The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On TV - BY JAY BOBBIN

Denzel Hayes Wash­ing­ton Jr. was born on Dec. 28, 1954, in Mount Ver­non, N.Y. His par­ents di­vorced when he was 14, and Wash­ing­ton cred­its his be­ing sent to a mil­i­tary academy with sway­ing him from a street life he “wouldn’t have sur­vived.”

Though he played bas­ket­ball at Ford­ham Univer­sity, Wash­ing­ton earned a de­gree in drama and jour­nal­ism. He de­cided to pur­sue act­ing fully af­ter work­ing for a sum­mer at a Con­necti­cut camp, later at­tend­ing grad­u­ate school at San Fran­cisco’s famed Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tory The­ater.

Early projects for Wash­ing­ton in­cluded the movie “Car­bon Copy” and “A Sol­dier’s Play,” which he reprised on screen as “A Sol­dier’s Story.” He found steady work on the NBC hospi­tal drama “St. Else­where,” branch­ing out to do other films such as “Power” and “Cry Free­dom” dur­ing that pe­riod.

Wash­ing­ton won his first Os­car for the 1989 drama “Glory,” then so­lid­i­fied his box-of­fice sta­tus in 1990s movies in­clud­ing Spike Lee’s “Mo’ Bet­ter Blues” plus “Mis­sis­sippi Masala,” “Philadel­phia,” “The Pel­i­can Brief,” “Crim­son Tide,” “Courage Un­der Fire,” ‘The Preacher’s Wife,“”The Hur­ri­cane“and ”The Bone Col­lec­tor.“

Af­ter mak­ing the Dis­ney drama “Re­mem­ber the Ti­tans,” Wash­ing­ton switched gears and earned his sec­ond Os­car as a cor­rupt cop in “Train­ing Day.” “John Q,” “Out of Time,” “Man on Fire,” “Amer­i­can Gang­ster” and re­makes of “The Manchurian Can­di­date” and “The Tak­ing of Pel­ham 123” fol­lowed for him.

The stage yielded a 2010 Tony Award for Au­gust Wil­son’s “Fences,” which Wash­ing­ton would both star in and di­rect for the 2016 movie ver­sion. “A Raisin in the Sun” and “The Ice­man Cometh” are among his other the­ater cred­its.

Other rel­a­tively re­cent Wash­ing­ton movies have in­cluded “The Book of Eli,” “Un­stop­pable,” “Flight,” a re­make of “The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven,” the two “Equal­izer” dra­mas and “Ro­man J. Is­rael, Esq.” He and his wife Pauletta have four chil­dren in­clud­ing for­mer ath­lete and fel­low ac­tor John David Wash­ing­ton, who starred last year in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlan­s­man.”

Wash­ing­ton makes a now-rare re­turn to tele­vi­sion as the 47th re­cip­i­ent of the Amer­i­can Film In­sti­tute Life Achieve­ment Award in a TNT spe­cial Thurs­day, June 20.

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