Denzel Washington is one of the most impactful actors and film creators of the modern era.
He has gone from being an actor to leading one of the biggest changes in the film industry.
Washington has been acting on the big screen since the late 1970s and nothing seems to be slowing him down, even after nearly 45 years of working his hardest in the film industry.
Despite Washington’s drive that keeps him constantly pushing forward, he never forgets to help those behind him get to a point of success.
What Is Denzel Washington’s Net Worth?
Denzel Washington has a net worth of $280 million and has a salary of anywhere from $60 million to $80 million, all depending on the amount of work he does that year.
From an early age, Washington was taught the importance of hard work and respect.
Denzel Washington’s first examples of hardworking people were his parents.
His mother owned a hair salon, and his father was a minister at two different churches while also holding down a separate job.
However, they would later get divorced when he was 14 years old.
As a result, young Denzel Washington went through a rebellious stage during which he began to hang around with a questionable crowd.
These old friends of Washington’s would later spend a collective 40 years in prison, which was exactly what his parents wanted to avoid.
Before Washington got to this point, his mother sent him to Oakland Military Academy, a private school in upstate New York, because his family was too busy to give him the attention and opportunities he needed to grow and heal.
While at Oakland Academy, Denzel Washington excelled at everything that he tried.
He was an excellent member of the sports teams, a dedicated band member, and an aspiring thespian teeming with potential.
Washington often looks back at his mother’s decision to send him to the private military school as the best decision she could have ever made.
The lessons in both career and life skills that Washington learned at Oakland Academy stayed with him into a career filled with determination, respect, and care for his fellow Americans.
During his time at the school, he gained a deep respect for the military members of the United States.
Washington would go on to focus on his acting career, which helped him meet his wife, Pauletta Pearson.
His Early Acting Career
Denzel Washington began his acting career by starring in the television movie Wilma in 1977.
Washington played Robert Eldridge, alongside other cast members such as Shirley Jo Finney, Cicely Tyson, and Joe Seneca.
Two years later, Washington would star in another television movie called Flesh & Blood.
At this time, Denzel Washington was 25 years old, and his name was becoming more popular as his career progressed.
It wasn’t until 1981 that Washington got his first major role on the silver screen.
He played the son of George Segal’s character in the comedy Carbon Copy.
Although the movie didn’t have an excellent reception, it was enough to make people chuckle and notice Denzel Washington’s talent.
A Soldier’s Story is where Washington got his first taste of military films, combining two aspects of his life that he held dear.
This became one of Denzel Washington’s best-received movies, with viewers adoring the film.
Although the movie only made $156,383 in the first week of its release, it ended up making $22,100,000 overall.
The movie that changed Denzel Washington from being a movie actor to a movie star was The Mighty Quinn, a film that has a little bit of everything, from thriller to buddy cop film aspects.
In 1992, Washington played Malcolm X in the biographical movie about his life, which was the second time Washington would work with Spike Lee.
During the early 2000s, Washington was best known for his work in The Hurricane and Remember the Titans.
Disney’s Remember the Titans made $136,706,683 worldwide.
Denzel Washington’s work already had people calling him a legendary actor, but the years ahead would only go on to prove it.
His Later Acting Career
Denzel Washington had already found massive success by the time the 2010s rolled around in full swing, but Washington was only getting started.
Washington started the 2010s off with a bang, starring in The Book of Eli.
This post-apocalyptic movie made $157,107,755 worldwide.
In that same year, Washington also starred in Unstoppable, an action film with co-stars such as Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson.
Washington plays the lead role of Frank, a veteran train conductor that must figure out how to get a barreling train to stop without killing everyone on board.
In 2012, Washington would star in another action film called Safe House, where a young CIA agent played by Ryan Reynolds is on the run.
Within the first weekend that the movie dropped, Safe House made $28.4 million and eventually went on to make $82.6 million.
Within the same year, Denzel Washington also released Flight, which was another action and mystery film.
Although audiences once had a hard time taking the lighthearted Washington seriously, this was no longer a problem.
In the following year, Washington teamed up with Mark Wahlberg to release the buddy cop film 2 Guns.
The star-studded movie made $27,059,130 in the opening week and went on to make $85,191,893 worldwide.
The Equalizer was released in 2014 and follows the story of a man who returns to his more violent tendencies in order to save a young girl from a violent Russian gang.
The movie was so popular that it spawned a sequel in 2018 called simply The Equalizer 2.
In 2016, The Magnificent Seven was released, which starred an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Martin Sensmeier, Byung-Hun Lee, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.
Becoming A Film Director
Denzel Washington has directed four different movies since 2002, starting with Antwone Fisher.
Although his movies may be different, they all share serious messages and tones that are often ignored by the public eye.
Antwone Fisher follows the story of a young member of the United States Navy who continuously has psychiatric outbursts and is sent to the naval doctor, played by Washington.
Throughout the movie, you can see Fisher, played by Derek Luke, struggle through the effects of childhood trauma.
With help from his doctor, Fisher learns to manage and overcome his trauma.
Although the movie had only slightly better than lukewarm reviews, this film pulls on the heartstrings of those who have suffered or watched their loved ones suffer from psychological problems.
In 2007, Denzel Washington directed and starred in The Great Debaters, which also starred Forest Whitaker.
This underdog story tells the tale of how the least likely team becomes the reigning champions.
The story takes place during the 1930s, while the Jim Crow laws were still segregating every social aspect of life.
Washington plays the English professor who oversees the debate team at Wiley College, a small, black college in Texas.
The story was based on actual people who were members of the debate team, played by Nate Parker, Jermaine Williams, and Jurnee Smollett.
The real members of the debate team would all go on to do even more incredible things, such as James Farmer Jr. who founded the Congress of Racial Equality.
In 2016, Washington directed Fences, in which he starred with Viola Davis.
The movie is based on the Broadway play, which tells the tale of a man who is passed over for his dream jobs time and time again in the 1950s.
Washington’s most recent project is A Journal for Jordan, which stars Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams.
Taking On The Role Of Producing
Out of all of the movies that Denzel Washington has been in, he has produced eight of them.
This list includes Antwone Fisher, The Equalizer, The Equalizer 2, The Book of Eli, Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Journal for Jordan, and Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based on the 1984 play written by August Wilson and stars Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Taylour Paige, and Michael Potts.
The movie follows the occurrences of a recording session for famous blues singer Ma Rainey.
The movie shows how difficult it was for black musicians to make it far in the music industry, often being overshadowed by white musicians, despite the music genre beginning within the black community.
In 2017, Denzel Washington played the titular character in the movie he produced, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Roman is the right-hand man for famous civil rights defense lawyer William Henry Jackson, who ends up dying of a heart attack and leaving Roman without anything.
Throughout the movie, you watch Roman, who is an autistic man, struggle as he has to deal with the sudden change.
Without Jackson, Israel is left to fend on his own and try to make a name for himself.
However, Israel has a case that he has been working on for decades that he believes will change the way that the legal system is run by arguing that the plea-bargain system cuts defendants off from having a fair trial.
The movie was met with a mixed reception.
Although the role did land Washington an Oscar nomination, the movie was seen by some as being a waste of Denzel Washington’s talent.
Many people loved the message and the main character of the movie, but the decent-at-best plot took over the spotlight.
Washington As The Spokesperson Of Boys & Girls Club Of America
Denzel Washington has been the spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club of America since 1993.
Inspired by his own past and what became of old friends, Washington has been one of the faces of the club for 28 years and continues to be an active member of their board.
As a child of two working parents, Washington spent a lot of time with the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Even after he had aged out of the program, Washington worked as a counselor for the same club that helped shape him and his childhood.
Denzel Washington is constantly offering ways to raise money for the foundation that helped him become the person he is today.
While Washington is a frequent donator to the club, many of his donations are experiences that are auctioned off to earn the organization money.
One of the most recent experiences that Washington has offered as a donation was for the premiere of his movie The Equalizer 2.
The winners of the auction were flown out to Los Angeles, given a two-night stay at a fine hotel, and were able to go to the premiere afterparty for a meet-and-greet session with Denzel Washington himself.
Washington claims that his mentors at the Boys & Girls Club gave him the structure, motivation, and support that he needed to keep his eyes on his dreams and goals.
One of Washington’s most memorable mentors from the club was a man named Billy Thomas.
Thomas hung the college pennants of all of his former mentees, with colleges branching from nearby schools and those across the country.
He hung each of those flags up to show his current children where they could go if they stayed on the right path, which deeply resonated with young Denzel Washington.
His Work With The Fisher House Foundation
As someone with a deep respect for all of the members of the United States military, Denzel Washington knew he wanted to give back to the families that had sacrificed their loved ones’ lives and wellbeing.
That was his motivation to become the biggest donor in the Fisher House Foundation’s history.
The Fisher House Foundation is an organization that offers inexpensive housing to families with loved ones who are recovering in one of the military hospitals.
This also allows soldiers to have their families beside them to help them heal and offer emotional support through trying times.
The size of the Washingtons’ donation prompted the Fisher House Foundation to ask both Pauletta and Denzel Washington to join the board of trustees.
In 2005, they graciously accepted the organization’s offer.
For his decades of work with the Fisher House Foundation, Denzel Washington was presented with the honor of being named the 2021 Honorary Sergeant Major.
Giving Washington this prestigious honor was an easy choice for all the service members’ families who had been impacted by Washington’s determination to offer military members better treatment and medical care.
Even the CEO and chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, Ken Fisher, believed that there wasn’t a single person who deserved this award more.
Washington’s newest movie, A Journal for Jordan, is in remembrance of 1st Sergeant Charles Monroe King.
King’s fiancée was elated to hear about Denzel Washington being awarded this honor and thanked Washington for helping her preserve the memory of her late fiancé for their son.
Washington is only the second civilian in American history to ever receive this honor.
His Doctoral Degrees
Throughout this career and social contributions, Denzel Washington has managed to earn three honorary doctorates from two different universities.
Washington has shown the world that he is one of the most capable masters of the arts that the modern age has seen.
Washington earned his first honorary degree from the college he attended and later graduated from, Fordham University.
He was given this degree in 1991 after proving to his alma mater that he had expanded on the lessons that he was taught there.
During the University of Pennsylvania’s 225th commencement ceremony, Denzel Washington was given his doctorates of arts on May 6th, 2011.
While Washington wanted to inspire the graduating class of 2011, he also wanted his speech to prepare them for the real world.
He reminded the students that it’s important to be prepared for whatever results may come from their actions.
While hard work will eventually lead to success, it will also lead you through many failures.
However, Washington believes it is important to remember that failure is just part of what comes with success, and you should always be prepared to deal with the grief that comes with failure.
According to Washington, you need to be stronger than your fear of failure and stay determined in order to achieve even the most impossible aspirations.