He is an American actor, producer and director, indeed Forest Whitaker is an all-round Hollywood icon. The actor is known for thorough character study, especially for real-life characters, in which he gets to internalize his movie character and in turn, spews a perfect replication on screen.
Whitaker outdid himself with his portrayal of the infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, in the 2006 historical drama film The Last King of Scotland. He shocked the world with his performance in the biopic. That performance earned him numerous accolades including a well-deserved Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BET and National Board of Review Awards for Best Actor. At that time, he was the 4th African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Unlike the monstrous character Whitaker portrayed in The Last King of Scotland, he is known to have an infectious calm in real life. So soft-spoken is this gentle giant that those who interact with him find themselves bringing their voices a notch lower.
Forest Whitaker began his Hollywood career at the age of 21 and has so far, starred in over 50 feature films with numerous accolades to show for it. He has also received some praises for a number of his behind-the-camera roles. Whitaker starred opposite Oprah Winfrey in the high-profile 2013 historical drama The Butler and also played the character Zuri in the highly successful 2018 black superhero movie Black Panther.
Whitaker equally shares his time and resources as an activist and humanitarian. In 2011, he was inducted as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace & Reconciliation. In 2012, he founded the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) which strives to restore and nurture peace in previously war-torn communities around the world.
Forest Whitaker’s Bio
Forest Whitaker III was born on July 15, 1961, in Longview, Texas. His mother Laura Francis (nee Smith) was a teacher. His father Forest Steven Whitaker worked as a marketer for an insurance company. The family moved to Los Angeles when he was 4 years old.
The multi-talented nature of Whitaker was very prominent in his college days. He first got into college on a sports scholarship, before a back injury caused him to switch to music. He eventually earned a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina which qualified him for a scholarship to Berkeley where he majored in acting and stage performance.
Forest Whitaker made his movie debut way back in 1982 in the coming-of-age movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where he played the role of a footballer. He announced his presence in Hollywood in the 1986 movie The Color of Money, with one epic scene as an ordinary looking pool player.
The visibility he gained from that movie earned him several other roles, all leading up to his breakout role in the 1988 biopic of the late troubled jazz saxophonist Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. Whitaker received critical acclaim for that performance including the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor and a Golden Globe nomination. After that, he continued to work with several big names on such movies as The Crying Game, The Great Debaters, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Butler and Arrival.
His behind-the-camera roles began in the 1990s, beginning as a co-producer on the 1991 crime drama A Rage in Harlem. Whitaker’s first outing on the directorial seat was on the 1995 crime thriller Strapped.
Whitaker, however, shut down his production company Spirit Dance Entertainment in 2005 to focus on his acting career. He certainly mustered all the focus he could afford for his once-in-a-lifetime portrayal of late African dictator Idi Amin in 2006. His performance took Hollywood by storm and the critics were equally overwhelmed.
Nearly all the major awards for Best Actor went to Whitaker in the 2007 Award Season including the 2007 Cinema for Peace Award. The iconic actor received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in April 2007.
Forest Whitaker blessed the world with another soulful performance opposite Oprah Winfrey in the 2013 Lee Daniels’ historical drama The Butler. The iconic actor received several accolades for this role including an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor and African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor.
Forest Whitaker’s Wife, Son
Forest Whitaker is married t a former model, actress and producer, Keisha Nash. She was born on March 8, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The couple first met on the set of the action thriller Blown Away, Keisha Nash was cast as the girlfriend of Whitaker’s character. The two decided to bring their on-screen romance into reality and began dating when filming ended.
The couple tied the knot on May 4, 1996, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Before they met, they had 2 children from previous relationships, son Ocean and daughter Autumn. Whitaker’s son, Ocean was the ringbearer at their wedding, while Keisha’s daughter Autumn was a flower girl.
Ocean Whitaker was born in 1990 while Autumn was born in 1991. After their marriage, Whitaker and his wife welcomed 2 more daughters, Sonnet Noel in 1996 and True in 1998.
What happened to his eyes?
If you know Forest Whitaker very well, then you may have probably noticed something odd about his left eye. According to the multi-talented Hollywood icon, his father equally had the condition. It turns out that Whitaker suffers from a hereditary condition known as Ptosis, also referred to as “Lazy eye”. The condition results in the drooping of the upper eyelid which gets worse if the individual stays awake for too long.
Forest Whitaker is fortunate to have only one of his eyes affected because the condition sometimes affects both eyes. He has equally admitted that the condition sometimes affects his vision. Other than the fact that it impairs his vision, Whitaker isn’t really bothered about the condition.
Forest Whitaker’s Net Worth
For one who has blessed Hollywood with his incredible talent for several decades, Forest Whitaker has really come a long way. Apart from his highly illustrious acting career, he has equally had successful stints as a producer and director.
Forest Whitaker’s net worth is currently estimated at $40 million. True to his celebrity status, Whitaker spends his money on a life of luxury including a Hollywood Hills mansion and several luxurious cars. However, as a humanitarian, he equally makes generous donations to numerous humanitarian causes all around the world.
Height and Body Measurements
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 220 lbs
Biceps: 38 cm
Chest: 117 cm
Waist: 102 cm
Shoe Size: 11 (US) or 44 (EU)