Washington was born on Dec. 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He attended the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco on scholarship after graduating from Fordham University in 1977. After only a year at the conservatory, he decided to focus solely on his career and left to work with the Shakespeare in the Park ensemble; with this group, he appeared in several productions and TV shows. Washington made his film debut in 1981 when he starred in "A Carbon Copy." He also played the role of Dr. Phillip Chandler from 1982 to 1988 in the TV medical drama "St Elsewhere."
The actor's career took a positive turn when he received an Oscar nomination for his role in "Cry Freedom" in 1987. He proceeded to receive an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor when he starred in "Glory" two years later. Washington was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor when he starred in Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" in 1992. Washington starred in numerous other films, some of which required him to make changes in his lifestyle in order to accurately fit the role he would play. For instance, in "The Hurricane," released in 1999, he lost 60 pounds and spent approximately eight hours a day learning to throw 80 punches in a minute in order to play boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the movie's main character. His efforts earned him a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Washington's recent films include "Remember the Titans" (2000), "Training Day" (2001), "John Q" (2002), "Out of Time" (2003), "Man on Fire" (2004) and "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004). Washington also directed and starred in "Antwone Fisher" (2002).
The actor currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Pauletta Pearson and their five children.
Information has been compiled from Biography.com.
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