1. Forest Steven Whitaker III is an American actor, director, and producer.
2. Whitaker won the Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, Golden Globe Award, National Board of Review Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and various critics groups awards for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland.
3. His family moved to Carson, California when he was four. His father, Forest Steven Jr., was an insurance salesman.
4. Whitaker then attended Cal Poly Pomona on a football scholarship, but due to a debilitating back injury, he changed his major to music .
5. While still at Cal Poly, he briefly changed his major to drama.
6. He also earned a scholarship to the Berkeley, California branch of the Drama Studio London.
7. Whitaker has a long history of working with well-regarded film directors and fellow actors, as well as working in direct-to-video films alongside novice actors such as Lil Wayne, Maggie Grace and 50 Cent.
8. The following year, he co-starred with Robin Williams in the comedy Good Morning, Vietnam.
9. In 1988, Whitaker played in the film Bloodsport alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and he had his first lead role starring as musician Charlie “Bird” Parker in the Clint Eastwood-directed film, Bird.
10. To prepare himself for the part, he sequestered himself in a loft with only a bed, couch, and saxophone, and a Golden Globe nomination.
11. Whitaker continued to work with a number of well-known directors throughout the 1990s.
12. He starred in the 1990 film Downtown with Anthony Edwards and Penelope Ann Miller.
13. Neil Jordan cast him in the pivotal role of “Jody”, a captive British soldier in his 1992 film, The Crying Game where Whitaker used an English accent.
14. Whitaker played a serene, pigeon-raising, bushido-following, mob hit man in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, a 1999 film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch.
15. Whitaker next appeared in what has been called one of the worst films ever made, the 2000 production of Battlefield Earth, based on the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard.
16. That year, he also co-starred with Jodie Foster in Panic Room.