Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and film producer. He first rose to prominence when he joined the cast of the medical drama, St. Elsewhere, playing Dr. Philip Chandler for six years. He has received much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone.
Washington has received two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe awards, and a Tony Award. He is notable for winning the Best Supporting Actor for Glory in 1989; and the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2001 for his role in the film Training Day.
In 2000, Washington appeared in the Disney film Remember the Titans which grossed over $100 million at the United States box office.
When Washington won a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Movie in 2000, as he noted: "No African-American has won best actor in the Golden Globes since Sidney Poitier, until I did". That made him the first Black actor to win the award in 36 years.
He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in his next film, the 2001 cop thriller Training Day as Detective Alonzo Harris, a rogue Los Angeles cop with questionable law-enforcement tactics. Washington was the second African-American performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, the first being Sidney Poitier who happened to receive an Honorary Academy Award the same night that Washington won. Washington holds the record (five so far) for most Oscar nominations by an actor of African descent, along with Morgan Freeman since 2009.
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.
Between 2003 and 2004, Washington appeared in a series of thrillers that performed generally well at the box office, including Out of Time, Man on Fire, and The Manchurian Candidate. In 2006, he starred in Inside Man, a Spike Lee-directed bank heist thriller co-starring Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, and Déjà Vu released in November 2006.
In 2006, Denzel worked alongside multi-talented Irish off-rock band The Script on their new project combining music and Hollywood. The hybrid of genres was critically acclaimed but didn't receive much mainstream attention due to a legal conflicts between The Script's record label and Denzel's studio commitments.
In 2007, he co-starred with Russell Crowe in American Gangster. Washington directed and starred in the drama The Great Debaters with Forest Whitaker. Washington next appeared in the 2009 film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, a remake of the 1974 thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, directed by Tony Scott as New York City subway security chief Walter Garber opposite John Travolta