Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York. When Denzel was 14 years old, his parents, beauty shop owner Lennis and Pentecostal minister/municipal worker Denzel Washington, Sr., split.
Denzel’s mother sent him to Oakland Military Academy in New Windsor, New York after the divorce. That decision would later be credited with saving the actor’s life. He and his closest pals were on the verge of committing suicide before departing for military school. Washington revealed in an interview with Parade Magazine that their pals served a total of nearly 40 years in prison.
Denzel went to Fordham University in New York City and played basketball there. He took a semester off to think about his future plans and decide on a major. He worked at a YMCA camp for a summer during that time.
Denzel’s performance in a camp talent competition wowed the kids and his coworkers to the point where one of them suggested he try acting. He continued studying acting when he returned to Fordham that fall and finished with a BA in drama and journalism in 1977.
Washington was awarded a full scholarship at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, but after a year, he returned to New York to pursue acting professionally. He had previously starred on stage, but his first on-screen performance was in the made-for-television film Wilma in 1977.
Several smaller stage and television appearances followed, but Washington’s big break came in 1982 when he was cast in the hit medical drama St. Elsewhere. He played Dr. Phillip Chandler throughout the whole six-year run of the show.
Box Office Successes
Washington’s star swiftly increased when films like Malcolm X, The Pelican Brief, Philadelphia, and Courage Under Fire showcased his extraordinary talent. He was soon earning a lot of money from his movie roles. He earned $7.5 million for the science fiction picture Virtuosity in 1995. He earned $12 million for his roles in the films Fallen and The Siege in 1998, as well as his Oscar-winning performance in Training Day in 2001. Denzel Washington now earns more than $60 million per year.
Honors and Awards
Washington was nominated for an Academy Prize for Best Supporting Actor in the anti-apartheid film Cry Freedom in 1988, and he won the same award in 1989 for his work in Glory.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Malcolm X in 1992, and he was nominated again in 1999 for The Hurricane, for which he also won. He finally won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Part for his role in Training Day in 2002, becoming only the second African-American actor to do so.
In the same year, he starred in the Disney football drama Remember the Titans, which grossed over $100 million in theaters and earned him a Black Reel Award and an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor. Denzel received the Cecil B. Demille Lifetime Achievement Award from the Golden Globes in 2016.
Despite never completing graduate school, the actor has been awarded three honorary doctorates. The first was from Fordham University in 1991, for “impressively succeeding in exploring the edge of his multi-faceted creativity.” He received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Morehouse College in 2007 and an honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011.
Career as a director and producer
Washington made his directorial debut in 2002 with Antwone Fisher and has since directed The Great Debaters (2007) and Fences (2016). He has also produced a number of films and television shows, including The Book of Eli and The Equalizer.
Denzel’s debut film, the made-for-television sports drama Wilma, provided him with more than just a career break; he also met his wife on set. In 1983, he married Pauletta Pearson, with whom he had four children.
Washington, a devoted Christian, has explored becoming a preacher and has even considered leaving acting to seek a career in the church. Fortunately for his followers, he has chosen to remain in Hollywood, but he claims to study the Bible every day.
Denzel Washington, Oliver Stone, and Michael Moore were among a group of American artists and intellectuals who enlisted the support of Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces in 2006. They pleaded with the group to assist them in persuading then-President George W. Bush to free 600 imprisoned insurgents in exchange for 62 Colombian hostages.
Denzel Washington’s net worth and salary
Denzel Washington has a net worth of $280 million as an actor, screenwriter, producer, and director in the United States.
Denzel and his wife custom-built a huge mansion on an undeveloped site in the affluent gated community of Beverly Park, high in the Beverly Hills hills, in the late 1990s. The main residence is 30,000 square feet in size. The guest home has a total area of 5,000 square feet. The adjoining home of Mark Wahlberg is comparable. In April 2022, Mark put his mansion on the market for $87.5 million.
Denzel and his wife purchased an 8,000 square-foot, 6-bedroom condo in Century City, California for little under $11 million in April 2022. HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, one of the late Saudi Arabian King Faisal’s numerous granddaughters, was the seller.