What happened to Denzel Washington

Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is an American actor, producer and director. In a career spanning over four decades, Washington has received numerous accolades, including a Tony Award, two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and two Silver Bears.[1] He was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2019, and in 2020 The New York Times named him the greatest actor of the 21st century.[2] In 2022, Washington received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

After training at the American Conservatory Theater, Washington began his career in theatre, acting in performances off-Broadway. He first came to prominence in the NBC medical drama series St. Elsewhere (1982–1988), and in the war film A Soldier’s Story (1984). Washington won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an American Civil War soldier in Glory (1989) and for Best Actor for playing a corrupt cop in Training Day (2001).[3] His other Oscar-nominated roles were in Cry Freedom (1987), Malcolm X (1992), The Hurricane (1999), Flight (2012), Fences (2015), Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) and The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021).

He established himself as a leading man with starring roles in Mo’ Better Blues (1990), Mississippi Masala (1991), Philadelphia (1993), Courage Under Fire (1996), Remember the Titans (2000), Man on Fire (2004), Inside Man (2006), and American Gangster (2007). He starred in The Equalizer trilogy (2014–2023). Washington directed and starred in the films Antwone Fisher (2002), The Great Debaters (2007), and Fences (2015).

Washington made his Broadway debut in Checkmates (1988). He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for starring in the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s play Fences in 2010. He later directed, produced, and starred in the film adaptation in 2016. Washington has since returned to Broadway in the revivals of Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun (2014) and the Eugene O’Neill play The Iceman Cometh (2018).

Early life and education
Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born in Mount Vernon, New York, on December 28, 1954. His mother, Lennis “Lynne”, was a beauty parlor owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem, New York.[4][5][6][7] His father, Denzel Hayes Washington Sr., a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, was an ordained Pentecostal minister, who was also an employee of the New York City Water Department, and worked at a local S. Klein department store.

Washington attended Pennington-Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon until 1968. When he was 14, his parents divorced and his mother sent him to the private preparatory school Oakland Military Academy in New Windsor, New York. Washington later said, “That decision changed my life, because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I was hanging out with at the time, my running buddies, have now done maybe 40 years combined in the penitentiary. They were nice guys, but the streets got them.”[8] After Oakland, he attended Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, from 1970 to 1971.[5]

He was interested in attending Texas Tech University: “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.”[9] Instead, he earned a BA in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University in 1977.[10] At Fordham, he played collegiate basketball as a guard[11] under coach P. J. Carlesimo.[12] After a period of indecision on which major to study and taking a semester off, Washington worked as creative arts director of the overnight summer camp at Camp Sloane YMCA in Lakeville, Connecticut. He participated in a staff talent show for the campers and a colleague suggested he try acting.[13]

Returning to Fordham that fall with a renewed purpose, Washington enrolled at the Lincoln Center campus to study acting, where he was cast in the title roles in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and Shakespeare’s Othello. He then attended graduate school at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, where he stayed for one year before returning to New York to begin a professional acting career.[14]

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