Denzel Washington born - HISTORY

Denzel Washington born

On this day in 1954, the Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington, who will go on to star in such movies as Malcolm X and Training Day, is born in Mount Vernon, New York. In 2002, for his performance as a corrupt cop in Training Day, Washington became the first black man to win the Best Actor Academy Award since 1964, when Sidney Poitier received the award for Lilies of the Field.

Washington graduated from Fordham University and studied acting at the American Conservatory Theatre. He first gained notice in Hollywood for his role as Dr. Philip Chandler on the popular TV medical drama St. Elsewhere, which originally aired from 1982 to 1988. Washington received his first Oscar nomination, in the Best Supporting Actor category, for his performance as the anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in 1987’s Cry Freedom. He won his first Best Supporting Actor Oscar two years later, for his portrayal of a runaway slave who joins the Union Army in the 1989 Civil War-era film Glory.

During the 1990s, Washington established himself on Hollywood’s A-list as an actor who could shine in serious dramas as well as blockbuster thrillers. He collaborated with the director Spike Lee on Mo’ Better Blues (1990), the biopic Malcolm X (1992), which earned Washington a Best Actor Oscar nomination for the title role, and He Got Game (1998). He also appeared in such movies as Mississippi Masala (1991), Philadelphia (1993), with Tom Hanks, and the biopic The Hurricane (1996), which earned Washington another Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as a boxer falsely convicted of murder. He also starred in such hit thrillers as The Pelican Brief (1993) and Crimson Tide (1995).

After his historic win for Training Day, Washington went on to star in Man on Fire (2004) with Dakota Fanning, Spike Lee’s Inside Man (2006) with Jodie Foster, and American Gangster (2007) with Russell Crowe. Washington, who in 1996 was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” stepped behind the camera to direct 2002’s Antwone Fisher, in which he co-starred with Derek Luke in the story of a navy officer who confronts his troubled past. More recently, he helmed 2007’s The Great Debaters, in which he also starred as an inspiring debate coach at an African-American university in the 1930s.


Worst European earthquake

At dawn, the most destructive earthquake in recorded European history strikes the Straits of Messina in southern Italy, leveling the cities of Messina in Sicily and Reggio di Calabria on the Italian mainland. The earthquake and tsunami it caused killed an estimated 100,000 more

Dubcek returns to public office

Alexander Dubcek, former Czechoslovak leader and architect of the “Prague Spring,” is elected chairman of the new multiparty Czechoslovak parliament. It was the first time Dubcek held public office since being deprived of Communist Party membership in 1970.The trend toward more

Calhoun resigns vice presidency

Citing political differences with President Andrew Jackson and a desire to fill a vacant Senate seat in South Carolina, John C. Calhoun becomes the first vice president in U.S. history to resign the office.Born near Abbeville, South Carolina, in 1782, Calhoun was an advocate of more

America’s first Labor Day

The Knights of Labor, a labor union of tailors in Philadelphia, hold the first Labor Day ceremonies in American history. The Knights of Labor was established as a secret society of Pennsylvanian tailors earlier in the year and later grew into a national body that played an more

First commercial movie screened

On this day in 1895, the world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. The Lumiere brothers unveiled their invention more

Central Red Army defeats New York Rangers at MSG

On this day in 1975, a crowd of 17,500 ice hockey fans watch HC CSKA (also called the Central Red Army) from the Soviet Union defeat the New York Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The game marked the kick-off of the first so-called “Super Series”–a series of more

Woodrow Wilson born in Staunton, Virginia

On this day in 1856, future President Woodrow Wilson is born in Staunton, Virginia. He attended private schools and graduated from Princeton University in 1879 before studying law at the University of Virginia and earning his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He was hired by more

Carry Nation attacks a Kansas saloon

Convinced that her righteous campaign against alcohol justified her aggressive tactics, Carry Nation attacks a saloon in Wichita, Kansas, shattering a large mirror behind the bar and throwing rocks at a titillating painting of Cleopatra bathing.Carry Nation’s lifelong battle more

Argentine novelist Manuel Puig is born

On this day in 1932, Manuel Puig is born in a small village in Argentina.Puig grew up entranced by American movies and pop culture, spending many hours watching films or fantasizing about glamorous movie stars. In 1946, he went to boarding school in Buenos Aires, then attended more

Earthquake rocks Sicily

An earthquake in Sicily kills over 100,000 people and destroys several towns on this day in 1908. The 7.5-magnitude tremor off the coast of the large island was also responsible for deaths on the Italian mainland.Sicily is situated near the spot where the European and African more

An American hero is arrested in France

Thomas Paine is arrested in France for treason. Though the charges against him were never detailed, he had been tried in absentia on December 26 and convicted. Before moving to France, Paine was an instrumental figure in the American Revolution as the author of Common Sense, more

William Booth Taliaferro born

On this day in 1822, Confederate General William Taliaferro is born in Gloucester County, Virginia. Taliaferro served under General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson for the first part of the war,and spent the second half preparing coastal defenses in the lower South. Taliaferro more