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Burke's Battle Resonates With Washington

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Isaiah Washington, Grey's Anatomy starFans of Grey's Anatomy know all too well the anguish of Preston Burke after the renowned surgeon became a victim of senseless gun violence and is still struggling to regain his past precision.

What they may not know is that the story line hits particularly close to home for star Isaiah Washington, who plays Dr. Burke.

The 43-year-old actor recently told TV Guide about the personal memories triggered by the season-ending shooting of his character.

Washington was a victim of gun violence in his early years but is only now talking about it publicly. He tells the magazine: "I was young and dumb and one day I popped my mouth to the wrong person and got shot."

On an episode of Judge Hatchett, Washington told his story to a troubled teen in an effort to send him down the right path.

"Somebody tried to take my life. I have a bullet hole in my right hip from being shot," Washington said. "I thought I was smarter and faster and quicker than the person I was waiting for at the age of 19. I'm 43 and there was a time where I thought I'd never see 25."

Washington hopes his decision to come forward with his story will help this youngster and others choose a more positive path.

"He needed to see that we all have a choice in this world, that we can all change our destiny," Isaiah said.

Washington has made a career as a talented actor, but more impressively, he continues to leave an idelible mark as a human being dedicated to worthy causes and promoting the common good.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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I agree. I love that his face is an open book. You can read his emotions before he ever opens his mouth to speak. (A very handsome face, too, I might add.)

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IW is definitely one of the the success story! I love that I get to watch him every week. He's a phenomenal actor.

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It is so admirable when someone uses their celebrity for a positive cause. As much as I love Preston Burke, I admire the actor, Isaiah Washington, even more. It is not possible to know how many kids will hear his words of empowerment and will make a better choice because of his experience. For this and the work he is doing in his ancestral country in Africa to help boost the economy, Isaiah Washington is a hero.

Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith