Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker

Infobox actor

imagesize = 200px
caption = Forest Whitaker, March 2007
birthname = Forest Steven Whitaker
birthdate = birth date and age|mf=yes|1961|7|15
birthplace = Longview, Texas, U.S.
yearsactive = 1982 - present
spouse = Keisha Nash (1996-present)
academyawards = Best Actor
2006 "The Last King of Scotland"
baftaawards = Best Actor
2006 "The Last King of Scotland"
emmyawards = Outstanding Made For Television Movie
2003 "Door to Door"
goldenglobeawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
2006 "The Last King of Scotland"
sagawards = Best Actor - Motion Picture
2006 "The Last King of Scotland"
awards = Best Actor - Cannes Film Festival
1988 "Bird"
NBR Best Cast
1994 "Prêt-à-Porter"
NBR Best Actor
2006 "The Last King of Scotland"
NYFCC Best Actor
2006 "The Last King of Scotland"

Forest Steven Whitaker (born July 15, 1961) is an American actor, producer, and director. Whitaker won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film "The Last King of Scotland". Whitaker has also won a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA. He became the fourth African American male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, following in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx. [ [ "Forest Whitaker wins Best Actor Oscar for Idi Amin role,"] ABCNewsOnline, February 26, 2007.]

He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as "Bird" and "". [ "In general, he rules,"] "The Boston Globe", October 1, 2006.] [ "Forest Whitaker: The King Of The Oscars?",] ("CBS News"), February 4, 2007.] However, for his recurring role as ex-LAPD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on the gritty, award-winning television series, "The Shield", Whitaker merely had to draw on his childhood years growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California.Adam Sternbergh. [ "Out of the Woods: How Forest Whitaker escaped his career slump,"] "New York", January 9, 2006.]

Early life

Whitaker was born in Longview, Texas and his family moved to South Central Los Angeles in 1965, when he was four due to racism.John Patterson. [,,686667,00.html "The bigger picture,"] "The Guardian, April 20, 2002.] His father, Forest Whitaker, Jr., was an insurance salesman and the son of novelist Forest Whitaker, Sr. His mother, Laura Francis (née Smith), was a special education teacher who put herself through college and earned two Masters degrees while raising her children. [ [ Forest Whitaker Biography (1961-) ] ] [Stated in interview at "Inside the Actors Studio".] Whitaker has two younger brothers, Kenn and Damon, and an older sister, Deborah.

As a teenager, Whitaker commuted from Carson to wealthy Palisades High School on LA's West Side. There, he was all-league defensive tackle on the football team quarterbacked by Jay Schroeder, a future NFL player." [ Inside the Actors Studio] ", Bravo, January 4, 2007.] While in high school, he also took voice lessons, performed in musicals, and caught the "acting bug" ; his first role as an actor was the lead in Dylan Thomas' play, Under Milk Wood. Whitaker graduated from "Pali High" in 1979. [ [ "Bringing Home the Oscars,"] "Palisadian-Post", February 28, 2007.]

Whitaker then attended the Cal Poly Pomona [cite web | title=Cal Poly Pomona | url=|format=HTML| work= CSU Mentor | accessdate=2008-09-12] on a football scholarship, but left due to a debilitating back injury when he was hurt in training by defensive end Manny Duran. He was accepted to the Music Conservatory at the University of Southern California (USC) to study opera as a tenor, and subsequently was accepted into the University's Drama Conservatory. He graduated from USC in 1982. He also earned a scholarship to the Berkeley, California branch of the Drama Studio London. [Joshua Rich. [,,1543116,00.html "Spotlight: Forest Whitaker,"]]


Film work

Whitaker has a long history of working with well-regarded film directors and fellow actors. In his first onscreen role of note, he played a football player in Amy Heckerling's 1982 coming-of-age teen-comedy, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". He co-starred alongside Nicolas Cage, Phoebe Cates, and Sean Penn. In 1986, he appeared in Martin Scorsese's film, "The Color of Money" (with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise), and in Oliver Stone's "Platoon". The following year, he co-starred with Robin Williams in the comedy "Good Morning, Vietnam".

In 1988, Whitaker played in the movie Bloodsport alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and he had the lead role as musician Charlie Parker in the Clint Eastwood-directed film, "Bird". To prepare himself for the part, he sequestered himself in a loft with only a bed, couch, and saxophone, having also conducted extensive research and taken alto sax lessons.Bob Longino. [ "The power of Forest Whitaker,"] "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution", October 12, 2006.] His performance, which has been called "transcendent," earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination. Whitaker continued to work with a number of well-known directors throughout the 1990s. He starred in the 1990 movie "Downtown" with Anthony Edwards and Penelope Ann Miller. Neil Jordan cast him in the pivotal role of "Jody" in his 1992 film, "The Crying Game". Todd McCarthy, of "Variety", described Whitaker's performance as "big-hearted," "hugely emotional," and "simply terrific." [Todd McCarthy. [ "The Crying Game (Review),"] "Variety", September 11, 1992.] In 1994, he was a member of the cast that won the first ever National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble for Robert Altman's film, "Prêt-à-Porter". He gave a "characteristically emotional performance" [David Stratton. [ "Smoke (Review),"] "Variety", February 20, 1995.] in Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's 1995 film, "Smoke".

", March 3, 2000.]

Whitaker next appeared in what has been called one of the "worst films ever made,"Duncan Campbell. [,4273,4023865,00.html "Cult Classic,"] "Guardian Unlimited", May 31, 2005.] the 2000 production of "Battlefield Earth", based on the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard. The film was widely criticized as a notorious commercial and critical disaster. [Roger Ebert. [ "Battlefield Earth,"] "Chicago Sun-Times", May 12, 2000.] However, Whitaker's performance was lauded by the film's director, Roger Christian, who commented that, "'Everybody's going to be very surprised'" by Whitaker, who "'found this huge voice and laugh.'" [Bob Graham. [ "What on Earth Are These Guys Doing?",] "San Francisco Chronicle", April 30, 2000.] "BattleField Earth" "won" seven Razzie Awards; Whitaker was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to his co-star, Barry Pepper. In 2001, Whitaker had a small, uncredited role in the Wong Kar-wai-directed "The Follow", one of five short films produced by BMW that year to promote its cars. [ [ "The Follow"] at MSN Movies.] He co-starred in Joel Schumacher's 2002 thriller, "Phone Booth", with Kiefer Sutherland and Colin Farrell. That year, he also co-starred with Jodie Foster in "Panic Room". His performance as the film's "bad guy" has been described as "a subtle chemistry of aggression and empathy."

Whitaker's greatest success to date is the 2006 film, "The Last King of Scotland". To prepare for his role as dictator Idi Amin, Whitaker gained 50 pounds, learned to play the accordion, and immersed himself in research. [ "Forest Whitaker: The King Of The Oscars?",] ("CBS News"), Feb. 4, 2007.] He read books about Amin, watched news and documentary footage, and spent time in Uganda meeting with Amin's friends, relatives, generals, and victims; he also learned Swahili and mastered Amin's East African accent.

His performance earned him the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, making him the fourth African-American actor in history to do so. For that same role, he also received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award, and accolades from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. In 2007 Whitaker also played Dr. James Farmer Sr. in The Great Debaters.

In 2008 Forest Whitaker was in the movie The Air I Breathe. In the movie he played a business man who likes butterflies and is only known through out the movie as Happiness.

In 2008 Whitaker played rogue police captain Jack Wander in Street Kings, and heroic tourist, Howard Lewis in Vantage Point.

Television work

In 1985, Whitaker played a bully who loses his girlfriend to Arnold on the "Diff'rent Strokes" episode "Bully for Arnold". That same year, Whitaker also played the part of a comic book salesman in the Amazing Stories episode "Gather Ye Acorns".

In 2002, Whitaker was the host and narrator of 44 new episodes of the Rod Serling classic, "The Twilight Zone", which lasted one season on UPN. [ [ "The Twilight Zone (2002)"] at]

Whitaker returned to television in 2006 when he joined the cast of FX's police serial "The Shield", as Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh, who is determined to prove that the lead character, Vic Mackey, is a dirty cop. He received rave reviews for his performance — "Variety" called it a "crackling-good guest stint" [Brian Lowry. [ "The Shield" (Review),] "Variety", March 27, 2007] — and he reprised the role in the show's 2007 season.

In the fall of 2006, Whitaker started a multi-episode story arc on "ER" as Curtis Ames, a man who comes into the ER with a cough, but quickly faces the long-term consequences of a paralyzing stroke; he then takes out his anger on Doctors Luka Kovac and Abby Lockhart. Whitaker received a 2007 Emmy nomination for his performance on the series. Also in 2006, Whitaker appeared in T.I.'s video "Live in the Sky" alongside Jamie Foxx.

On February 10, 2007, Whitaker hosted "Saturday Night Live". [ [ "Saturday Night Live" Archives] ] His singing talent was featured in several sketches, including a sketch about a singing waiter who can sing notes that can only be heard by dogs.

Whitaker starred in a 30-second ad for Cingular/AT&T which can only be seen at movie theaters, reminding moviegoers to silence their cell phones before the movie starts.

Producing and directing

Whitaker branched out into producing and directing in the 1990s. He co-produced and co-starred in "A Rage in Harlem" in 1991. He made his directorial debut with a grim film about inner-city gun violence, "Strapped", for HBO in 1993. In 1995, he directed his first feature, "Waiting to Exhale", which was based on the Terry McMillan novel of the same name. Roger Ebert observed that the tone of the film resembled Whitaker's own acting style: "measured, serene, confident." [Roger Ebert. [ "Waiting to Exhale (review)"] , "Chicago Sun-Times", December 22, 1995.] Whitaker also directed co-star Whitney Houston's music video of the movie's theme song ("Shoop Shoop").

Whitaker continued his directing career with the 1998 romantic comedy, "Hope Floats", starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. He directed Katie Holmes in the romantic comedy, "First Daughter" in 2004; he had co-starred with Holmes in "Phone Booth (film)" in 2002.

Whitaker also served as an executive producer on "First Daughter". He had previously executive produced several made-for-television movies, most notably the 2002 Emmy-award winning "Door to Door", starring William H. Macy. He produced these projects through his production company, Spirit Dance Entertainment, which he shut down in 2005 to concentrate on his acting career.

Recent honors

In addition to the numerous awards Whitaker won for his performance in "The Last King of Scotland", he has also received several other honors. In September 2006, the 10th Annual Hollywood Film Festival presented him with its "Hollywood Actor of the Year Award," calling him "one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors." [ [ Press release,] Hollywood Film Festival News, September 28, 2006.] He was also honored at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2007, where he received the American Riviera Award. [ [ Festival 2007 Tributes,] Santa Barbara International Film Festival.] Previously, in 2005, the Deauville (France) Festival of American Film paid tribute to him. [Lisa Nesselson. [ "Deauville tips hat,"] "Variety", August 18, 2005.] In 2007, Forest Whitaker won the "Cinema for Peace Award 2007 For Best Actor" for his role of Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland".

Whitaker was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, April 16th, 2007.

Other work

In November 2007, Whitaker became the spokesman for, a website that let people decide the next flavor of Mountain Dew in a "People's Dew" poll.

Personal life

In 1996, Whitaker married actress Keisha Nash, whom he met on the set of "Blown Away". The Whitakers have four children: two daughters together (Sonnet and True), his son (Ocean) from a previous relationship, and her daughter (Autumn) from a previous relationship. Whitaker, who is a vegetarian, has recorded a [ public service announcement] with his daughter, True, promoting vegetarianism on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In politics, Whitaker has supported and spoken on behalf of Senator Barack Obama. Whitaker also studies yoga and has a black belt in karate.

Whitaker's left eye ptosis has been called "intriguing" by some critics [Susan Wloszczyna. [ "'Last King' demanded obedience to their craft,"] "USA Today", October 2, 2006.] and "gives him a sleepy, contemplative look." [Stephanie Zacharek. [ "Jim Jarmusch adds lyrical violence to a Zen meditation on warriors hip-hop and ancient,"], March 9, 2000.] Whitaker has explained that the condition is hereditary and that he has considered having surgery to correct it, not for cosmetic reasons but because it affects his vision. [Mike Sager. [ "What I've Learned: Forest Whitaker,"] msnlifestyle: men, reprinted from "Esquire".]




External links

*imdb name|0001845
*tvtome person|61686

NAME=Whitaker, Forest
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American actor and film director.
DATE OF BIRTH= July 15, 1961
PLACE OF BIRTH= Longview, Texas

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  • Forest Whitaker — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Forest Whitaker Nombre real Forest Steven Whitaker Nacimiento 15 de julio de 1961 …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Forest Whitaker — Whitaker im März 2007 Forest Steven Whitaker (* 15. Juli 1961 in Longview, Texas) ist ein US amerikanischer Schauspieler, Filmproduzent, Regisseur. Neben zahlreichen Auszeichnungen erhielt er 2007 für seine Rolle als Idi Amin im Spielfilm …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Whitaker — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sport Le nom de Whitaker est porté par plusieurs sportifs de haut niveau : Chris Whitaker (1974 ), joueur de rugby à XV australien. John Whitaker… …   Wikipédia en Français

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