Date of Birth: December 28th 1954
Washington went on to college, attaining a B.A. in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University in 1977. At Fordham he played collegiate basketball under coach P. J. Carlesimo. He still found time to pursue his interest in acting, and after graduation he went to San Francisco, where he won a scholarship to the American Conservatory Theatre.
Shortly after graduating from Fordham, Washington made his professional acting debut in the 1977 made-for-television movie Wilma. He made his film debut in the 1981 film Carbon Copy. His big break came when he starred in the popular television hospital drama, St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988. He was one of a few actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run. In 1987, after appearing in several minor television, film and stage roles, 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. In 1989, Washington won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing a defiant, self-possessed ex-slave in the film Glory. Also that same year, he gave a powerful performance as Reuben James, a Caribbean-born man who turned from a British Army paratrooper into a vigilante in For Queen and Country.
While filming the 1995 film, Virtuosity, Washington refused to kiss his white female co-star, Kelly Lynch, during a romantic scene between their characters. During an interview, Lynch stated that while she wanted to, "Denzel felt very strongly about it. I felt there is no problem with interracial romance. But Denzel felt strongly that the white males, who were the target audience of this movie, would not want to see him kiss a white woman." Lynch further stated, "That's a shame. I feel badly about it. I keep thinking that the world's changed, but it hasn't changed quick enough". A similar situation also occurred during the filming of The Pelican Brief when Julia Roberts expressed in an interview her desire to have her character in the film engaged in a romantic relationship with Washington's character. And an additional occurrence was in the 1989 film The Mighty Quinn where Washington's Quinn character did not kiss Mimi Rogers' alluring Hadley character. However, in 1998, Washington starred in a scene of a sexual nature with actress Milla Jovovich, in Spike Lee's He Got Game.
In 1999, Washington starred in The Hurricane, a movie about boxer Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, 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.
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. Washington is often cited as an example of human physical attractiveness due to the symmetry of his facial features.
After appearing in 2002's box office success, the Health care-themed John Q., Washington directed his first film, a well-reviewed drama called Antwone Fisher, in which he also co-starred.
Between 2003 and 2004, Washington appeared in a series of thrillers that performed generally well at the box office, including Out of Time, Man on Fire and The Manchurian Candidate. In 2006 he starred in Inside Man, a Spike Lee-directed bank heist thriller co-starring Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, and Déjà Vu released in November 2006. Next he was working with Russell Crowe in the film American Gangster.
Washington made a rare stage appearance in 2005 as Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar on Broadway. The production's limited run was a sell-out despite receiving universally terrible reviews.