Photo credit: Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images for Paramount
In 2016, Denzel Washington brought August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fences” to the big screen. Now, the award-winning actor is honoring the late great playwright in another major way. Washington led a $5 million fundraising effort to restore Wilson’s childhood home at 1727 Bedford Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.
During a special ceremony at what is now called the August Wilson House on Wednesday, the Tribune-Review reports Washington saying: “It is a privilege and an honor and a responsibility… and a joy to play a small part in keeping him alive.”
Wilson’s nephew Paul Ellis, who took lead on restoring the almost 200-year-old building to its 1950’s-era look, expressed: “It’s surreal, being able to cultivate a relationship with a significant donor just caps off this incredibly long journey.”
Along with Washington, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry pledged one million dollars each to the project. Shonda Rhimes, Spike Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson also made a financial contribution.
“I love August Wilson,” Washington said. “He touches my soul, our souls, in a way that no one else I know has. This is just like coming home.”
Renovations are set to be completed in 2020. The house will then officially become a center for art and culture.