Mount Vernon, NY (PressExposure) October 04, 2011 -- The road to the 100th Anniversary Gala of the venerable Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon just took a giant step. Award-Winning actor Denzel Washington, a proud product of the century-old youth organization, has agreed to host the celebration gala and benefit set for Saturday night, March 24, 2012, at the Rye Town Hilton (Rye Brook, Westchester County, New York), it was announced today by the Board of Directors. For information and reservations call 914.668.9580 or logo onto http://www.bgcmvny.com.
The monumental announcement brings Washington, a two-time Emmy Award, two-time Golden Globe Award and Tony Award recipient, back to his Mt. Vernon roots. He has been a longtime spokesman and board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America since the mid-1990's.
"Denzel's presence at the Gala, and never-ending commitment to serve the children of our community will greatly enhance our major fundraising efforts for capital improvements to continue our mission," said Boys & Girls Club President Danny Sawh, and Executive Director Lowes Moore in a joint statement. "The Boys & Girls Club of Mt. Vernon has been a bulwark against delinquency and a recreational outlet for youngsters for a century, and Denzel's support of the gala will continue those efforts."
With encouragement and lessons learned from the Boys & Girls Club, Washington overcame the tough streets to ultimately attend Fordham University in the Bronx, where he gained a roster spot on the freshman basketball team under P.J. Carlesimo, and earned his B.A. in Drama and Journalist at Fordham at Lincoln Center, and then embarked on a four-decade acting career that has been one for the ages.
Washington has said that he still applies the same principles in his acting career that he learned when he was a third-grader in the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon. He teamed with director Ron Howard for a public service announcement that shows how the club has impacted his life along with 20 other celebrities and entertainers, who were once members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Denzel's career came to prominence on the hit television medical show St. Elsewhere; he received two Academy Awards for Training Day and Glory, and his recent Tony Award for the Broadway hit Fences. In riveting portrayals, Washington has played such true-life characters as Malcolm X, boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Steve Biko, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone. He starred in the blockbuster Disney film Remember the Titans which grossed over $100 million in the U.S. box office alone.
Along with Washington, distinguished alumni of the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon include: Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton I. Young; historian and author Dr. Larry Spruill, PhD; Jack Haire, the President and CEO of Parade Publications, and former publisher of Time Magazine; the former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca; former NBA star Gus Williams, who enjoyed a lengthy career with the Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Baltimore Bullets; his younger brother, former Knicks standout Ray Williams, past and present outstanding NBA players Rudy Hackett, Earl Tatum, Lowes Moore, Carlton (Scooter) McCray, Rodney McCray and current Piston Ben Gordon; JB Smooth, the actor and stand-up comedian, best known for his roles on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Saturday Night Live"; Leon, the actor who starred in multiple films including Cool Runnings, The Flamingo Kid, The Temptations and The Little Richard Story; and 1050 ESPN Radio sports broadcaster Bill Daughtry.