Denzel Washington: The One Decision That Changed His Life
If you were to ask a random person what their favorite Denzel Washington film was, many will be quick to spew out a list of Hollywood’s biggest films. Anything from Glory, to Mo’ Better Blues or even Training Day and Philadelphia with Tom Hanks. Whatever the choice is, it’s easy to see that Denzel has made it to Hollywood’s elite. But how he made it there is a series of calculated moves and decisions that helped shape his life.
Washington was born in Mount Vernon, New York. His father, Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., was an ordained Pentecostal minister, and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store. His mother, Lennis “Lynne” (née Lowe), was a beauty parlor owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem.
Washington attended Pennington-Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon until 1968. When he was 14, his parents broke up, and his mother sent him to a private preparatory school, Oakland Military Academy in New Windsor, New York. “That decision changed my life,” Washington later said, “because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I was hanging out with at the time, my running buddies, have now done maybe 40 years combined in the penitentiary. They were nice guys, but the streets got them.”
Washington is a devout Christian, and has considered becoming a preacher. He stated in 1999, “A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising.’ I’ve had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I’ve been given seriously, and I want to use it for good.”
In an interview with Bishop T.D. Jakes on his daytime talk show last week, Washington explained why, at this point in his career, he’s focusing on serving others.
“I’m in the service business now, I’m fine. I’ve done well,” Washington said on the “TD Jakes Show.” “I don’t need any watches and all of that. So I’m here to serve God, here to serve my family.”
Although he doesn’t read much, he studies the Bible daily and says he goes over Psalm 56: “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; the fighting daily oppresseth me.”
Back in 2012, rumors surfaced alleging that Oscar winner Denzel Washington underwent 2 weeks of detox after a month of excessive alcohol consumption while aboard a yacht with his wife.
TMZ first mentioned the story saying, “Washington recently left an Orange County residence where he was staying for more than 2 weeks to detox after a wild, alcohol-fueled, gluttonous month-long vacation.”
WRONG. Dead wrong.
Those who know Washington is that he had long given up binge drinking and partying. In a statement that dates back to the late 80’s, Denzel said, “I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together,” he said at the time. “And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me — spiritually and financially.”
Washington’s publicist spoke out to Entertainment Tonight disputing the recent reports.
“He does this health cleanse every time he’s about to go back to work and start his conditioning and…