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One of the greatest actors of all-time turned 69 today. To celebrate his legacy, check out a gallery of some of Denzel Washington’s best performances throughout his illustrious career!

Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was born in Mount Vernon, New York where he was raised by his mother Lennis, who was a beauty parlor owner and operator and father Denzel Hayes Washington Sr., an ordained Pentecostal minister and department store worker. At the age of 14, his parents divorced and his mother sent him to a private preparatory school (Oakland Military Academy) in New Windsor, New York. Washington ended up attending Fordham University where he earned a BA in Drama and Journalism. He worked as creative arts director of the overnight summer camp at Camp Sloane YMCA in Lakeville, Connecticut following a period of indecision on which major to study and taking a semester off. After seeing him perform in a staff talent show, his colleagues suggested that he try acting. He returned to Fordham that fall and enrolled at the Lincoln Center campus to study acting. Denzel then spent a year in San Francisco, California where he attended graduate school at the American Conservatory Theater. Washington’s journey then took him back to New York City where he would begin his professional acting career.

In 1977, shortly after graduating from Fordham, Washington made his screen acting debut in the 1977 made-for-television film Wilma which was a docudrama about sprinter Wilma Rudolph. His first Hollywood appearance came in 1981 film Carbon Copy. He got a major career break when he starred as Dr. Phillip Chandler in NBC’s television hospital drama St. Elsewhere, which ran from 1982 to 1988. It was extra special because he was one of only a few African-American actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run. After appearing in several television, motion picture and stage roles, he starred as South African anti-apartheid political activist Stephen Biko in Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom, for which he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. It wasn’t until two years later though that he won the prestigious award for his portrayal of a defiant, self-possessed ex-slave soldier in the film Glory. From that point on, his spot as one of the elites in Hollywood was solidified.

Over the course of his 40 plus year career, Washington has seamlessly delivered classic performances regardless of the role. Whether he’s playing a private in the American Civil War, a high school football coach attempting to integrate his team in a new city or an alcoholic airline pilot who miraculously crash-lands his plane after a mechanical failure, the two-time Oscar winner (ten-time nominee) always leaves us in awe of his talent, poise and versatility. Every single time a Denzel movie is released, it’s an event! To give him his flowers and to celebrate his special day, check out a gallery of some of Denzel’s best performances. Let us know which ones are your favorites and if we forgot any of them! HAPPY 69TH GOAT!

1. Glory (1989)


2. Mo’ Better Blues (1990)

Source:Universal Pictures

3. Malcolm X (1992)


4. He Got Game (1998)

Source:Francesco Roana

5. Remember The Titans (2000)


6. Training Day (2001)

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7. John Q (2002)


8. Inside Man (2006)


9. American Gangster (2007)


10. The Book of Eli (2010)


11. Safe House (2012)


12. Flight (2012)


13. Fences (2016)

Source:H Moga

14. The Equalizer 2 (2018)


15. The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)