Tall, strikingly handsome leading man of films and television in the 1980s and 1990s, Denzel Washington was born in 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He was the middle child of the 3 children of a Pentecostal minister father and a beautician mother. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University intent on a career in journalism. However, he caught the acting bug while appearing in student drama productions and, upon graduation, he moved to San Francisco and enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater. He left A.C.T. after only 1 year to seek work as an actor. With his acting versatility and powerful sexual presence, he had no difficulty finding work in numerous television productions. He made his first big screen appearance in Carbon Copy (1981) with George Segal. Through the 1980s, he worked in both movies and television and was chosen for the plum role of "Dr. Chandler" in NBC's hit medical series "St. Elsewhere" (1982), a role that he would play for 6 years. In 1989, he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of "Tripp", the runaway slave in Edward Zwick's powerful historical masterpiece Glory (1989).
Through the 1990s, Denzel co-starred in such big budget productions as The Pelican Brief (1993); Philadelphia (1993); Crimson Tide (1995); The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Courage Under Fire (1996) - a role for which he was paid $10 million. He lives quietly in Los Angeles with his wife, Pauletta Washington, and their 4 children. Cerebral and meticulous in his film work, he made his debut as a director in 2002 with Antwone Fisher (2002).