One of Hollywood's sexiest and most magnetic leading men, Denzel Washington's poise and radiantly sane intelligence permeate whatever film he is in, be it a socially conscious drama, biopic, or suspense thriller. More importantly, Washington's efforts, alongside those of director Spike Lee, have done much to dramatically expand the range of dramatic roles given to African-American actors and actresses.
The son of a Pentecostal minister and a hairdresser, Washington was born in Mount Vernon, NY, on December 28, 1954. His parents' professions shaped Washington's early ambition to launch himself into show business: from his minister father he learned the power of performance, while hours in his mother's salon (listening to stories) gave him a love of storytelling. Unfortunately, when Washington was 14, his folks' marriage took a turn for the worse, and he and his older sister were sent away to boarding school so that they would not be exposed to their parents' eventual divorce.