Hollywood Shuffle is a series that celebrates our cultural icons in film and television whose performances have resonated with generations of viewers. From the pioneering actors and actresses who’ve helped break barriers and pave the way for those to follow, to the most promising and decorated thespians of today, their dedication to their craft is respected and appreciated.
Throughout his career, Denzel Washington has proved himself to be a jack of all trades. A native New Yorker, Washington got his start acting in theatre, performing in off-broadway plays before moving onto television. Making his debut in the 1977 television film Wilma, Washington made the leap to the big screen with his appearance in the 1981 film Carbon Copy but truly hit his stride with his role as Dr. Phillip Chandler in the medical drama St. Elsewhere.
After splitting his time between television and film in the ’80s, Washington ended the decade on a high note, won an Academy Award, and established himself as a bonafide star. Throughout the ’90s, Washington cemented himself as the preeminent leading man, with a succession of pivotal roles and performances that showcased his versatility and ability to capture and captivate the imagination of viewers. Within the last two decades, Denzel has added to his legend with historic accomplishments and even more memorable moments. His most recent role as Lord Macbeth in The Tragedy of Macbeth has earned him his seventh Oscar nomination for Best Actor and his ninth overall. The 94th Academy Awards, which takes place this Sunday (March 27), will provide Washington with another opportunity to separate himself even further from the pack as the most decorated Black male actor of all time.
In this edition of Hollywood Shuffle, VIBE looks back on the 10 iconic roles that have defined Denzel Washington’s career.