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Denzel Washington burst onto the big screen with an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning role in the Civil War epic “Glory” (1989). But over the following decade, the matinee-idol handsome actor became the first of his generation’s African-American movie stars to land squarely on Hollywood’s A-list – as likely to be tapped to play a heroic lead as any white actor would have been a shoe-in for only a decade prior.

Likened to Sidney Poitier for his ability to appeal to a multiracial audience, Washington’s grounding force was a critical and audience favorite in historical dramas like “Cry Freedom” (1987), “Malcolm X” (1992) and “American Gangster” (2007), as well in more action-driven dramas such as “The Pelican Brief” (1993), “Remember the Titans” (2000) and “Training Day” (2001). Rising above the “black actor” moniker, Washington not only held a firm position as one of Hollywood’s top dramatic leads well into the new millennium, he also earned industry respect for his filmmaking efforts – directing and producing both “Antwone Fisher” (2002) and “The Great Debaters” (2007).

Washington has been awarded three Golden Globe awards and two Academy Awards for his work. He is notable as the second African Americanman (afterSidney Poitier) to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, which he received for his role in the 2001 film Training Day.

Are you a true Denzel fan?  Take the Denzel Washington trivia quiz below and test how you rate.

1) On with 1980’s television drama was Denzel Washington a regular?

a) E.R.

b) St. Elsewhere

c) Chicago Hope

2) One of Denzel Washington’s early movies was the comedy Carbon Copy but he’s only made three comedies in his long career. The second was The Preacher’s Wife, what was the third?

a) Heart Condition

b) The Mighty Quinn

c) Mo’ Better Blues

3) Denzel Washington’s character was paralyzed in which movie?

a) Virtuosity

b) The Bone Collector

c) Ricochet

4) Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for which movie?

a) The Hurricane

b) Malcolm X

c) Training Day

5) American Gangster wasn’t the only movie Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe appeared in together – what was the first?

a) Virtuosity

b) Fallen

c) Devil in a Blue Dress

6) What was Denzel Washington’s first feature film?

a) A Soldier’s Story

b) Carbon Copy

c) Cry Freedom

7) Denzel was in a movie version of which William Shakespeare play?

a) Hamlet

b) Much Ado About Nothing

c) Othello

Answers:  1) b;  2) b;  3) b; 4) c; 5) a; 6) a; 7) b

Denzel Washington responds to the debate over why some of his roles haven’t been honored by the Academy. Check local listings for airdates of Tavis Smiley on PBS.