Wednesday, March 11, 2009
TONIGHT ON THE TERRORDOME: Isaiah Washington on DNA, Roots and Development
FM 88.5 Edmonton
6 pm Mountain Time
Isaiah Washington is a celebrated actor. Best known for playing Dr. Preston Burke on the hit American medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, Washington has had an extensive career includes roles in All My Children, Soul Food, Bulworth, Ally McBeal, New York Undercover, Get on the Bus, Love Jones, Dead Presidents, Clockers, Homicide: Life on the Street, Law and Order, and the remake of Bionic Woman, among many others.
He’s won two NAACP Image Awards, in 2006 and 2007, for his work in Grey's Anatomy, and a Screen Actor Guild Award in 2007 for the same.
But Washington’s interests aren’t limited to inhabiting fiction; he’s deeply moved by history and current events. A few years ago he was inspired to use DNA testing to trace his ancestry, finding he had links to Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Angola.
He founded the Gondobay Manga Foundation, “which advocates cooperative planning to achieve positive, timely improvements in the lives of the people of Sierra Leone.... In November 2007... the Gondobay Manga Foundation opened its first school, Chief Foday Golia Memorial School... for 150 students in grades K-5... donat[ing] uniforms and school supplies for each student....
"Washington was the Master of Ceremonies for the first White House Summit on Malaria to fight the war against malaria in 15 African countries.... [Washington] is also active in promoting the arts, having hosted the recent 16th Annual Pan-African Film Festival. In addition to The Gondobay Manga Foundation, Washington also works with LA Regional Food Bank to get food to the needy in Los Angeles.”
He’s also the head of his own arts production and development company, Coalhouse Productions.
Washington spoke with me by telephone from his home in Los Angeles on March 8. Later on in the show we’ll hear from Washington about his DNA tracing and his development work, but we begin with my question to him about Hollywood and his assessment of it.