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"The Book Of Eli" Los Angeles Premiere

Source: Gregg DeGuire / Getty

John David Washington is creating his own legacy in the entertainment industry while still handing his father, Denzel Washington, his well-deserved flowers.

“I always wanted to do what he did, always wanted to be an artist,” the 36-year-old told the WSJ. Magazine. “I jumped in and hid in this football persona, this athlete, literally putting on a helmet to hide my face, hide my identity.”

The NAACP Image Award-nominee kept his 2014 Ballers audition a secret from his father until he landed the role as NFL wide receiver Ricky Jerret.

“I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” he said. “I’ll never forget how he expressed how proud he was of me. That was a great moment for me.”

In an interview with Mr. Porter in 2020, the Malcolm & Marie actor revealed that he turned away from acting when he was a teenager after realizing how people treated him differently when they found out who his father; “I used to lie, saying he was a construction worker or in jail, just to have some sense of normalcy.”

34th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival - The Virtuosos Award Ceremony

Source: Tibrina Hobson / Getty

Now that Washington has made his own mark in the industry, he is returning the praise to his father. In a recent interview with Access Hollywood, a “speechless” Denzel was read a quote from his son after he was named the greatest actor of the 21st century. “I think he is one of the greatest to ever do it so it was a very proud moment for our entire family,” the BlacKkKlansman actor said of his dad.

The former St. Louis Rams football player disclosed to the magazine that his father is his favorite actor because his career and talent has expanded over the decades, “I’m inspired by the kind of career he’s had and what he’s had to do.”

“Again, he’s been on the frontline for many years and what he’s done with it, with his opportunities, I just am so inspired and continue to be inspired by what he does and how he works and his approach to the craft and the business.”

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