Denzel, Jack Coleman and Oprah

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When Denzel was 11 years old, his mom helped him get his first job at Modernistic, a local barber shop run by a man named Jack Coleman.

In addition to the $11 he earned for brushing off collars and sweeping floors, Denzel says he also received his first acting lessons from Jack and his customers. "I learned a lot about acting because the best liars are in the barber shop," he jokes.

Denzel says that Jack also taught him a lot about business and the value of a dollar. "I just watched men be professionals," he says.

After more than 40 years, Jack still remembers his young apprentice. While most Americans know Denzel as an Academy Award®-winning actor, Jack knows him as little Denny from Mount Vernon. "Sometimes his mother used to think of him maybe as being a little bad, but Denzel wasn't bad," Jack says. "He was just a free spirit."
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FROM: Denzel Washington
Published on October 31, 2006

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