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Forest Whitaker Celebrates His 60th Birthday

Jul 15, 2021 04:00PM ● By Kassidy Garland

Forest Steven Whitaker was born on July 15, 1961, in Longview, Texas, with his family later moving to Southern California. His mother, Laura Francis, was a special education teacher who put herself through college and earned two master's degrees, and his father, Forest E. Whitaker Jr., was an insurance salesman. Whitaker also grew up with two younger brothers and an older sister.

After his family moved to Carson, California, Whitaker was his high school quarterback, and his skills won him a scholarship to play at California State Polytechnic University. After a career-ending injury, he transferred to the University of Southern California to study opera and drama. He graduated from USC with a BFA in acting in 1982.


Forest Whitaker’s first role came in the form of a football player in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Soon after, Whitaker started scoring roles in other movies like The Color of Money, Platoon, and Good Morning, Vietnam. In his later years as an actor, he has landed roles in a number of large movies like Star Wars, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Black Panther. Whitaker has become known for working with esteemed actors and directors throughout his long career in the film industry. 

In addition to his career as an actor, Whitaker has also directed movies Waiting to Exhale, Hope Floats, First Daughter, and Door To Door. He has also directed music videos for Whitney Houston, and has produced movies like Repentance and Dope.

Forest Whitaker has also worked as a TV actor with roles in Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Godfather of Harlem, as well as a role in Hughie on Broadway. He has also had a hand in producing music for some of his movies.


Whitaker has become famous for his left eye ptosis, or drooping of an eyelid, with critics claiming it gives him an “intriguing” or “sleepy and contemplative look”. Although it has become a recognizable feature, he has considered doing surgery, as it affects his vision.

Forest Whitaker has maintained a successful career in the entertainment industry since the 1980s, but his talent and character appears off-screen, as well. He has also spent a significant portion of his life being involved in charity work, including as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation and a member of President Obama’s Urban Policy Committee, and has collaborated with the UN.  

 Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Kassidy is also pursuing a Master’s degree in IT with a concentration in Web Development. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine. 

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