Aug. 3rd, 1963
Houston, Texas, USA
Isaiah Washington's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Isaiah Washington IV (born August 3, 1963) is an American actor. A veteran of several Spike Lee films, Washington is best known for his role as Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy from 2005 until 2007.
Born in Houston, Texas, where his parents were residents in the Houston Heights community. His parents moved 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 is of African descent. A genealogical DNA test conducted by African Ancestry, Inc. revealed that Washington's maternal ancestry can be traced to what is now Sierra Leone, and that he has an ancestral link to the Mende and Temne peoples there. In May 2006 he visited Sierra Leone, and received a warm welcome from the local people. He travelled to Sierra Leone in May 2006 marking the beginning of his charity work and was granted Sierra Leonean Citizenship, making him the first African American to be granted full citizenship based on DNA.
His paternal ancestry links him to the Mbundu people, an ethnic group in Angola.
Washington has written a book called A Man from Another Land, which chronicles Washington’s early life, his TV and film career, and his search to find his roots after going through a DNA test that showed his ancestors came from Sierra Leone in West Africa. Since learning about his history, Washington has traveled to Sierra Leone, donated medical supplies to a hospital there, and built a school.
In 2005, Washington originated the role of gifted cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. His portrayal earned him two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Screen Actors Guild 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 as one of "TV's Sexiest Men" in June 2006, and was named one of 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.
Washington will play the role of Chancellor Jaha in The 100, an upcoming American post-apocalyptic drama television series that is expected to air on The CW Television Network during the 2013–14 American television season. The series is based on a book of the same name, the first in a series by Kass Morgan, and developed by Jason Rothenberg.
Washington also stars in the upcoming movie Blue Caprice, a film inspired by the Beltway sniper attacks during which two men, John Muhammed (Isaiah Washington) and Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond), conducted a siege of terror on the Washington, D.C. area. The film was released in theaters on September 13, 2013.
Washington married Jenisa Marie Garland (February 14, 1996). The couple have three children (Isaiah Akin-Olu, Tyme Baraka, and Iman Sele).
- Likes and follows the University of Texas Longhorns even though, ironically, he grew up in nearby Houston, but did not attend the University.
- At one time in his life he wanted to be a professional football player.
- Graduated from Willowridge High School (1981, Houston, Texas)
- Following a confrontation with fellow cast member 'Patrick Dempsey (I)' (qv) on the set of _"Grey's Anatomy" (2005)_ (qv), it was reported that the altercation was related to Washington's use of the epithet "faggot" towards their co-star 'T.R. Knight' (qv). In response to press queries about the incident, he denied that accusation in the backstage area at the 2007 Golden Globe Awards. However, Knight and other cast members later stated that he did use the word (January 2007).
- His mother was the first African American woman to be licensed as a barber in the state of Texas.
- After leaving Howard University (Theater Arts major), he became an original member of the City Kids Repertory, a theater company that performed in schools in effort to bring relevant productions to high-risk kids.
- Took a DNA test to determine his heritage. The results concluded that his father's side is Angolan and his mother's side is from Sierra Leone.
- Was in the Air Force prior to acting. His dream was to be the second "General Washington"