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Overview for Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 15, 1961 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Longview, Texas, USA Profession: Cast ...


On November 3, 2001, Whitaker was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence.

"As a black man, Mr. Whitaker is especially pleased that some of his parts, including the ones in "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "The Color of Money" and one in Walter Hill's "Johnny Handsome", were at first written for white characters. "I've been more fortunate than a lot of black actors," said Mr. Whitaker. . . ." --From "Switching To a New Camera Angle" by Bernard Weinraub in The New York Times, August 17, 1993

On filming "Strapped" in Brooklyn's Fort Greene district and using community residents in the film: "[Danger] was a big concern of the production team. But it was always my contention that we couldn't ignore the people that were there and move away to shoot the film: That's a big part of the problem, not looking at the situation and dealing with it.

"Once we were there, we had a blast." --Forest Whitaker to Stephen Schaefer in USA Today, August 19, 1993

"Directing is more comfortable for me, because as an actor there's always something inherently false. Because I'm not that person. I can spend a week in jail, but I'm still leaving. I once talked to a shaman who said, 'What makes you think these characters you play aren't real? I think you should examine that.' But it has always been my great frustration as an actor that I can't go deep into the thoughts, feelings and history of the character. As a director, I feel like it's real. I get caught up in the emotions and the story. I like being a storyteller." --Whitaker to Movieline, December 1996

"Both 'Exhale' and 'Hope Floats' are about people overcoming problems, trying to regain belief in themselves. These are themes I'll always address, whether in a male- or female-driven film." --Whitaker to Los Angeles Times, May 24, 1998

"If you enslave people, beat and rape them, separate them from their families, force them to fight against each other--if you create that kind of abuse, of course it's going to be passed down generationally. Since it was only about thirty years ago when we couldn't ride in the front of the bus, there must be some acknowledgment of the past to feel good about yourself now. So to have an African-American film that's yours and is doing well and everybody loves it, that's not only a source of pride but a source of healing. When at a certain point, the healing has actually occurred, you can accept broader themes. Even though Jewish people are doing really well they continually, through their art, remind themselves of their past and recognize themselves as a cultural group ... I feel if you have an acceptance of others you'll find the similarities between you and them are immense. The Judaic tradition and the Egyptian or Yorubic traditions are almost the same." --to Interview, June 1998.

About why he named his daughter True and son Ocean: "I want those names to be their destiny, for my daughter to be honest and my son to be expansive. I try to be like a forest, revitalizing and constantly growing." Forest knows an odd name can be hard for a child: "Kids would tease me, calling me 'Little Bush'. But ... I thought being called Forest helped me find my identity." --Whitaker to Webster Hall curator Baird Jones, quoted in the New York Post, December 11, 1999

Whitaker devotes most of his reading to "ancient texts" and philosophy books. He believes one's name is one's destiny ["I try to be like a forest, revitalizing and constantly growing"]-Whitaker Biography September 2002

Whitaker works closely with a number of charitable organizations. He serves as an Honorary Board Member for Penny Lane, an organization that provides assistance to abused teenagers. He is also involved with 4-D All Stars, a motivational mentor program for teenagers as well as The Watts Cinema Project.

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