John David Washington

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John David Washington
John David Washington.png
Washington in 2018
Born (1984-07-28) July 28, 1984 (age 34)
Nationality American
Alma mater Morehouse College
Occupation Actor, American football player
Years active 1993–present

John David Washington (born July 28, 1984) is an American actor and former American football running back. He played college football at Morehouse 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 shifted to an acting career like his father, Denzel Washington. He is known for his roles in the HBO comedy series Ballers and in Spike Lee's 2018 film BlacKkKlansman.

Early life[edit]

Washington was raised in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the son of actor Denzel Washington and actress Pauletta Washington (née Pearson); he is the oldest of their four children.[1] At the age of nine, he appeared as a student in a Harlem classroom in Spike Lee's 1992 feature film Malcolm X, which starred Washington's father 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 Campbell Hall School in 2002.

Football career[edit]

John David Washington
No. 33, 28
Position: Running back
Personal information
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 208 lb (94 kg)
Career information
College: Morehouse
Undrafted: 2006
Career history


At Morehouse College, Washington set a school record with 1,198 yards with a 5.6-yard average and nine touchdowns, and added ten receptions for 69 yards his senior year. He also holds the school's single-game (242 yards) and career (3,699 yards) leading rushing records. Washington led the conference in rushing in 2005.


After going undrafted in the 2006 NFL Draft, Washington was signed by the St. Louis Rams on May 1, 2006 as an undrafted free agent. Washington was released by the Rams on August 31.[2] Three days later, the Rams re-signed him to their practice squad.[3] Washington played in NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire in the 2007 offseason.[4][4]

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.[5] Washington stayed with the team after that and returned for his fourth season with the Mountain Lions in 2012, until the league abruptly folded that October.[6][7]

Acting career[edit]

He returned to acting in 2015, in the role of Ricky Jerret in the HBO comedy series Ballers.[8] The series was well received by critics.[9]

In September of 2017, Washington was cast as real life detective Ron Stallworth, in Spike Lee's thriller BlacKkKlansman.[10] The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered on May 14.[11][12] It did not win the Palme d'Or, but was awarded the Grand Prix by the festival jury. The film began a U.S. theatrical release on August 10, 2018, a date chosen to coincide with the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville rally.[13]

In 2018, Washington also starred in the films Monsters and Men and Monster, both of which screened in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.[14][15][16] Also in 2018 he is also slated to appear in The Old Man & the Gun, opposite Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, and Sissy Spacek. The film is scheduled to be released on September 28, 2018, by Fox Searchlight Pictures.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Malcolm X Student in Harlem classroom Cameo appearance
2017 Love Beats Rhymes Mahlik
2018 Monsters and Men Dennis Williams
Monster Richard "Bobo" Evans
BlacKkKlansman Detective Ron Stallworth
The Old Man & the Gun Lieutenant Kelley


Year Title Role Notes
2015–present Ballers Ricky Jerret Main cast

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Nominated work Result
2018 NAACP Image Awards[18] Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Ballers Nominated
IMDb STARmeter Awards[19] Breakout Star Himself Won
People's Choice Awards[20] The Drama Movie Star of 2018 BlacKkKlansman Pending


  1. ^ "John David Washington on His Path from Pro Football to Ballers". Vanity Fair. April 11, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018. 
  2. ^ Rams cut 11, including sixth-round pick, retrieved August 31, 2007. It was widely speculated that John David Washington was a member of the St.Louis Rams but he never actually signed his contract due to a failed physical.
  3. ^ Rams sign seven to practice squad Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b [1]
  5. ^ "United Football League Signs 31 Players to California Redwoods' Roster". 2009-08-20. Archived from the original on 2009-08-21.  (dead link)
  6. ^ Mountain Lions begin season with morning practice. KTXL. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 13, 2014). "Dwayne Johnson's HBO Half-Hour Pilot 'Ballers' Picked Up To Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ Ballers: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 2018-08-07 
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (September 8, 2017). "Spike Lee, Jordan Peele Team Up on KKK Crime Thriller 'Black Klansman'". Variety. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  11. ^ "The 2018 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved April 12, 2018. 
  12. ^ "Cannes Lineup Includes New Films From Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard". Variety. Retrieved April 12, 2018. 
  13. ^ Siegel, Tatiana; Gardner, Chris (May 14, 2018). "Cannes: Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman' Draws 10-Minute Ovation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2018. 
  14. ^ "Sundance Film Festival Unveils Full 2018 Features Lineup". Variety. November 29, 2017. Retrieved January 1, 2018. 
  15. ^ "John David Washington on Dad Denzel, Spike Lee's 'Black Klansman' and His Sundance Debut". Retrieved January 21, 2018. 
  16. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 18, 2018). "'Monsters And Men' Sundance First Look: "Can't You See What's Happening Out There?"". Retrieved January 21, 2018. 
  17. ^ Perez, Rodrigo (June 5, 2018). "'The Old Man And The Gun' Trailer: Robert Redford Will Act One Last Time For Director David Lowery". The Playlist. Retrieved June 5, 2018. 
  18. ^ "2018 NAACP Image Award Winners: Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 14, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2018. 
  19. ^ "John David Washington Receives IMDb STARmeter Award". IMDb. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  20. ^ "2018 People's Choice Awards: Complete List of Nominations". E! News. September 5, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018. 

External links[edit]