Denzel Washington To Receive 47th AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute (AFI) Board of Trustees announced that Denzel Washington will receive the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award, America's highest honor for a career in film. The tribute will premiere on TNT with an encore on Turner Classic Movies.

The award will be presented to Washington at a Gala Tribute on Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Los Angeles, CA.

The AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute special will return for its seventh year with Turner Broadcasting to air on TNT, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Audi and American Airlines return as Official Sponsors of the event.


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"Denzel Washington is an American icon," said Sir Howard Stringer, Chair, AFI Board of Trustees. "As an actor, he stands tall as a heroic, stoic embodiment of the best in all of us, and he does so with heart, humanity and one of the brightest smiles to ever light up the screen. Equally formidable as director and producer, he is a creative force to be reckoned with — and one of the most vital, relevant artists working today. AFI is proud to present him with its 47th Life Achievement Award."

Actor, director and producer Denzel Washington is an iconic leading man whose career spans five decades — an esteemed repertoire ranging from screen to stage, in works defined by his towering presence as heroic everymen, troubling antiheroes and real-life figures with complicated, often controversial histories. His cinematic legacy includes powerhouse, Academy Award®-winning performances in GLORY (1989) and TRAINING DAY (2001), as well as celebrated roles in CRY FREEDOM (1987), MALCOLM X (1992), THE HURRICANE (1999), FLIGHT (2012) and ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. (2017), earning additional nominations for each.

Washington has crafted compelling, unforgettable characters in recurring collaborations with master directors past and present, bringing stalwart grit and nuanced complexity to films essential to the American canon, such as Jonathan Demme's PHILADELPHIA (1993), Spike Lee's INSIDE MAN (2006) and Ridley Scott's AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007) — and to blockbuster, crowd-pleasing fare such as Edward Zwick's (AFI Class of 1975) CRIMSON TIDE (1995), Tony Scott's MAN ON FIRE (2004) and Antoine Fuqua's THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016).

A creative force behind the camera as well, Washington has helmed critically acclaimed films, including ANTWONE FISHER (2002) and THE GREAT DEBATERS (2007), in which he also stars. He won a 2010 Tony® for his performance in the play "Fences," and directed, produced and starred in the 2016 film adaptation that earned him Best Actor and Best Picture Oscar® nominations, as well as AFI AWARDS recognition.


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More About Denzel Washington
The son of a Pentecostal minister and a beauty parlor owner, Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, NY, on December 28, 1954. His parents' professions shaped Washington's ambition to begin acting, with their natural inclination toward storytelling and oration. After graduating from Fordham University with a BA in Journalism, Washington won a scholarship to the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, CA. Soon after leaving ACT, he appeared in off-Broadway productions and television movies before being cast in a starring role in the hit television series ST. ELSEWHERE.

Washington's filmography also includes MO' BETTER BLUES (1990), MISSISSIPPI MASALA (1991), THE PELICAN BRIEF (1993), COURAGE UNDER FIRE (1996), THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (2004), THE EQUALIZER (2014) and THE EQUALIZER 2 (2018).

He is married to actor Pauletta Washington, with whom he has four children: John David Washington, Olivia Washington, Katia Washington and Malcolm Washington, who is an alumnus of the AFI Conservatory, Class of 2016.

About the AFI Life Achievement Award
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees in 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees:

"The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time."

AFI Life Achievement Award Recipients

1973   John Ford
1974   James Cagney
1975   Orson Welles
1976   William Wyler
1977   Bette Davis
1978   Henry Fonda
1979   Alfred Hitchcock
1980   James Stewart
1981   Fred Astaire
1982   Frank Capra
1983   John Huston
1984   Lillian Gish
1985   Gene Kelly
1986   Billy Wilder
1987   Barbara Stanwyck
1988   Jack Lemmon
1989   Gregory Peck
1990   David Lean
1991   Kirk Douglas
1992   Sidney Poitier
1993   Elizabeth Taylor
1994   Jack Nicholson
1995   Steven Spielberg
1996   Clint Eastwood
1997   Martin Scorsese
1998   Robert Wise
1999   Dustin Hoffman
2000   Harrison Ford
2001   Barbra Streisand
2002   Tom Hanks
2003   Robert De Niro
2004   Meryl Streep
2005   George Lucas
2006   Sean Connery
2007   Al Pacino
2008   Warren Beatty
2009   Michael Douglas
2010   Mike Nichols
2011   Morgan Freeman
2012   Shirley MacLaine
2013   Mel Brooks
2014   Jane Fonda
2015   Steve Martin
2016   John Williams
2017   Diane Keaton
2018   George Clooney


About TNT
TNT is basic cable's #1 network in primetime with young adults and is home to one of cable's most popular slates of original series, including The AlienistAnimal KingdomClaws, the upcoming I Am the Night, Snowpiercer and Tell Me Your Secrets. TNT also presents popular shows such as ArrowSupernatural,Bones and Castle; primetime specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards® and the AFI Life Achievement Award; and championship sports coverage, including the NBA and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

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