Real name: Denzel Washington
Birthdate: December 28, 1954
Partner: Pauletta Pearson
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Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is a two-time Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning American actor and director. He has garnered much critical acclaim for his portrayals of several real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, and Herman Boone.
Washington was born in Mount Vernon, New York. His father, Dillwyn, Virginia-born Reverend Denzel Washington, was an ordained Pentecostal minister and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, "S. Klein". His mother, Lennis, was a beauty parlor owner born in Georgia and raised in Harlem. When Washington was fourteen, his parents' marriage took a turn for the worse, and he, his older sister and younger brother were sent away to boarding school so that they would not be exposed to their parents' eventual divorce. He attended grammar school at Pennington Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon.
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.
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.
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.
In 1983, Washington married actress Pauletta Pearson (now Pauletta Washington), whom he met on the set of his first screen role, Wilma. The couple have four children: John David (b. July 28, 1984), who signed a football contract with the St. Louis Rams in May 2006 after playing college football at Morehouse; Katia (b. November 1987), who is attending Yale University, and twins Olivia and Malcolm (b. April 10, 1991). In 1995, the couple renewed their wedding vows in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiating.
On May 20, 2007 Washington received an honorary doctorate of humanities degree from Morehouse College.