Good "Fences" makes good theater, as August Wilson's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play proved in its 525-performance Broadway run in 1987 and '88. Now, Denzel Washington steps into the role that won a Tony for James Earl Jones, as the movie star swings for the fences in a revival at the Cort Theatre.
Will "Fences," Washington's first New York theater work since playing Marcus Brutus in a 2005 Broadway production of "Julius Caesar," add another slat to his awards portfolio? That we don't know. And here are 10 other things about Denzel Washington you probably don't know.
1. He credits the Boys & Girls Club of America in Mount Vernon, where he grew up, for helping to keep him on the straight and narrow. He's a spokesman for the organization today.
2. His biggest influence in becoming a professional actor was Fordham University dramatic literature and English professor Robinson Stone, who had played Joey in the film "Stalag 17."
3. He met his future wife, actress-singer Pauletta Pearson, when each had small parts on the set of his first screen acting gig, the 1977 NBC TV movie "Wilma."
4. Washington and his wife renewed their vows in 1995, after 12 years of marriage, in a South African ceremony officiated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
5. Their eldest child, son John David Washington, has a cameo in the final scene of "Malcolm X."
6. During the 1990s, he coached Little League in Los Angeles.
9. Washington wouldn't kiss Julia Roberts in "The Pelican Brief" (1993) because he didn't want to get his core audience of African-American women upset - which is what eventually happened when he gave in and kissed Caucasian Milla Jovovich in "He Got Game" (1998).
10. He turned down the role of Curtis Taylor Jr. (the Berry Gordy-like figure) in "Dreamgirls" (2006), which ultimately went to Jamie Foxx.