by John Thairu
Talented actor, director and producer was born on July 15, 1961 in Longview, Texas and grew up in South Central Los Angeles after moving with his parents and three siblings at the age of four. During his high school days Whitaker had to commute daily to Palisades High School which was close to twenty five miles away. During this time he began to develop a liking for the arts and started participating in plays and musicals. He was also an accomplished athlete and played as an all-league defensive tackle on his school’s football team which earned him a college scholarship to the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. Unfortunately Whitaker was not able to focus on a football due to a recurrent back injury and eventually transferred to USC studying opera at the University’s Drama Conservatory. Whitaker managed to break into showbiz after he was spotted by an agent while performing in The Beggar’s Opera at USC’s conservatory program.
Today Forest Whitaker is one the most respected and sought after talents in Hollywood and has acted in over sixty major motion pictures as well as producing and directing a couple of films. One of biggest highlights of his career came in 2007 when he received and Oscar award for his portrayal of dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland. This was a rigorous role that was very involving requiring him to learn a new language and active interact with relatives and friends of the late dictator. Other accolades that Whitaker has received include a Golden Globe Award, NAACP Image Award among many others.
Forest Whitaker also has an impressive television role portfolio and has starred in many acclaimed programs including ER, The Twilight Zone and The Shield.
He currently resides in Los Angeles where he remains active in the motion picture and television industry.