Hollywood actor, Denzel Washington gives top Nigerian celebrities a run for their money in the popularity game even in their own backyards. The African-American Actor is a Hollywood sweetheart who connects to his fans on a deeper level with his acting roles.
Compared to Samuel L. Jackson and Wesley Snipes, Washington is probably the most esteemed and experienced black actor in the history of Hollywood.
Denzel Washington is a versatile and seasoned actor who has starred, directed and produced a total of 64 movies. That may not sound as much as you’d expect compared to his contemporaries who have more filmography under their belts. But for Denzel, almost every movie was a hit back to back which is why his net worth stands at $280 million.
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Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1954, to an ordained Pentecostal Minister, Denzel Hayes Washington Sr., and beauty parlor owner, Lennis ‘Lynne’. After graduating from the Oakland Military Academy in New York, he attended Fordham University where he graduated with a BA in drama and journalism in 1977.
Shortly after graduation, he took up the role of creative director at the YMCA in Connecticut, where his stunning stage presence during a staff talent show caused his colleagues to talk him into acting. Which, as his extraordinary filmography can give credence to, he did. After his time at YMCA, he returned to Fordham University to study acting full-time with the intent of pursuing acting professionally.
From Prodigy to expert
Though he began mainly in stage plays in 1977, his TV debut, in the 1981 comedy-drama, Carbon Copy, alongside George Segal and Susan Saint James, grossed $9 million. The figure is not bad for a debutant, considering its value in 1981 was much different from present-day. Stretching his range from the early days of his career, Dnezel featured in NBC medical drama series, St. Elsewhere. sharing center stage with Mark Harmon, Howie Mandel, and Ed Begley Jr. The series reeled in $22.7 million between 1982-1988.
Denzel’s career continued to grow at a meteoric pace. in 1984 he landed a lead actor role in the mystery drama film, A Soldier’s Story when he was just 30. The 1984 movie was an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Soldier’s Play, which Denzel also starred in as Private First Class Melvin Peterson in 1981. Starring alongside Samuel L Jackson and Patti LaBelle. According to Therichest, it grossed over $21 million at the box office. Then in 1986, he appeared as Arnold Billings in the political drama film, Power, next to Richard Gere, Gene Hackman, and Kate Capshaw.
The following year in 1987, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the South African anti-apartheid political activist, Steven Biko, in Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom. He ended his first decade of acting strong with another Academy Award-winning performance as Private Silas Trip in the historic war drama, Glory, along with a slew of other talented actors, such as Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman, and Andre Braugher. The film was a success, grossing $27 million against an $18 million budget.
Washington has received nine Academy Award nominations winning once for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Edward Zwick Civil War film Glory (1989), and Best Actor for Antoine Fuqua’s crime thriller Training Day (2001). He has also received two Tony Award nominations for his work on the Broadway stage. He won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance as Troy Maxon in the August Wilson play Fences (2010). He has also received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his work in television and a Grammy Award nomination.
He has received nine Golden Globe Award nominations winning twice for his performances in Glory (1989) and The Hurricane (1999). He received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2016. He has also received seven Screen Actors Guild Award nominations winning for Best Actor for his performance in the film adaptation of Fences (2015) which he also directed.
After owning Hollywood for decades as an actor, Denzel tilted his focus from acting to directing and filmmaking and a few of his projects recorded huge turnovers! Of them was Antoine Fisher, a 2002 biographical drama that grossed $23.4 million a the box office. He also directed The Great Debaters, a 2007 biographical film about the Willey College debate team. Washington also acted in the movie, alongside Forest Whitaker, Denzel Whitaker, Nate Parker, and Jurnee Smollett. In 2016, he added Fences to his director’s resume, a drama film adapted from August Wilson’s play, Fences, which reeled in $64.4 million internationally.
As a producer, Denzel has also lent his creative genius to movies such as the post-apocalyptic action film, The Book of Eli (2010), which grossed $157.1 million as well as The Eqaulizer (2014), which grossed $192.3 million. During his career up to the present day, Denzel Washington has starred in, directed, and produced a total of 64 movies.