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Denzel Washington (born 1954) is an American actor, screenwriter, director and film producer. Although his first major role was in the classic Ensemble Cast Medical Drama, St. Elsewhere, he has garnered much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko (Cry Freedom), Malcolm X, Rubin Carter (The Hurricane), Melvin B. Tolson (The Great Debaters), Frank Lucas (American Gangster) and Herman Boone (Remember the Titans). In case you're wondering, he's been approached to play Martin Luther King, but he's declined for fear of the Typecasting that kind of role would create.
Washington has been awarded three Golden Globe awards and two Academy Awards for his work. He is notable as the second African American man (after Sidney Poitier) to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, which he received for his role in the 2001 film Training Day. Recently starred in the 2006 thriller Deja Vu the 2009 remake of The Taking of Pelham 123, and the 2010 post-apocalyptic action film The Book of Eli. He also played Joe Miller in Philadelphia, which was the second big-budget Hollywood film to present AIDS, homophobia, and gays in a realistic and thoughtful light.