be Remember the Titans. He was very charismatic and stole the show. It was one of his finest performances and he made the movie that much better. I also like his other movies, but I feel that this one made an inspirational impression on me. He was also great in Training Day, American Gangster, and John Q. I thought that he again stole the show and made the movies entertaining. One thing I have to say is that he is never boring. Thank you.moreless