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"Acting is just a way of making a living, the family is life."

If you ask a woman on the street who the most handsome actor today is, more likely than not, she will tell you Denzel Washington. If you ask some men, they might just tell you the same.

Born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York, Denzel was raised by a Pentecostal father and a beautician mother. Growing up within his father's ministry, Denzel observed the ways he would capture the audience. In addition to this, Denzel's mother, a hairdresser, would allow him to tag along in the shop where gossip and storytelling filled the air. Theses two worlds would soon create a desire in Denzel to act.

Throughout his teenage years, Denzel's family separated as a result of his parents' divorce. Along with his older sister, Denzel was sent to a private boarding school in order to avoid exposure to the turmoil within his home. After graduating high school, Denzel studied journalism at Fordham University. Meanwhile, he found local drama productions to star in. He graduated with his BA in 1977 and moved on to practicing theater in San Francisco. Later he won a scholarship to the American Conservatory Theater. There, he blew the minds of his professors who saw him as a ‘natural'. One year later, Denzel left the Conservatory to master several roles on TV shows such as St. Elsewhere where he starred as Doctor Phillip Chandler.

Once Hollywood spotted Denzel's amazing acting abilities as a rising star, he was offered an overflow of film roles. He won an Oscar for the best Supporting Actor in the film Glory. However, Denzel's weaknesses began to surface in roles where he starred as the lead action hero. His most notable qualities, poise and confidence, were highlighted in drama films. Today Denzel Washington takes pride in helping younger stars such as Will Smith. Denzel has worked with directors such as Spike Lee and has starred in unforgettable movies like The Hurricane, Training Day and John Q,

The Denzel Standard:
Unlike most actors and actresses that seek to get paid, Denzel Washington sets a high standard that casts a bright light on his dignifying character. Rather than choosing any given role to star in, Denzel already has a vision for what issues he wants his audiences to consider when watching him in his films. He is a man of principle and grace, one who takes pride in starring roles that not only demonstrate respect, but acknowledge his self–respect. Personally, Denzel distances himself from roles that involve kissing men or sleeping with white women. For a man that knows so much of what he wants for himself, Denzel has positioned himself in a path of success and personal contentment.

FURTHER READINGS
Brode, Douglas. Denzel Washington: His Films and Career. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Group, 1997.
Current Biography Yearbook. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1992.
"Denzel Washington, Black Matinee Idol." Washington, D.C., Times, February 2, 1990.
Nelson, Jill. "No More Mr. Nice Guy?" USA Weekend (9-11 January 1996): 45.
Salzman, Jack, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, eds. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. New York: Macmillan Library Reference USA/Simon and Schuster Macmillan, 1996.
Who's Who among African Americans, 1996-97. 9th ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.