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Denzel Washington - Hollywood's Treasure

Updated on July 1, 2012

Denzel Washington is one of the most talented and renowned actors in the world today. And for good reason too.

He's been acting since the early 1970s, and has starred in some of the most action packed, heart wrenching and beautiful movies of our time.

His striking features and enormous talent aren't all that make this actor a household name.

An actor who is adored by millions, Denzel is also widely known for his humble manner, and his devotion to his wife of almost 30 years and their 4 children.


Who is Denzel Washington?

  • Full name is Denzel Hayes Washington Jr
  • Born on 28 December 1954 in New York, USA
  • He is 6"0 feet tall
  • Nickname is "D"
  • His father was a Reverend
  • His mother was a beautician
  • He received a BA in Journalism
  • He discovered his love for acting after appearing in several student drama productions



The Book of Eli
The Book of Eli

Family Life

  • He met his wife Pauletta in 1977 when they both had small roles in the TV-movie Wilma
  • In 1983 they got married
  • They have 4 children - John David, Katia, Malcolm and Olivia
  • In 1995 the couple renewed their wedding vows in South Africa
  • He is very religious and a devout Christian
  • He is a New York Yankees fan

Denzel and his wife of almost 30 years, Pauletta
Denzel and his wife of almost 30 years, Pauletta
One of his most popular movies - Training Day
One of his most popular movies - Training Day
Remember the Titans
Remember the Titans
Out of Time
Out of Time

Career Life

  • Before studying Journalism, he had hopes of becoming a Doctor
  • In 1996 he was chosen as People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive
  • He is the first African American actor to receive two Academy Awards
  • He regrets turning down the role that Brad Pitt played in Se7en
  • He was to star as Dr. Alex Cross in Kiss the Girls, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. The role eventually went to Morgan Freeman.
  • In 2005, after 15 years away from theater he starred in Julius Caesar on Broadway
  • He often portrays real people in his movies, and this can be seen in The Hurricane, Malcolm X, Remember the Titans, American Gangster, Cry Freedom and The Great Debaters.
  • He worked out for a full year with an LA boxing trainer for his role in The Hurricane
  • Named as one of the Top 20 Entertainers of 2001 by E!
  • He has played two real life soldiers who suffered traumatic, life-changing experiences while fighting in the Persian Gulf War: Lt. Col. Nathaniel Serling in Courage Under Fire, and Maj. Ben Marco in The Manchurian Candidate.
  • He has only starred in 4 comedies in his entire movie career
  • He turned down the role of Cinque in Amistad
  • He is good friends with Julia Roberts
  • To prepare for his role in The Pelican Brief, he spent a few months on the beat with the Washington Post
  • He was the original choice to play the lead role in Blade
  • He turned down the role of Michael Clayton, that went to George Clooney
  • He performed all of his own stunts in The Book of Eli



A scene from The Pelican Brief
A scene from The Pelican Brief

Denzel's Most Famous Movies

Year
Movie
Role
1981
Carbon Copy
Roger Porter
1984
License to Kill
Martin Sawyer
1987
Cry Freedom
Steve Biko
1989
Glory
Pvt. Trip
1992
Malcolm X
Malcolm X
1993
The Pelican Brief
Gray Grantham
1993
Philadelphia
Joe Miller
1995
Crimson
Lt. Commander
1996
Courage Under Fire
Lt. Colonel Nathaniel Serling
1996
The Preacher's Wife
Dudley
1998
The Siege
Special Agent Anthony "Hub" Hubbard FBI
1999
The Bone Collector
Lincoln Rhyme
1999
The Hurricane
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter
2000
Remember the Titans
Coach Herman Boone
2001
Training Day
Detective Alonzo Harris
2002
John Q
John Quincy Archibald
2002
Antwone Fisher
Dr. Jerome Davenport
2003
Out of Time
Police Chief Matthias Lee
2004
Man on Fire
John Creasy
2004
The Manchurian Candidate
Major Ben Marco
2006
Inside Man
Detective Keith Frazier
2007
American Gangster
Frank Lucas
2009
The Taking of Pelham 123
Walter Garber
2010
The Book of Eli
Eli
2010
Unstoppable
Frank Barnes
2012
Safe House
Tobin Frost
A scene from Remember the Titans
A scene from Remember the Titans

Which is your favourite Denzel Washington movie of all time?

See results

Charity Donations

Denzel Washington supports a number of charities on a regular basis. Below are just a few that he has supported over the years:

  • Artists for a New South Africa
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Elevate Hope Foundation
  • Farm Sanctuary
  • Fisher House Foundation
  • Hillsides
  • Keep A Child Alive
  • Luke Neuhedel Foundation
  • Nelson Mandela Children's Fund
  • Project Angel Food
  • Save Africa's Children

One of his best performances in Safe House

Comments

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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Wow I can even hear his amazing unique voice as I look at his photos and read your great hub! I love him and the hub!

    • caramellatte profile image

      caramellatte 5 years ago

      Cool hub! He got a new movie coming out where he plays a pilot.

    • Gina Baxter profile image

      Gina Baxter 5 years ago

      I really like this hub, and your tribute to a rarity- a truly nice guy in Hollywood.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

      Great tribute to not only one of the finest actors, but a very good man!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this reminder of how much i like Denzel

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Angela - I feel the same way, there is just something so captivating about Denzel Washington, even by just looking at his picture. Thanks for the comment! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi caramellatte - thank you! :) I'll definitely be checking out his new movie when it gets to SA. I've never seen him in a role playing a pilot - that's go to be good! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Gina - there are so few actors today who are genuinely good people, and Denzel is one of them. He is truly a world class actor and a person. Thanks for your comment :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Dexter - Few actors can compare to his talent and to what type of a person he is behind the scenes. And a marriage that spans almost 30 years?! Very inspiring! Thanks for reading :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Mhatter99 - thank you so much for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub :)

    • meched profile image

      meched 5 years ago from San Jacinto

      love Denzel and all the work he does outside of his acting career

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi meched - it's not often you find someone with such great talent, but who is a genuinely good person outside of acting and not just in it for the money. Thanks for reading :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Really fascinating look at a lovely actor, I am not sure if you mentioned it above, but my favorite film of his is Fallen, the one where he has to catch a dead serial killer who passes his soul to everybody he touches, love his films! great hub, cheers nell

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Nell - thanks for reminding me about Fallen. I have seen that movie, but years ago. I remember what it was about but forgot the name of the movie, it was brilliant though! I really can't think of any of his movies that are so-so. He is just that captivating and talented. Thanks for your comment :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Denzel Washington is on of my favorite guys in Hollywood. The bone collector is one of my best films.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Vinaya - That's also one of my favourite movies! It's brilliant. Actually, any movie with Denzel in it is brilliant! Thanks for your comment :)

    • profile image

      cheri 5 years ago

      Denzel Washington is an outstanding actor and I have seen all the movies listed above. There was one movie that wasn't listed about that i though he did a wonderful job in and that was Deja vu. But his most awarding winning in my book goes to these movies : Philadelphia, Antwone Fisher, and John Q. You could feel the emotion and intensity in his character roles and that is what makes him such a wonderful actor. These movies made me smile one moment , then made me cry the next , he really knows how to bring in his audience into his movies.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      @cheri - This is also what I love about Denzel Washington, he has the ability to play people that are so real, with such emotion and conviction that you are totally captivated by his performance. I haven't seen one more I didn't like him in. Thanks for your comment! :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I have yet to see a movie starring Denzel that I didn't like. I've seen most of his movies and John Q. is my favorite, but actually they are all number one with me. I didn't know he was originally supposed to play Alex Cross in Kiss The Girls! He would have rocked that role just like Morgan Freeman did (and Ashly Judd!) Fantastic tribute to "D."

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Sunshine! I would be honoured to meet this man in real life - his work is truly spectacular and he seems to be genuinely a good person and family man. Not a lot of Hollywood A-Listers who can claim the same. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

    • profile image

      mindamora 5 years ago

      I never followed any actor in my life but only him..he is good in everything he does..I love him as a person,as an actor,he is great....I love him so much...

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi mindamora - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think he is also brilliant in whatever he does - there is just something special about him, and his acting capabilities. I'm glad you enjoyed this article :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      I'm a big fan of Denzel.. he has such talent and integrity. He always gives 100% even in movies where the script lets him down. Great hub, Mel. voted up/shared and tweeted.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I stopped by to visit Denzel once again. One could never have too much of Denzel. I shared this work of art among other fans! :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I have not seen Safe House. I enjoy seeing this great actor Denzel. He is truly one of a kind.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc. will share and Pin, too.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      I really admire his acting. He is really convincing. I always enjoy watching his movies.

      Voted up and interesting!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You chose a great subject and Denzel Washington and I enjoyed the layout you used in creating this hub. The layout makes it very easy on the eye.

      Great hub; voted up and Shared.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 4 years ago

      I love this actor, he is right up there with two other of my favourites. Al Pacino and Robert De Nero. I have seen most of DW's movies and I am always spellbound by his acting ability and talent. Thank you for sharing this delightful article about a great actor.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      You're right Mohan, sometimes the script does let him down, but a true professional - he pulls out all the stops to give a stellar performance as always. He's fantastic. Thanks for your comment, vote and sharing! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Lol Linda! Indeed, I am with you there - too much Denzel is never enough! Thanks for popping in again and sharing ;)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Mary! If you get the chance, and you enjoy suspense/thriller/action movies, you should make a plan to rent Safe House. (It was shot in Cape Town :) ) And, it has Ryan Reynolds in it! Thanks for the comment and for sharing, I appreciate it!

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi ignugent17 - I agree, he is totally convincing in every, single role he plays. Whether he's the good guy or the bad guy. I loved watching him take on the bad guy role in Training Day. Thanks for your comment and for reading :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi L.L. Woodard - What a great compliment to receive regarding the layout and subject matter, thank you so much! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Vincent, those are two incredible actors to be compared to - but, he is just that good! I enjoy watching him in any role, and I don't think there's a single movie of his I've seen that I didn't like - he's that convincing. Thanks for reading and for your comment - glad you enjoyed the hub! :)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Denzel is one of my favorite people and actors.Each role he plays makes me forget I'm watching a movie. This is a wonderful tribute to this man. Wish he could see it. Up, across and sharing!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi MelChi,

      I must say Denzel is a really talented actor, Training Day is my favorite from his list of great movies. I like his humility and determination in many movies that he has acted. Voted up and useful.

    • Angela Kane profile image

      Angela Kane 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      I don't think there is a movie Denzel Washington has done that I don't like. I have seen all of his movies and they are the only ones I can watch over and over again.

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 4 years ago from USA

      He is a class act actor. I have liked most of his movie roles.

    • Anil and Honey profile image

      Anil 4 years ago from Kerala

      Very interesting and useful hub I appreciate your hard work dear.

      with love,

      Anilandhoney.

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you vocalcoach! What a lovely compliment! :) You're right...he does have that ability, to make you forget that you're watching a movie - he draws you right in there with him, whether it be an action, gripping drama or thriller. I think he'll always be my favourite actor. Thanks for sharing!

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi dwachira - Training Day is also one of my favourites, it was so refreshing to see him in the role of the "bad guy", - he really pulled it off! Loved it! Thanks for reading and for your comment - always good to hear that there are so many Denzel fans out there :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Angela, I'm with you there - I also can't think of a single one of his movies that I haven't liked. We don't have any of his movies in our DVD collection unfortunately, but I think I'm going to have to make a plan soon! Thanks for reading and for your comment :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi alphagirl - Thanks so much for stopping in to comment. Yes - I agree, he is indeed a serious class act! :)

    • MelChi profile image
      Author

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Anilandhoney - Thank you for stopping in to read about Denzel, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

    • Man of Honour profile image

      Man of Honour 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      One of my favourite actors of all time. Such on screen charisma and depth. I love Denzel and nearly everyone of his movies except one. Is it just me or did anyone else not like Training day?

      I Loved him in Remember the Titans but the one movie he really affected me in was He Got Game (Directed by Spike Lee) his performance and character brought me to tears. Must see for anyone and everyone He Got Game.

      Thanks again for the great Hub

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