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, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University intent on a career in journalism. However, he caught the acting bug while appearing in student drama productions and upon graduation he moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater. He left A.C.T. after only 1 year to seek work as an actor. With his acting versatility and powerful sexual presense, he had no difficulty finding work in numerous television productions. He made his first big screen appearance in Carbon Copy (1981) with George Segal. Through the 1980s he worked in both movies and television and was chosen for the plum role of Dr. Chandler in NBC's hit medical series "St. Elsewhere" (1982), a role that he would play for 6 years. In 1989 he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Tripp, the runaway slave in Ed Swick's powerful historical masterpiece Glory (1989).
Through the 1990s Denzel co-starred in such big budget productions as Pelican Brief, The (1993); Philadelphia (1993); Crimson Tide (1995); Preacher's Wife, The (1996); and Courage Under Fire (1996) - a role for which he was paid $10 million. He lives quietly in Los Angeles with his wife Pauletta and their 4 children. Cerebral and meticulous in his film work, he made his debut as a director in 1999 with Finding Fish (2001)
In 2001, he became the second African American to win the best actor oscar for Training Day.