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7 Times John David Washington Praised His Legendary Father Denzel Washington — Take a Look

Pedro Marrero
Feb 20, 2021
07:55 A.M.

“Malcolm & Marie” star John David Washington has led an impressive career in Hollywood to make a name for himself. However, he will always acknowledge his father, Denzel Washington, as one of his heroes.


36-year-old actor and former football player John David Washington is the oldest son of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington. As much as he has made a name for himself, John never misses an opportunity to praise his father.

John has been making headlines in his own right, thanks to his recent work on the big screen collaborating with iconic Hollywood directors like Christopher Nolan and Spike Lee. But the subject of his famous father is always present.

John David Washington attending the "BlacKkKlansman" New York premiere in July 2018. | Image: Getty Images.

John David Washington attending the "BlacKkKlansman" New York premiere in July 2018. | Image: Getty Images.


Denzel was honored with the title of the greatest actor of the 21st century by the New York Times in November 2020. When his son was asked about it in an interview soon after, he couldn’t agree more.


John was promoting the 2020 film “Tenet” alongside filmmaker Christopher Nolan when the subject of his father’s latest title was brought up, and he said it was a recognition that was long due, calling it a “very proud moment” for the family.



Late in January 2021, John, already enjoying his growing fame following the success of “Malcolm & Marie,” opened up about the inspiration he found in his father to pursue his own acting career.

In an interview with WSJ Magazine, John said that he always wanted to follow his father’s steps and to be an acclaimed actor, but he first had to struggle with living under Denzel’s shadow, which led to his brief career in sports.



In a 2016 appearance on the “Steve Harvey Show,” John admitted to the talk show host that his father was so well-known and admired that John had trouble trusting girls who dated him since he feared they were interested in him because of Denzel.

John recalled resorting to lying about who his father really was, inventing all kinds of stories about his father’s occupation, sometimes telling girls that his father was a construction worker or in prison (like some of Denzel’s characters).


In September 2020, John not only praised his famous father but also mentioned his mother Pauletta, an actress as well, as one of his greatest inspirations alongside Denzel, who he went on to call “the best actor in the industry.”


Back then, John said that he spent a good part of the COVID-19 pandemic living with his parents again and using his old room, and he was even doing home chores like the good son he clearly is.



In 2018, John starred in Spike Lee’s outstanding film “BlacKkKlansman,” which marked the actor’s first lead role on the big screen. It was inevitable during his promotional tour to be asked about his father.

In an interview with the Independent.ie, John said he didn’t have any problem being asked about Denzel. The young actor said he was only honest by admitting he is very used to those kinds of questions.



John’s first-ever movie role was also in a Spike Lee film, playing a minor part in the 1992 biopic “Malcolm X.” The film starred Denzel 26 years before John's leading role on “BlacKkKlansman” for the acclaimed director.

John has repeatedly praised his father’s acting skills in public, but back in 2018, in an interview for Entertainment Weekly he shared that one of the things he learned from his father was to have faith and “pray every day.”



In August 2018, John made an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to talk about “BlackKkKlansman” and how it was growing up around his father’s famous friends. He then took a moment to recall how Denzel used his talent to coach him as a child.

John said that as the great actor his father is, Denzel did an amazing job being a sports coach for him and his schoolmates from the football team. John revealed that Denzel really got into character and made them all believe in him.


John is certainly used to being asked about his famous father, and as we already learned, he is always happy to answer those questions. But he doesn’t want the public to forget about his mother Pauletta, as was proved in a 2018 interview.

While talking to ET Canada, John interrupted a question about his father to praise his mother, giving her major credit for his success. He also acknowledged that Pauletta was a more successful actor than Denzel when they got married.

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