Isaiah Washington

A respected actor who served a four-year stint in the Air Force before becoming a star, Isaiah Washington was born in Houston Aug. 3, 1963. He honed his acting skills at Howard University and on the New York stage before breaking into film with strong roles in the Spike Lee features Crooklyn (1994), Clockers (1995) and Get on the Bus (1996).

A steady stream of movie work followed for Washington with Love Jones (1997), Out of Sight (1998), True Crime (1999, opposite Clint Eastwood), Romeo Must Die (2000), Welcome to Collinwood and Ghost Ship (both 2002). During that time, Washington also graced the small screen with recurring roles on "Living Single" (1996), "Ally McBeal" (1998) and "Soul Food" (2000).

But Washington's biggest mainstream success has come with his portrayal of talented surgeon Preston Burke on the Emmy-nominated medical series "Grey's Anatomy."