John David Washington was born July 28, 1984 and is an American actor and former football running back. He played college football at Morehouse College and signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2006. Professionally, Washington spent four years as the running back for the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions.
Washington was raised in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the son of actor Denzel Washington and actress and singer Pauletta Washington (née Pearson); he is the oldest of their four children. At the age of seven he appeared as a student in a Harlem classroom in Spike Lee’s 1992 feature film Malcolm X, which starred his father Denzel in the title role.
Washington attended Campbell Hall School in Los Angeles, where he was a letterman in football, basketball, and track. He graduated from high school in 2002 and from Morehouse College in 2006.
Washington was drafted by the California Redwoods (later the Sacramento Mountain Lions) of the United Football League in the UFL Premiere Season Draft in 2009. He signed with the team on August 18. Washington stayed with the team after their move to Sacramento, playing for the Mountain Lions until 2012, when the league abruptly folded that October.
Washington returned to acting in 2015 in the role of Ricky Jerret in the HBO drama series Ballers.
In September 2017, Washington was cast in the lead role of detective Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee’s thriller BlacKkKlansman, which was based on Stallworth’s memoir. In 2018, Washington also starred in the films Monsters and Men and All Rise. He also appeared in The Old Man & the Gun, which was released on September 28, 2018.
After seeing Washington’s work in BlacKkKlansman, director Christopher Nolan hand-picked him to anchor his spy film, Tenet (2020).
Washington will star alongside Zendaya as the titular characters in the drama film Malcolm & Marie, which had been filmed in secret during the COVID-19 pandemic.