Two-time Academy Award -winning actor
(Robert "Bobby" Trench) is a
man constantly on the move.
Never comfortable repeating
himself or his successes,
Washington always searches
for new challenges through
his numerous and varied
film and stage portrayals.
From embittered runaway
slave Trip, in Glory, to South African freedom fighter
Steve Biko, in Cry Freedom; from Shakespeare's tragic
historical figure Richard III to rogue detective Alonzo
Harris, in Training Day, Washington has amazed and
entertained audiences with a rich array of characters
distinctly his own.
Washington started off 2012 starring in Universal
Pictures' action-thriller Safe House, directed by Daniel
Espinosa. The film opened to more than $40 million in its
first weekend and was the second largest of Washington's
career. In his most recent role, Washington starred in
Robert Zemeckis' Flight, for Paramount Pictures. His
performance in Flight brought him Academy Award ,
Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.
In the spring of 2010, Washington made his return
to Broadway where he appeared opposite Viola Davis
in a 14-week run of August Wilson's Fences. His
powerful performance as Troy, a one-time baseball star
turned sanitation worker who struggles to reconcile his
past and present, earned him his first Tony Award, as
well as a Tony Award for both the play and Davis. Also
in 2010, Warner Bros. Pictures released Book of Eli,
a postapocalyptic Western that tells the story of one
man's fight across America to protect a sacred book
that contains the secrets to rescuing mankind. Prior
to that, Washington appeared alongside John Travolta
in Tony Scott's remake of the 1974 film The Taking of
Pelham 1 2 3, for Columbia Pictures. Pelham tells the
dramatic story of a subway dispatcher (Washington)
who receives a ransom call from a hijacker (Travolta)
who has taken control of one of the trains.
In late December 2007, Washington directed and
co-starred with Academy Award -winning actor Forest
Whitaker in The Great Debaters, a drama based on the
true story of Melvin B. Tolson -- a professor at Wiley
College in Texas who, in 1935, inspired students from
the school's debate team to challenge Harvard in the
In November 2007, Washington starred alongside
Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's American Gangster.
The film grossed $43.6 million in its first weekend and
earned Washington his largest opening weekend to date.
In March 2006, Washington starred in Spike Lee's
Inside Man. The film, which co-starred Clive Owen
and Jodie Foster, took in $29 million in its opening
weekend. As 2006 came to an end, Washington thrilled
audiences yet again in Touchstone Pictures' Deja Vu,
which reteamed him with director Tony Scott. In this
flashback romantic thriller, Washington plays an ATF
agent who travels back in time to save a woman from
being murdered, falling in love with her in the process.
Washington returned to his theater roots in 2005,
where he starred on Broadway as Marcus Brutus in
Julius Caesar. The show was well received by critics
and fans alike.
In 2004, Washington collaborated with Tony Scott
for Man on Fire, in which Washington plays an exmarine
who has been hired to protect a young girl,
played by Dakota Fanning, from kidnappers. That
same year, Washington was seen in Jonathan Demme's
The Manchurian Candidate, a modern-day remake of
the 1962 classic film for Paramount Pictures, which
co-starred Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber. In the
film, Washington starred in the role made famous by
In 2003, Washington was seen in MGM's murder mystery
thriller Out of Time, which was directed by
Carl Franklin and co-starred Eva Mendes and Sanaa
Lathan. He played a Florida police chief who must
solve a double homicide before he falls under suspicion
for the murders himself.
December 2002 marked Washington's feature
film directorial debut with Antwone Fisher. The
film, based on a true-life story and inspired by the
best-selling autobiography, "Finding Fish," follows
Fisher, a troubled young sailor played by Derek
Luke, as he comes to terms with his past. The film
won critical praise, was awarded the Stanley Kramer
Award from the Producers Guild of America and
won NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Motion
Picture and Outstanding Supporting Actor. Also in
2002, Washington was seen in John Q, a story about
a down-on-his-luck father whose son is in need of
a heart transplant. The film established an openingday
record for Presidents' Day weekend, grossing
$24.1 million. The film garnered Washington an
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a
One of Washington's most critically acclaimed
performances to date was his Academy Award -
winning performance in Antoine Fuqua's Training Day.
The story revolves around a grizzled LAPD veteran
(Washington), who shows a rookie narcotics cop (Ethan
Hawke), the ropes on his first day of the soul-city beat.
The film was only one of two in 2001 that spent two
weeks at the No. 1 spot at the box-office.
In September 2000, Washington starred in Jerry
Bruckheimer's box-office sensation Remember the
Titans, which took in $115 million at the domestic
box-office. Earlier that year, he starred in Universal
Pictures' The Hurricane, reteaming with director
Norman Jewison. Washington received a Golden
Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in
a Motion Picture -- Drama and his fourth Academy
Award nomination for his performance.
In November 1999, Washington starred in Universal
Pictures' The Bone Collector, the adaptation of Jeffery
Deaver's novel about the search for a serial killer,
which co-starred Angelina Jolie and was directed by
In 1998, Washington starred in the Warner Bros.
Pictures crime thriller Fallen for director Greg Hoblit,
and in Spike Lee's He Got Game, for Touchstone. He
reteamed with director Ed Zwick in the 20th Century
Fox terrorist thriller The Siege, which co-starred
Annette Bening and Bruce Willis.
In the summer of 1996, Washington starred in the
critically acclaimed military drama Courage Under
Fire, for Glory director Edward Zwick. Later that
year, he starred opposite Whitney Houston in Penny
Marshall's romantic comedy The Preacher's Wife.
In 1995, Washington starred opposite Gene
Hackman as Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ron Hunter in Tony Scott's
underwater action-adventure Crimson Tide; as Parker
Barnes, an ex-cop released from prison to track down
a computer-generated criminal, in the futuristic thriller
Virtuosity; and as World War II veteran Ezekiel "Easy"
Rawlins, in the 1940s romantic thriller Devil in a Blue
Dress, which Washington's Mundy Lane Entertainment
produced with Jonathan Demme's Clinica Estetico.
Another critically acclaimed performance was
his portrayal of Malcolm X in director Spike Lee's
biographical epic, Malcolm X. For his portrayal,
Washington received a number of accolades, including
an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
In addition to his accomplishments on screen,
Washington took on very different types of roles in
2000. He produced the HBO documentary Half Past
Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, which
was subsequently nominated for two Primetime
Emmy Awards. He served as executive producer on
Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, a biographical
documentary for TBS, which was nominated for a
Primetime Emmy Award. Additionally, Washington's
narration of the legend of John Henry was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award in the category of Best
Spoken Word Album for Children, and he was awarded
the 1996 NAACP Image Award for his performance
in the animated children's special Happily Ever After:
Fairy Tales for Every Child.
A native of Mt. Vernon, New York, Washington
had his career sights set on medicine when he attended
Fordham University. During a stint as a summer
camp counselor, he appeared in one of their theater
productions. Washington was bitten by the acting bug
and returned to Fordham that year seeking the tutelage
of Robinson Stone, one of the school's leading professors.
Upon graduation from Fordham, Washington was
accepted into San Francisco's prestigious American
Conservatory Theater. Following an intensive year
of study in their theater program, he returned to New
York after a brief stop in Los Angeles.
Washington's professional New York theater career
began with Joseph Papp's Shakespeare in the Park
and was quickly followed by numerous off-Broadway
productions, including Ceremonies in Dark Old Men;
When the Chickens Came Home to Roost, in which he
portrayed Malcolm X; One Tiger to a Hill; Man and
Superman; Othello; and A Soldier's Play, for which
he won an Obie Award. Washington's more recent
stage appearances include the Broadway production of
Checkmates and Richard III, which was produced as part
of the 1990 Free Shakespeare in the Park series hosted
by Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York City.
In 1979, Washington was "discovered" by Hollywood
when he was cast in the television film Flesh & Blood.
But it was Washington's award-winning performance on
stage in A Soldier's Play that captured the attention of the
producers of the NBC television series St. Elsewhere,
and he was soon cast in that long-running hit series as
Dr. Philip Chandler. His other television credits include
The George McKenna Story, License to Kill and Wilma.
In 1982, Washington recreated his role from A
Soldier's Play for Norman Jewison's film version.
Retitled A Soldier's Story, Washington's portrayal of
Pfc. Peterson was critically well-received. Washington
went on to star in Sidney Lumet's Power; Richard
Attenborough's Cry Freedom, for which he received
his first Academy Award nomination; For Queen
and Country; The Mighty Quinn; Heart Condition;
Glory, for which he won the Academy Award for
Best Supporting Actor; and Spike Lee's Mo' Better
Blues. Washington also starred in the action-adventure
film, Ricochet, and in Mira Nair's bittersweet comedy
Additional film credits include Kenneth Branagh's
film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing; Jonathan
Demme's controversial Philadelphia, with Tom Hanks;
and The Pelican Brief, based on the John Grisham novel.
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