Famous Alumni: Denzel Washington, actor


denzelwashingtonyoungActor Denzel Washington, who is up for an Oscar for his recent turn as an alcoholic pilot in the movie Flight, has a history both good and bad at summer camp.

The bad happened while at church camp in his teenage years when he and some other campers snuck beer into the cabin, hiding it in the tank of the toilet. When the beer was found Denzel and his friends were sent home.

The church camp incident wasn’t his only experience as a camper at summer camp. In his 2006 book, A Hand To Guide Me, Washington recalls performing for the first time outside of church at Camp Jimmy Goodwin in Alabama and a Batman and Robin takeoff he directed at age 13 at Camp Rainbow in Fishkill, N.Y. He called the play “Flatman and Ribbon.”

Denzel later went on to become a camp counselor, wearing the whistle at YMCA Camp Sloane in Lakeville, Conn. There were signs even then of what was to come.

“The counselors there put on a talent show for the kids,” Washington wrote in his book. “I put together these little poems and rhymes and skits for the kids in my cabin, and we stood up on stage and did our bit. After the show this guy named Miles Joyce came up to me and said, ‘Man, you ever thought about being an actor?'”

To see what other celebrities went to summer camp, check out the Famous Alumni page.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

1 Comment

  1. When did the actor, Denzil Washington. attend Camp Sloane, in Connecticut? I was a”camper” at the same camp. I was there in the later 70s.

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