Isaiah Washington is an American actor known for his roles in films such as ‘Crooklyn’ and ‘Get on the Bus’. He is also known for his role of Dr. Preston Burke in the medical drama series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. Born in Houston, Texas, he had a difficult early life as his father was murdered when Isaiah was just 13 years old. He was traumatized by the experience and struggled to cope with the loss. Eventually, he mustered the courage to move ahead in life and served in the United States Air Force before he began his acting career. His early works on the big screen include the semi-biographical film ‘Crooklyn,’ where he had a supporting role. He then went on to act in films such as ‘Get on the Bus’, and ‘Romeo Must Die’. Also active on TV, his work in the TV film ‘Dancing in September’, earned him a nomination for the NAACP Image Award, which was the first award nomination of his career. His popularity grew after he started appearing in the medical drama series ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ The series earned much popularity over the years and has been appreciated by critics as well. For his work in the series, Washington won two Image Awards as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Childhood & Early Life
Isaiah Washington was born in Houston, Texas, on August 3, 1963. His parents used to live in the Houston Heights community. He graduated from Willowridge High School, being one of the first graduates from the institute.
Initially, the little boy wished to be a football player. As a young man, he went on to serve in the United States Air Force for a brief time. Later, he attended Howard University. Eventually, he decided to pursue a career in acting and joined a theater company called City Kids Repertory.
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Isaiah Washington began his acting career with the short film named ‘Land Where my Fathers Died’ in 1991. After appearing in a few other films, in 1994, he was seen in the film ‘Crooklyn’. Directed by Spike Lee, the film was met with positive reviews though it was a commercial failure.
He appeared in the film ‘Stonewall’ in 1995, after which he was seen in a supporting role in the film ‘Clockers’ the same year. Directed by Spike Lee, the film was an adaption of the 1992 novel of the same name by Richard Price. The film was met with positive reviews, though it was a commercial disaster.
In 1996, he was seen in the black comedy film ‘Girl 6’, where he played an important role. This film was also directed by Spike Lee. It was a commercial failure and received mixed to negative reviews.
After appearing in a few other films, such as ‘Love Jones’ (1997), ‘Always Outnumbered’ (1998), ‘True Crime’ (1999) and ‘Out of Sight’ (1999), he earned his first award nomination for the 2000 HBO TV film ‘Dancing in September’, which was directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood. Washington was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a TV movie for his performance.
Over the years, he appeared in films like ‘Exit Wounds’ (2001), ‘Welcome to Collinwood’ (2002), ‘Hollywood Homicide’ (2003), ‘Dead Birds’ (2004) and ‘The Moguls’ (2005).
His popularity grew even further after he started appearing in the medical drama series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ where he played a supporting role. His role of Dr. Preston Burke earned him multiple awards and nominations.
In 2011, he appeared in the Brazilian-American sci-fi film ‘Area Q’, which was directed by Gerson Sanginitto. The film was about a reporter whose son disappears, leading him to work on a special UFO project for his boss.
He played the lead role in the drama film ‘Blue Caprice’ in 2013. Directed by Alexandre Moors, the film was met with mostly positive reviews.
In 2014, he began playing a role in ‘The 100’, a sci-fi drama series, which is loosely based on the novel series of the same name written by Kass Morgan. The series was met with mostly positive reviews and also won multiple awards and nominations. Washington’s recent works include the 2017 feature film ‘Dead Trigger’ and the 2018 TV film ‘Behind the Movement’.
Isaiah Washington’s early works include the romantic thriller film ‘Girl 6,’ where he played the role of a shoplifter. Directed by Spike Lee, who also produced the film and played a main role, the film starred actors, such as Theresa Randle, Jenifer Lewis, Susan Batson and Debi Mazar.
The medical TV series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ can be regarded as one of Isaiah Washington’s most important works. The show focuses on the lives and careers of interns, residents, and attending physicians in at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital. The series also starred actors such as Sandra Oh, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers and TR Knight. Washington won multiple awards and nominations for his performance.
He played the lead role in the drama film ‘Blue Caprice’, portraying the role of John Muhammed. The film, based on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, shows the lives of the perpetrators of the attacks. The film debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and it received mostly positive reviews. For his performance, Washington was nominated for the Reel Award and the Gotham Independent Award.
Family & Personal Life
Isaiah Washington married Jenisa Marie Garland on 14th February 1996. The couple has three children. They are named Isaiah, Tyme, and Iman.
He has written a book called ‘A Man from Another Land’, which covers his early life and career.