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Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: December 28, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mount Vernon, New York, USA Profession: Cast ...
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"[Washington] auditioned late, but as soon as I saw him I knew he was Peterson. What was striking about Denzel right from the first was his presence, his ability to create a positive persona but also its opposite--that hint of mystery and threat. It's an interesting combination that gives him a wonderful range of possibilities." --Douglas Turner Ward, founder and artistic director of the Negro Ensemble Company and director of "A Soldier's Play", recalling Washington in The Boston Globe, August 5, 1990.

"Denzel Washington, who has become the reigning black-male sex symbol of his generation ... is fashion-model handsome, with a body that's a lean, athletic dream. ... His appeal, though, is rooted in the beckoning gentleness of his stare. When he smiles, exposing a slight overbite, he radiates seductive ardor rather than narcissism." --Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly, February 14, 1992.

Washington received a honorary degree from Fordham University (1991).

He also received the Spencer Tracy Award from UCLA for his body of work in 1993.

About working with him in "The Pelican Brief": "It was like working with the Beatles. I'd come out of the trailer, and there'd be four guys going, you know, 'Hey, Julia, babe' ... Denzel comes out ... and (there were) 200 women screaming.

"Referring to Denzel Washington as simply sexy is like saying Ernest Hemingway was a good fisherman." --Julia Roberts quoted in People, July 29, 1996.

According to a 1998 Harris Poll, Washington was the 10th most popular movie star, male or female. No other black actor made the top 40.

"It's no coincidence that as the Oscars come around, there's a lot more British actresses being nominated than American. And I think it's because they get better training. When we did 'Much Ado About Nothing' it was almost embarrassing to hear everybody talking about what they were going to do next. All the British actors were talking about the theatre work they were off to do, while the Americans were doing movies next. That was the trouble at that time, the Brits were prepared but had no place to showcase. We've got the showcase, but we're not as prepared." --Denzel Washington, quoted in Neon, May 1998.

When in South Africa, Washington spontaneously gave $1 million to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

As a spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Washington can often be found in inner-city neighborhoods hanging out with kids. "It makes me sad. A lot of young kids think they have to be hard. You look a little deeper and you see that they're really just looking for love. They're looking for respect. But they think they have to be hard to be accepted. I know better. I grew up with murder and mayhem, too, but I turned it into a positive." --Washington to Cindy Pearlman in The Chicago Sun-Times, January 21, 1998.

About the importance of family in his life: "Acting is not life; those children are life ... I don't want to be that person who says, 'Oh, God, I wasn't there. I was more thinking about me than them. My career has been enhanced by family, stability, having birthday parties. If I didn't have a family, what would I be doing this weekend?" --Washington quoted in USA Weekend, January 9-11, 1998.

About making his directorial debut: "It was the fear of the unknown. But now I'm hooked. I just won the Academy Award, but I can tell you, this was more exciting than that."-- Washington Premiere September 2002

"People ask me a lot about this Oscar and what it means and I'm like, I won one 13 years ago and to me there is no difference in supporting and best actor. It's like writers. If they gave out an Oscar for writing an article should a 1000 word article be a supporting writer and a 2000 word article a leading article, what's the difference? That doesn't mean that the leading writer is a better writer. So I really feel that way and it was not more of a thrill the first time. All of those things, the responsibility or fears and all that, I think were more acute 13 years ago for me than now."---Washington to www.darkhorizons.com October 1, 2003

"I love Denzel's obsessive quality and his internal darkness. There's a hardness to Denzel that's really interesting. He knows how to draw it out and use it effectively."---director Tony Scott to Toronto Sun, April 18, 2004.

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