While a camp counselor in Lakeville, CT, took his first turn onstage during a talent show
Theatrical debut in Fordham University production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Emperor Jones"
TV-movie debut in "Wilma" (CBS), biography of Olympic runner Wilma Rudolph; future wife Pauletta Pearson also acted in telefilm
Acted in CBS miniseries "Flesh and Blood"
Appeared in New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) production of "Coriolanus"
Worked in New York with New Federal Theater and Negro Ensemble Company
Feature film debut in "Carbon Copy"
First time playing Malcolm Shabazz (aka Malcolm X) in New Federal Theater stage production of "When the Chicken Comes Home to Roost"
Originated role of PFC Melvin Peterson in Charles Fuller's Pulitzer-winning "A Soldier's Play" at the Negro Ensemble Theater
TV series debut as regular playing Dr Phillip Chandler on the NBC medical drama "St. Elsewhere"
Earned critical praise for reprising Peterson in Norman Jewison's film "A Soldier's Story"; adapted from Fuller's play
Selected by director Sidney Lumet for the role of a public relations executive in "Power"; part was originally written for a white man
Portrayed martyred South African leader Steven Biko in Richard Attenborogh's "Cry Freedom"; earning first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe nomination
Made Broadway debut in disastrous run of Ron Milner's "Checkmates"
First time headlining a feature, the British film "For Queen and Country"
U.S. debut as feature lead, "The Mighty Quinn"
Earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work as the defiant slave-turned-soldier in "Glory"; first film with director Edward Zwick
Opened Georgia, a restaurant in Los Angeles
Founded Mundy Lane Entertainment, named for the street on which he grew up
Initial collaboration with director Spike Lee, "Mo' Better Blues" playing jazz musician Bleek Gilliam
Essayed title role in NYSF production of "Richard III"
Excelled as a carpet salesman in the small art film "Mississippi Masala"
Played the Black Nationalist leader in "Malcolm X"; second film with Lee; garnered Best Actor Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations
Portrayed ambulance-chasing lawyer who, inspite of his own homophobia, agrees to represent an AIDS-stricken lawyer (Tom Hanks) who claims discrimination in his dismissal from a law firm in Jonathan Demme's "Philadelphia"
Acted opposite Julia Roberts in "The Pelican Brief"
Displayed his Shakespearean chops as Don Pedro in Kenneth Brannagh's film adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing"
Starred in Carl Franklin's film noir, "The Devil in a Blue Dress"; first feature produced under the auspices of his production company Mundy Lane
Executive produced the TV documentary "Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream" (TBS)
Headlined the adventure-thriller "Crimson Tide"; teamed him with Gene Hackman
Acted opposite Whitney Houston in Penny Marshall's "The Preacher's Wife"
Re-teamed with Zwick for "Courage Under Fire"
Made directing debut with "In Harm's Way," a music video for the Winans
Re-teamed with Lee for "He Got Game"
Third film with Edward Zwick, "The Siege"
Delivered a convincing turn as a paralyzed NYC criminologist who helps solve the identity of a serial killer in "The Bone Collector"
Played former middleweight boxer Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter in Norman Jewison's "Hurricane"; received Best Actor Academy Award and SAG nominations
Starred in Boaz Yakin's "Remember the Titans"; film was based on the true story of a newly-integrated high school football team in the South going on to a state championship
Was one of the producers of the documentary "Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks"
Undertook villainous role as a cop on the take paired with a rookie (Ethan Hawke) in "Training Day"; received Best Actor Golden Globe and SAG nominations
Starred in "John Q" as a man who confronts an HMO that withholds treatment from his ill child
Feature directorial debut, "The Antwone Fisher Story"; also co-starred
Portrayed Chief Detective Matt Whitlock in the thriller "Out of Time"
Starred opposite Dakota Fanning in Tony Scott's "Man on Fire"
Cast in the role of Bennet Marco, originally played by Frank Sinatra, in remake of "The Manchurian Candidate"
Starred as Brutus in the Broadway production of "Julius Caesar"
Re-teamed with director Spike Lee for the fourth time to star in the hostage drama "Inside Man"
Re-teamed with director Tony Scott for the thriller, "Deja Vu"
Cast as Frank Lucas, a real-life 70's heroin kingpin in the Ridley Scott directed "American Gangster"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor
Directed (also acted) "The Great Debaters"; a true story based on the Wiley College debate team in the 1930s
Once again teamed with Tony Scott for the remake of "The Taking of Pelham 123"
Played the lead role in "The Book of Eli," a post-apocalyptic drama directed by the Hughes brothers
Starred in the Broadway revival of August Wilson¿s "Fences"
Re-teamed with Tony Scott for "Unstoppable"
Played a fugitive on the run with a CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) in "Safe House"
Starred in Robert Zemeckis directed drama "Flight"