Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker
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Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Birth Name: Forest Steven Whitaker

Nickname/Stage Name: Forest Whitaker

Birth Date: July 15, 1961

Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller

Occupation(s): Actor, Producer, Director

Years Active: 1981 till Present

Net Worth: $30 million


Personal Life

Forest Whitaker was born in Longview, Texas. His ancestry has been traced to Nkwerre in Imo State, Nigeria, where he was given an honorary title on April 5, 2009.

He married actress Keisha Nash in 1996. They have four children; two daughters together(Sonnet and True) and his son (Ocean Alexander) and her daughter (Autumn) from previous relationships.

Whitaker is a student of yoga and has a black belt in Kenpo (one of the several Japanese martial arts). He is a vegetarian.


Whitaker attended Palisades Charter High School and enrolled at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona through a football scholarship.

He later transferred to the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California to study opera as a tenor. He was accepted into the university's Drama Conservatory.

He graduated from USC in 1982, bagging a degree in Fine Arts, and subsequently took a post-graduate course at Drama Studio London.


The actor had his first noteworthy onscreen performance was a supporting role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). He appeared in Martin Scorcese's 1986 film The Color of Money.

Whitaker starred opposite Robin Williams the following year in Good Morning, Vietnam. His first lead role was in Clint Eastwood's Bird (1988).

He continued with several well-known Hollywood directors throughout the 1990s and was cast in the pivotal role of captive British soldier Jody in the 1992 film The Crying Game.

In 1999, he played a serene, pigeon-loving hit man in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai directed by Jim Jarmusch. He co-starred in the thriller Phone Booth (2002).

The movie star's portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006) got him positive reviews from critics and earned him awards and honours.

He appeared in three movies in 2008; The Air I BreatheStreet Kings, and Vantage Point. He played the protagonist in Lee Daniel's The Butler (2013). It became one of his greatest critical and commercially successful films to date.

Whitaker portrayed Saw Gerrera in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


Cannes Award (1988)

Primetime Emmy Award (2003)

New York Film Critics Circle Award (2006)

National Board of Review Award (2006)

Satellite Award (2006)

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award (2006)

London Film Critics' Circle Award (2006)

African-American Film Critics Association Award (2006)

Black Reel Award (2006)

Boston Society of Film Critics Award (2006)

Broadcast Film Critics Association Award (2006)

Chicago Film Critics Association Award (2006)

Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award (2006)

Florida Film Critics Circle Award (2006)

Hollywood Film Award (2006)

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award (2006)

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award (2006)

Online Film Critics Society Award (2006)

Phoenix Film Critics SocietyAward (2006)

Southeastern Film Critics Association Award (2006)

Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award (2006)

Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award (2006)

Academy Award (2007)

Golden Globe Award (2007)

BAFTA Award (2007)

BET Award (2007)

Critics' Choice Movie Award (2007)

National Society of Film Critics Award (2007)

Screen Actors Guild Award (2007, 2019)

NAACP Image Award (2007, 2014)

Independent Spirit Award (2014, 2019)

Producers Guild of America Award (2014)

BFCA Critics' Choice Joel Siegel Award (2014)


"I can play a man who is despicable. But I will still look inside him to find a point of connection. If I can find that kernel, audiences will relate to me."

"As a kid, I never had dreams of becoming an actor or director. Even when I was already working professionally, it took me a long time to know whether this was what I really wanted to be. Now I feel comfortable about what I'm doing..."

"My eye? It's a genetic thing. My dad had it and now I have it. I just found that it may be correctible a little bit because it does impair my vision. When I look up, I lose sight in this eye. I think maybe for other people, it informs the way they see me. But I don't really think about this eye other than the times people talk about it, or when people take photographs of me sometimes, they might say stuff about it. I don't think it makes me look bad or anything. It just is."


Has two brothers; Kenn Whitaker and Damon Whitaker.

Born with an eye condition known as Ptosis (meaning "drooping eyelid").

Won 23 major awards for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.


Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Platoon (1986)

Bird (1988)

Diary of a Hitman (1991)

Jason's Lyric (1994)

Body Count (1988)

The Fourth Angel (2001)

American Gun (2005)

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Repo Men (2010)

Lee Daniel's The Butler (2013)

Arrival (2016)

Black Panther (2018)

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

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