During high school, Denzel played football and dreamed of becoming a star athlete. Then, as a student at Fordham University, his passion shifted to the silver screen thanks to Bob "Robinson" Stone.
Robinson was Denzel's English teacher at Fordham and an accomplished stage actor. During Denzel's junior year, he was cast in the play "Othello." Robinson came out of theatrical retirement to play opposite the student he would later describe as the "finest young actor I have ever known."
When Denzel was 22 years old, Robinson wrote him a letter of recommendation that he still carries in his wallet to this day. Denzel says he reads the letter when he starts to get "too big headed or too small headed."
In the letter, Robinson writes, "[Denzel] has the potential for being one of the outstanding actors of the latter part of the 20th century. ... If there is such a thing as genius, then I assure you, Mr. Washington is one."