Denzel Washington: From Struggle to Success in Hollywood

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Denzel Washington: From Struggle to Success in Hollywood

Denzel Washington is one of the most celebrated and award-winning actors in Hollywood. He has had a long and impressive career, filled with memorable and well-respected roles. But, while they are celebrating him now, his road to success was long and hard. This article takes a look at the Denzel’s struggles and how they led him to success.

Early Years

Born on December 28th, 1954, Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. was the middle child of five. His father Denzel Washington Sr. was a Pentecostal minister and his mother, Lynne, was a beauty salon owner. Denzel’s parents had been divorced by the time he was 14, and he shared custody of his siblings with his mother.

Starting Out

Denzel had always had a passion for performing and his mother often encouraged him to do drama classes from elementary school onwards. But, when it came time to apply to college Denzel followed his father’s wishes and enrolled on a pre-med course, majoring in Health and Human services.

However, it didn’t take long for Denzel’s passion for acting to take over and, after joining the Black Student Union at college he began auditioning for parts in local theaters and television series. After landing a few minor roles, his performance in A Soldier’s Play on Broadway got him noticed and, soon after, Denzel won his first Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Early Struggles

Despite his early awards success, it was not until Denzel moved into the world of film that his career began to take off. But it was not smooth sailing, and he was left out in the cold for a number of years. His first few films, such as Carbon Copy, had been moderately successful but after a series of failed projects his career seemed to be on the brink of disaster.

Denzel’s fortunes began to take a turn for the better after he co-starred alongside Tom Cruise in the movie The Last Samurai. The film showcased Denzel’s acting prowess and, soon after, he went on to star in a number of acclaimed films such as American Gangster and The Manchurian Candidate to much critical acclaim.

Breakthrough Roles

It wasn’t until Denzel’s role in Training Day that he truly became a Hollywood A-lister. Not only did the film prove that he could play a lead role, but it was also the first film that landed him an Academy Award for Best Actor. His success continued following his iconic role in The Book of Eli, and he went on to star in a number of box-office hits including Flight and The Equalizer.

The Future

As it stands, Denzel Washington has had an impressive and successful career. He has acted in over 55 films and gained Academy Award nods for six of them. Needless to say, for Denzel, the future is looking good.


Throughout his illustrious career, Denzel Washington has achieved a number of impressive feats. A few highlights include:

• 2 Academy Awards, 2 Golden Globe Awards, and one Tony Award
• Over $2 billion in total global box office sales
• Nominated for Best Actor a total of six times
• Starred or co-starred in several films that grossed over $100 million
• Ranked second in People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1996
• Is one of the most influential actors in Hollywood
• Has starred in some of the most successful movies of all time

Denzel Washington’s career has certainly been one of ups and downs. But, despite the long periods of struggle, he kept persevering and his hard work finally paid off. Now, he is one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars and is respected the world over. His success story is proof that, if you put the work in, you can make it in Hollywood, regardless of your background.

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