‘American Icon’ Denzel Washington to Receive AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

Denzel Washington attends the 48th NAACP IMAGE AWARDS on Feb. 11, 2017. (Credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson/Shutterstock.com)

The American Film Institute has named Denzel Washington as the 47th recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, said in a statement Friday:  “Denzel Washington is an American icon. As an actor, he stands tall as a heroic, stoic embodiment of the best in all of us, and he does so with heart, humanity, and one of the brightest smiles to ever light up the screen.”

“Equally formidable as director and producer, he is a creative force to be reckoned with — and one of the most vital, relevant artists working today,” the glowing announcement continued. “AFI is proud to present him with its 47th Life Achievement Award.”

The coveted honor, first established in 1973, recognizes people “whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.”

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Past recipients of the award include George Clooney, Diane Keaton, Morgan Freeman and Jane Fonda, to name a few.

Washington will receive the award in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 6, 2019.

The two-time Academy Award winner first earned widespread acclaim for his role in the 1987 film, Cry Freedom, earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The 63-year-old star’s other notable works include Glory, Training Day and Malcolm X, among others. Washington also directed Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters and Fences.

The AFI award ceremony will air on TNT followed by an encore presentation on Turner Classic Movies.