Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Isaiah Washington IV

Isaiah Washington IV (born August 3, 1963) is an American actor. Early life Washington was born in Houston, Texas, where his parents were residents in the Houston Heights community. His parents relocated to Missouri City, Texas around 1980, where he was one of the first graduates from Willowridge High School, Houston, in 1981. Washington revealed in an interview with Star Jones that his father, after whom he was named, was murdered when he was 13 years old. Washington went on to serve in the United States Air Force and attended Howard University. Washington married Jenisa Marie Washington on February 14, 1996. The couple has three children (Isaiah, Tyme and Iman) Career Grey's Anatomy Washington is perhaps best known for his role as the gifted cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Preston Burke on Grey's Anatomy, a portrayal that earned him two NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Drama series as well as a SAG Award. He was paired onscreen with Sandra Oh, who plays intern Dr. Cristina Yang. Washington had originally auditioned for the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd, which ultimately went to Patrick Dempsey. Burke had originally been described as a nebbishy, stout forty-something man. For his portrayal of Dr. Burke, Isaiah was honored by TV Guide Magazine as one of "TV's Sexiest Men" in June 2006, and was named one TV's sexiest doctors in June 2008 on TV Guide's television channel. Prior to the TV Guide honor, Isaiah was named as one of People's "50 Beautiful People" in May 2006. Grey's Anatomy controversy In the show's third season, Washington became a central figure in widely-reported backstage controversy. In October 2006, news reports surfaced that Washington had grabbed co-star Patrick Dempsey by the throat after Dempsey began screaming unprovoked into Washington's face. It was reported that the altercation was prompted by or related to Washington's use of a derogatory epithet toward co-star T. R. Knight and his sexuality. Shortly after the details of the argument became public, Knight publicly disclosed that he is gay. The situation seemed somewhat resolved when Washington issued a statement, apologizing for his "unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set."[citation needed] The controversy later resurfaced when the cast appeared at the Golden Globes in January 2007. While being interviewed on the red carpet prior to the awards, Washington joked, "I love gay. I wanted to be gay. Please let me be gay."[1] After the show won Best Drama, Washington, in response to press queries as to any conflicts backstage, said that he had never referred to Knight as a "faggot." However, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Knight said that Washington had, in fact, used that particular epithet.[2] After being rebuked by his studio, Touchstone Television (now ABC Studios), Washington issued a statement apologizing at length for using the epithet in an argument with Patrick Dempsey. On January 30, 2007, a source told People magazine that Washington was scheduled to return to the Grey's Anatomy set as early on that Thursday for the first time since entering "executive counseling" after making the comments at the Golden Globes. However, on June 7, 2007, ABC announced they had decided not to renew Washington's contract, and that he would be dropped from the show. "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore," Washington said in a statement released by his publicist, borrowing the famous Howard Beale line from Network.[3] In another report, Washington stated he was planning to "spend the summer pursuing charity work in Sierra Leone, work on an independent film and avoid worrying about the show."[4] In a subsequent interview, Washington claimed that "they fired the wrong guy" (referring to T.R. Knight) and said he was considering filing a lawsuit as a result. He accused Knight of using the controversy to bolster his own career and increase his salary on Grey's Anatomy.[5] Washington, in late June 2007, began asserting that racism within the media was a factor in his firing from the series.[6] On July 2, 2007, Washington appeared on Larry King Live on CNN, to present his side of the controversy. According to Washington, he never used the "F Word" in reference to T.R. Knight, but rather blurted it out in an unrelated context in the course of an argument "provoked" by castmate Patrick Dempsey, who, he felt, was treating him like a "B-word," a "P-word," and the "F-word," which Washington said conveyed "somebody who is being weak."[7] Recent work This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2008) On September 25, 2008, Washington attended the 63rd United Nations General Assembly in New York City as a advisor to President Ernest Bai Koroma of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Washington served as a member of the President's personal delegation while the newly democratically elected President addressed the United Nations for the first time. The following day, President Koroma traveled to Washington, D.C. and took private meetings with Congressman Donald Payne and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. at the recommendation of Washington. Inspired by his first visit to the United States and Washington, D.C. President Koroma announced at the Willard Hotel before his key Ministers, that he would grant Isaiah Washington full citizenship and issue him his official Sierra Leone Passport. This pledge by the President is significant because the citizenship request is solely based on Washington's genetic (DNA) ancestral link to the Mende people of Sierra Leone. This makes Isaiah Washington the first African-American to receive such an honor and President Ernest Bai Koroma the first African President to do such a thing. The historical citizenship request will be finalized in December 2008, concluding a long-time dream of dual citizenship for African-Americans by Pan African pioneers such as W.E.B. DuBois, Kwame Nkrumah, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Horace Mann Bond, Ralph Bunche, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Edward Wilmot Blyden and Rev. Leon Sullivan. In July 2007, NBC decided to cast Isaiah Washington as a guest star in a story arc in its new series Bionic Woman. NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman noted his eagerness to work with Washington, saying it would be "like A-Rod leaving the Yankees in midseason."[8] Washington himself said that his dismissal from Grey's Anatomy was an unfortunate misunderstanding that he is eager to move past. After six episodes (out of eight total) Washington's character was killed off, and Bionic Woman was canceled. [edit] African American Lives Series Washington is of African American descent; although a DNA test done by African Ancestry, Inc. revealed that Washington's maternal ancestry traces back to Sierra Leone, and that he has an ancestral link to the Mende Temne people there. In May 2006 he visited Sierra Leone, and received a warm welcome from the local people. His paternal ancestry links him to the Mbundu people, an ethnic group in Angola. [9][10] [edit] Charity work Inspired by his discovery of his direct genetic link to the Mende Temne people of Sierra Leone, Washington, like Oprah Winfrey, has become known for his philanthropy in Africa. In 2007, he founded the Gondobay Manga Foundation,[11] which advocates cooperative planning to achieve positive, timely improvements in the lives of the people of Sierra Leone. In May 2006, during a visit to Sierra Leone, Washington was named Chief Gondobay Manga by the Mende people. He later decided to use the name for his non-profit. In November 2007, Washington and the Gondobay Manga Foundation opened its first school, Chief Foday Golia Memorial School, in the Njala Kendema village for 150 students in grades K-5. The new school replaces two grass huts not suited for occupants. The school was named in honor of the former leader of the Njala Kendema village. In addition to building the school, Washington and the Gondobay Manga Foundation also donated uniforms and school supplies for each student. In March 2007, Washington donated $25,000 to the computer reconstruction project of Bunce Island. At the helm of the project are James Madison University professors Joseph Opala and Gary Chatelain, an historian and a computer artist. Opala and Chatelain are using their expertise to reconstruct the slave castle as it appeared in the year 1805. Their computer image will eventually serve as an educational tool for scholars. Washington was the Master of Ceremonies for the first White House Summit on Malaria to fight the war against malaria in 15 African countries. He has also filmed PSAs for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, among others. He is also active in promoting the arts, having hosted the recent 16th Annual Pan-African Film Festival. In addition to The Gondobay Manga Foundation, Washington also works with LA Regional Food Bank to get food to the needy in Los Angeles. Courtesy:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaiah_Washington

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