He is an American actor, producer, and director, Forest Whitaker is indeed an all-round Hollywood icon. The actor is known for his thorough character study, especially of real-life characters, in which he internalizes his film character and in turn spits out a perfect reproduction on the screen.
Whitaker surpassed himself with his portrayal of the infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the historic drama The Last King of Scotland, shot in 2006. He shocked the world with his portrayal in the Biopic. This achievement earned him numerous awards, including the well-deserved Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BET, and the National Board of Review Awards for Best Actor. At the time he was the 4th African American to receive an Oscar for Best Actor.
Unlike the monstrous figure Whitaker portrayed in The Last King of Scotland, he is known for his infectious calm in real life. This gentle giant is so meek that those who interact with him find themselves turning their voice down a bit.
Forest Whitaker began his Hollywood career at the age of 21 and has starred in over 50 feature films with numerous awards. He has also received several accolades for a number of his behind-the-camera roles. Whitaker starred opposite Oprah Winfrey in the high-profile historical drama The Butler in 2013 and also played the character Zuri in the highly successful black superhero movie Black Panther in 2018.
Whitaker shares his time and resources equally as an activist and humanitarian. In 2011 he was accepted as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation. In 2012, he founded the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), which works to restore and promote peace in previously war-torn communities around the world.
Forest Whitaker’s Bio
Forest Whitaker III was born on 15 July 1961 in Longview, Texas. His mother Laura Francis (née 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.
Whitaker’s multifaceted talents were very evident during his college years. He first came to college on an athletic scholarship before a back injury led him to switch to music. He eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of South Carolina, which qualified him for a scholarship to Berkeley, where he specialized in acting and stage performance.
Forest Whitaker made his film debut in 1982 in the aging film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, in which he played the role of a footballer. He announced his presence in Hollywood in 1986 in the film The Color of Money, in which he played an epic scene as an ordinary billiard player.
The visibility he gained through this film earned him several other roles, all of which led up to his groundbreaking role in the 1988 biography of the late, troubled jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker. Whitaker received reviews for this performance, including the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award and a Golden Globe nomination. After that, he continued to work with several big names on films such as The Crying Game, The Great Debaters, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Butler, and The Arrival.
His behind-the-camera roles began in the 1990s as co-producer of the 1991 crime drama A Rage in Harlem. Whitaker’s first trip to the director’s seat was the 1995 crime thriller Strapped.
However, Whitaker closed down his production company Spirit Dance Entertainment in 2005 to concentrate on his acting career. For his one-off portrayal of the late African dictator Idi Amin in 2006, he certainly attracted all the attention he could afford. His performance took Hollywood by storm, and the critics were equally overwhelmed.
Nearly all the major awards for the best actor in the 2007 season went to Whitaker, including the 2007 Cinema for Peace Award, and the iconic actor was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2007.
Forest Whitaker blessed the world with another soulful performance opposite Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ historic drama The Butler in 2013. The iconic actor received several awards for this role, including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor and the African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor.
Forest Whitaker’s Wife, Son
Forest Whitaker is married to Keisha Nash, a former model, actress, and producer. She was born on March 8, 1972, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The couple first met on the set of the action thriller Blown Away, Keisha Nash was cast as a friend of Whitaker’s character. The two decided to turn their romance on-screen into reality and began dating after the filming was completed.
The couple entered into marriage 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 ring bearer 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)