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Denzel Washington: Actor

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Two years ago Denzel Washington worked out relentlessly to play a middleweight boxer in The Hurricane. The result was a chiseled body complete with requisite six-pack. To play an ordinary family man in John Q., the winner of this year’s Best Actor Oscar (for his portrayal of a rogue cop in Training Day) let himself go. “He wanted to be more of an everyman,” says costar Anne Heche. “It didn’t work. But he did the best job he could!” Despite being a bona fide Hollywood A-lister, the man Hurricane costar Deborah Unger calls “a walking Adonis” has more in common with average Joes than most stars. Married to vocalist Pauletta Pearson, 51, for nearly 20 years, the 47-year-old father of four makes sure he’s around on weekends so he can coach his kids’ sports teams and host family barbecues. A former regular at the Mount Vernon, N.Y., Boys Club (“I lived there,” he told 60 Minute. “My mom would have to come get me”), Washington also serves as national spokesman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Which seems fitting, because as choreographer Debbie Allen observes of her longtime friend, “he has this boyish quality. He always seems to be up to something, even when he’s not.”