After more than 35 years of making movies, Denzel Washington is still creating some of his best work ever.
Most people would be content with dozens of successful films and a couple of Academy Awards, but Denzel dug deep with his most recent flick Flight, where he played drug-addicted airline captain William "Whip" Whittaker. The role was already nominated for a Golden Globe and looks very likely to receive an Oscar nomination as well. In honor of his 58th birthday today, check out 10 reasons why Denzel remains one of Hollywood's strongest leading men!
1. He's a Great Actor (Obviously)
He's been in the movie business for nearly 35 years and has an impressive list of award-winning flicks to his name, including The Hurricane, Malcolm X and Training Day. But rather than rest on his laurels, Denzel continues to get involved in high-caliber projects. His performance in Robert Zemeckis' Flight was nominated for a Golden Globe and ten other awards. It also raked in nearly $100 million at the box office.
2. His Versatility In Movie Roles
Actors like Jack Nicholson or Adam Sandler might end up playing the same role in every movie, but that couldn't be further from the truth with Denzel. He's played everything from a corrupt cop, a (possibly) lunatic conspiracy theorist, a homophobic lawyer, and an angel. Despite the diversity in his roles, he manages to choose his projects wisely and generally gets solid reviews for all of his performances.
3. He Has Serious Cred With Directors
Because Denzel is known as someone who is easy to work with and brings in a boatload of money at the box office, it's no surprise that directors fall over themselves to work with him. He's gotten the chance to collaborate with the best in the business including Spike Lee, Tony Scott and Edward Zwick, among others. And if there isn't a suitable director around, he'll just get behind the camera himself as he did with the 2002 film Antwone Fisher, which he also produced.
4. The Non-Cry Cry
Denzel cries in almost every movie he does, but his signature is that he desperately tries not to cry beforehand. His face turns to stone and he stares intently at someone for what seems like ages before the waterworks start. Despite the fact these scenes are usually pretty dramatic, he manages to not oversell the crying.
5. He Stays Out of Trouble
In an era where celebrities can make careers out of being trainwrecks, Denzel has managed to stay out of trouble completely. No arrests. No tabloid fights. No obnoxious comments. Just great movies that we all love.
6. His Charity Work
Denzel is known as one of the most charitable actors in Hollywood. In 2011, he donated $2 million to the theater department at his alma mater, Fordham University. And in 2009, he donated $2.5 million to help build the new West Angeles Church of God Christ facility in LA. He's also served as the national spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1993.
7. He's Been Married For 30 Years
Hollywood is known for having its share of womanizers, but Denzel has been with the same lady for over 30 years. He married Pauletta Pearson, who he met on the set of his first movie Wilma, back in 1983. They have four children together and one of them, John David, briefly played in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams back in 2006.
8. He Can Even Do Broadway
He doesn't have to work another day in his life, but Denzel is so motivated by his craft that he accepted a much smaller salary to go back on Broadway. In 2005, he played Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar on Broadway. Although he received mixed reviews for the performance, his limited run went beyond maximum capacity every single night.
9. He's Known as a Nice Guy
Denzel is one of those people that if you can't get along with him, it's your fault. Nobody in Hollywood has a bad thing to say about him and he's quick to heap praise on his fellow cast and crew when discussing movie projects. Atheists may not be too thrilled with him after he reportedly called them "sociopaths," but we're willing to let that one slide.
10. He Looks Hot For His Age
Admittedly, Denzel's name doesn't automatically come to mind when you think of Hollywood sex symbols — at least, not as often as it used to. There's no denying that he looks damn good for 58, though. Seriously, could those teeth be any whiter?!
What's your favorite Denzel Washington movie?
Photos courtesy of Getty Images, Fox News, Touchstone Pictures and Universal Pictures