John David Washington, born on July 28, 1984, is an American actor and former professional football player. He inherited his talent from his father, Denzel Washington, and initially played college football for Morehouse College.
He joined the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and later showcased his athletic prowess as a running back for the Sacramento Mountain Lions. However, Washington chose to pursue acting, following in his parents' footsteps.
He appeared in the HBO comedy series "Ballers" from 2015 to 2019, and his breakthrough came in 2018 when he portrayed real-life figure Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman." Washington has secured leading roles in several notable films, including "Tenet" (2020), "Malcom & Marie" (2021), "Beckett" (2021), "Amsterdam" (2022), and "The Creator" (2023). His versatility allows him to tackle a diverse range of characters and genres.
In 2022, he made his Broadway debut in the revival of August Wilson's play "The Piano Lesson." Washington's journey is a testament to his determination and talent, proving that he is not just the son of a legend but a remarkable talent in his own right.
Washington grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Toluca Lake. Born to actors Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington (née Pearson), he is the eldest of their four children. His given name is the composite form John David.
When he was just seven years old, he had an appearance in his father Denzel's 1992 film Malcolm X as a kid in a Harlem school.
Washington went to Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles, where he participated in three varsity sports and earned a letter in each. In 2002, he completed high school, and in 2006, he earned a degree from Morehouse College.
John David Washington's early career was marked by his passion for football. He commenced his journey as a football player during his college years at Morehouse College. There, he left an indelible mark on the field, leading the conference in rushing and setting a remarkable school record of 1,198 yards.
The records didn't stop there; he also etched his name into the annals of the institution's history with single-game and career rushing records of 242 and 3,699 yards, respectively.
In an unexpected twist of fate, the 2006 NFL Draft didn't yield the results he had hoped for, and Washington went undrafted. However, this setback didn't deter his determination. He embraced the opportunity to sign with the St. Louis Rams as a free agent.
Though the Rams later released him, they recognized his potential and re-signed him to their practice squad. During the 2007 offseason, Washington spread his wings to NFL Europe, where he played for the Rhein Fire.
Ultimately, he received his shot in the United Football League (UFL) when he was drafted by the California Redwoods, later relocating to Sacramento and becoming the Sacramento Mountain Lions. He dedicated four years to the team, remaining loyal through the 2012 season when the league suddenly folded.
The transition from a promising football career to the glittering world of acting was the next chapter in John David Washington's life. His foray into the acting realm commenced in 2015 when he secured a significant role in the HBO sports dramedy series "Ballers."
In this series, he portrayed the character of Ricky Jerret, a profoundly competitive NFL player with a strong spiritual side. The star-studded cast included notable names like Dwayne Johnson, Rob Corddry, Omar Miller, London Brown, and Jazmyn Simon. Washington's journey on "Ballers" spanned all five seasons, and he bid farewell to the show in 2019.
The silver screen beckoned, and Washington answered the call. His debut on the big screen occurred in the 2017 musical drama "Love Beats Rhymes," directed by rapper RZA, and featuring an ensemble cast including Azealia Banks, Common, Lucien Laviscount, Jill Scott, and Lorraine Toussaint. In 2018, he truly made his mark, featuring in a total of four films.
The year kicked off with two premieres at the Sundance Film Festival: "Monsters and Men," where Washington portrayed police officer Dennis Williams, and "Monster," in which he played the supporting role of Richard "Bobo" Evans. However, it was his role in Spike Lee's biographical drama "BlacKkKlansman" that catapulted him to the forefront.
In this film, he portrayed the real-life African-American detective Ron Stallworth, who infiltrated a Ku Klux Klan chapter in the early 1970s. The film received widespread acclaim from critics, and Washington's performance earned him both SAG and Golden Globe Award nominations. Washington's final film for 2018 was another biographical crime film, "The Old Man & the Gun," where he shared the screen with the legendary Robert Redford.
Washington's star continued to rise as he caught the attention of renowned filmmaker Christopher Nolan with his performance in "BlacKkKlansman." The director chose him to lead in his next project, the 2020 science-fiction spy film "Tenet." In this high-stakes thriller, Washington was joined by an ensemble cast featuring Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.
His versatility shone brightly when he starred opposite Zendaya in the 2021 romantic drama "Malcolm & Marie," which gained distinction as the first Hollywood feature film produced entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 2021 saw Washington take on the role of a hunted American tourist in Greece in the action thriller "Beckett."
His promising career also extended to films like David O. Russell's period ensemble comedy "Canterbury Glass," where he shared the screen with illustrious actors including Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro, and Rami Malek. Another notable credit was his role in Gareth Edwards' science-fiction film "True Love," in the company of stars like Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, and Allison Janney.
In 2022, John David Washington ventured into the realm of theater. It was announced that he would take on the role of Boy Willie in a Broadway revival of August Wilson's masterful play, "The Piano Lesson."
This project brought him alongside esteemed cast members such as Samuel L. Jackson and Danielle Brooks, with LaTanya Richardson Jackson at the helm of direction. The same cast announced their intention to bring "The Piano Lesson" to the silver screen, extending Washington's influence from the stage to the cinematic world.
John David Washington's career is an embodiment of versatility and the relentless pursuit of excellence. From the football field to the bright lights of Hollywood and the revered stage of Broadway, his journey continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.
Denzel and John David at a Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs game at Staples Center
1992 - Malcolm X - Student in Harlem classroom - In 1992, John David Washington made his cinematic debut in "Malcolm X." He stepped into the role of a student in a Harlem classroom, marking the very beginning of his journey in the world of film.
1995 - Devil in a Blue Dress - Boy with Toy Rifle (Uncredited) - Three years later, Washington took on an uncredited role in "Devil in a Blue Dress." He portrayed a boy with a toy rifle, subtly showcasing his emerging talent.
2010 - The Book of Eli - Co-producer - In 2010, John David Washington ventured into the realm of production, serving as a co-producer for "The Book of Eli." This marked his first foray into the production side of the film industry.
2017 - Love Beats Rhymes - Mahlik - Washington's acting career gained momentum as he played Mahlik in "Love Beats Rhymes" in 2017. This film was a significant step in his journey as an actor.
2018 - Monsters and Men - Dennis Williams2018 was a pivotal year for John David Washington. He took on the role of Dennis Williams in "Monsters and Men," a powerful film that captivated audiences.
2018 - Monster - Richard "Bobo" Evans - In the same year, Washington delivered an impressive performance as Richard "Bobo" Evans in "Monster." His versatility in portraying distinct characters shone through.
2018 - BlacKkKlansman - Ron Stallworth - A milestone in his career, 2018 witnessed Washington's remarkable portrayal of Ron Stallworth in "BlacKkKlansman." This role earned him critical acclaim and prestigious award nominations.
2018 - The Old Man & the Gun - Lieutenant Kelley - Washington's journey in 2018 continued with his role as Lieutenant Kelley in "The Old Man & the Gun," further establishing his presence in the film industry.
2020 - Tenet - The Protagonist - 2020 marked another watershed moment when he starred as The Protagonist in Christopher Nolan's "Tenet." This science-fiction spy film solidified his status as a leading actor in Hollywood.
2021 - Malcolm & Marie - Malcolm Elliott (Also producer) - John David Washington's versatility expanded as he co-produced and starred as Malcolm Elliott in "Malcolm & Marie." This was notably the first Hollywood feature film made entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 - Beckett - Beckett - In the same year, Washington took on the role of Beckett in the action thriller "Beckett," showcasing his ability to immerse himself in diverse characters.
2022 - Amsterdam - Harold Woodsman - The year 2022 saw him playing the role of Harold Woodsman in "Amsterdam," further diversifying his repertoire of roles.
2023 - The Creator - Joshua Taylor - As he ventured into 2023, Washington embraced yet another challenging role as Joshua Taylor in "The Creator," continuing to impress audiences with his acting prowess.
TBA - The Piano Lesson - Boy Willie Charles (Filming) - His journey continues as he embarks on the upcoming project "The Piano Lesson," where he is set to play Boy Willie Charles, solidifying his presence in the world of cinema.
2015–2019 - Ballers - Ricky Jerret - Not limited to the big screen, Washington also graced television screens. He played Ricky Jerret in the HBO sports dramedy series "Ballers," marking a significant stint in his television career.
2022 - The Piano Lesson - Boy Willie - In a move that showcased his versatility, John David Washington ventured into the world of theater. He undertook the role of Boy Willie in the Broadway revival of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson." This marked a significant step in his career and opened new horizons in the world of theater.
John David Washington has a net worth of $8 million and is an American actor and former professional football player. John David Washington's breakout performance as undercover cop Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's 2018 film "BlacKkKlansman."
In addition to his roles in films including "Tenet," "Malcolm & Marie," "Beckett," and "Canterbury Glass," he was a prominent cast member on the HBO series "Ballers." Washington spent four years with the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions as a football player before he entered show business.
John David Washington is an American actor and former professional football player. He made his debut on the HBO series "Ballers" in 2015 and earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in "BlacKkKlansman" (2018).
John David Washington's remarkable journey from professional football to the silver screen and Broadway is a testament to his incredible talent and determination. Born into a family of actors, he has carved his own path in the world of entertainment.
Washington's diverse roles in films like "BlacKkKlansman," "Tenet," and "Malcolm & Marie" have earned him acclaim, and his foray into theater further showcases his versatility. With a net worth of $8 million, he has proven that he is a talent to watch in the industry.