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Biography #2 (for First Daughter)

Forest Whitaker, one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors/directors/producers/entrepreneurs, has showcased his talents in a multitude of demanding and diverse roles. Whitaker's multimedia company, Spirit Dance Entertainment, includes film, television and music production and is based in the U.S and the UK. Spirit Dance in London, SD4UK, mentors black and Asian filmmakers. Whitaker starred in Joel Schumacher's Phone Booth for Twentieth Century Fox opposite Colin Farrell. He also toplined Fourth Angel, an action thriller set in London, opposite Jeremy Irons, which aired on Showtime. Last year, Whitaker appeared to critical acclaim opposite Ossie Davis in the Showtime original film Deacons of Defense, a docudrama about a secret black militia group in the 1960s. Recently, he was the consulting producer and host of the high-profile remake of the television series The Twilight Zone, taking the role originated by the esteemed Rod Serling.

Whitaker is producing Doug Pray's (Scratch) latest documentary entitled The Rig through Spirit Dance Entertainment. He is also producing Facts About Kate, a project for Fox Searchlight. In 2003 he executive produced Chasing Papi, the first major studio romantic comedy aimed squarely at the Hispanic moviegoing market, for Twentieth Century Fox. Before that he starred in and executive produced Green Dragon, Spirit Dance Entertainment's first feature film production, which won the Humanitas and Audience Awards at the South by Southwest Film Festival. He also produced Door to Door starring William H. Macy for TNT under the Spirit Dance banner. The television film was nominated for two Golden Globes and one Emmy, and was honored by the American Film Institute. In 2001 Whitaker starred in and executive produced the TV mini-series Feast of All Saints, which won an Emmy and was nominated in two other categories.

In 1988, Whitaker was named Best Actor at The Cannes Film Festival for his brilliant portrayal of jazz legend Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood's Bird, a role for which he also received a Golden Globe nomination. Whitaker earned widespread recognition for his performance as ‘Jody,' the hostage British soldier in Neil Jordan's Academy-Award winning film The Crying Game. On television, Whitaker garnered a CableACE Award nomination for his performance in the Showtime original film, Last Light, directed by Kiefer Sutherland. He also starred in the HBO presentation Criminal Justice, for which he earned a CableACE Award nomination, and The Enemy Within, for which he received a Screen Actor's Guild nomination. In 2000, Whitaker played the title role of a spiritual gangster in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch. The film premiered at the 1999 Cannes Festival and screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival to critical acclaim. Ghost Dog was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature. The film's soundtrack was a co-venture with Spirit Dance. Most recently in theaters, Forest starred in director David Fincher's film The Panic Room, opposite Jodie Foster and Dwight Yoakam. Whitaker made his feature film directing debut with the critically acclaimed, boxoffice hit Waiting to Exhale for Twentieth Century Fox, starring Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon Fuqua and Loretta Devine. He first gained recognition as a director for his debut film, the 1993 HBO original Strapped, for which he received Best New Director honors at the Toronto Film Festival. He directed the Twentieth Century Fox film Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock. Whitaker also executiveproduced these films' multi-platinum soundtracks, which sold over 12 million copies collectively and earned a combined total of 14 Grammy nominations. His short film, John Henry, was released in February 2002 for Black History Month in connection with Disney's release of Return to Never Land.

In 2003, Whitaker became Executive Director of the Nodance Film Festival, a festival that celebrates the alternative digital film culture with an emphasis on first-time filmmakers and digital filmmaking. Originally held in Park City, Utah, Nodance has recently relaunched in Los Angeles and holds the distinction of being the world's first DVD-projected film festival.

Whitaker's other credits include Witness Protection, Light It Up, Phenomenon, opposite John Travolta, Species, Smoke, Robert Altman's Ready to Wear, Jason's Lyric, Platoon, Good Morning Vietnam, Consenting Adults, Stakeout, The Color of Money, Johnny Handsome, Downtown, Diary of a Hit Man, Body Snatchers, Vision Quest and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. 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.

Bio courtesy Fox for "First Daughter" (18-Sep-2004)


Biography #3

Forest Whitaker is one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors/directors/producers who has showcased his talents in a multitude of demanding and diverse roles. This year he will be starring in, directing and producing several highly anticipated films.

He can soon be seen starring in Joel Schumacher's Phone Booth for Twentieth Century Fox opposite Cohn Farrell. He can also be seen starring in Fourth Angel, an action thriller set in London, opposite Jeremy Irons. He also stars in and executive produced Green Dragon, the first feature film production of his multimedia company, Spirit Dance Entertainment. He also has a short film, John Henry, that was released in February for Black History month in connection with Disney's release of Peter Pan's Never Neverland. He also produced The Bill Porter Story starring William H. Macy for TNT under the Spirit Dance banner. Whitaker has also begun pre-production on Twentieth Century Fox's Fat Albert, his latest directorial project. The film will start shooting in April 2002.

In 2000, Whitaker played the title role of a spiritual gangster in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, directed by Jim Jarmusch. The film premiered at the 1999 Cannes Festival and screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival to critical acclaim. Ghost Dog was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature.

In 1988, Whitaker was named Best Actor at The Cannes Film Festival for his brilliant portrayal of jazz legend Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood's Bird, a role for which he also received a Golden Globe nomination.

Whitaker earned widespread recognition for his performance as 'Judy,' the hostage British soldier in Neil Jordan's Academy Awards-winning film The Crying Game. On television, Whitaker garnered a CableAce Award nomination for his performance in the Showtime original film, Last Light, directed by Kiefer Sutherland. He also starred in the HBO presentation Criminal Justice, for which he earned a CableAce Award nomination, and The Enemy Within, for which Whitaker received a Screen Actors Guild nomination.

Whitaker also executive produced Anne Rice's Feast of All Saints for Showtime. His other credits include Witness Protection for HBO, Light It Up, Touchstone's Phenomenon, opposite John Travolta, Species, Smoke, Robert Altman's Ready to Wear, Jason's Lyric, Platoon, Good Morning Vietnam, Consenting Adults, Stakeout, The Color of Money, Johnny Handsome, Downtown, Diary of a Hit Man, Body Snatchers, Vision Quest and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Whitaker made his feature film directing debut with the critically acclaimed box-office hit Waiting to Exhale for Twentieth Century Fox, starring Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine. He first gained recognition as a director for his debut film, the 1993 HBO original Strapped, for which he received Best New Director honors at the Toronto Film Festival. His last film was the Twentieth Century Fox film Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock.

Whitaker's multimedia company, Spirit Dance Entertainment, includes film, television and music production. Spirit Dance Entertainment is both US-based and UK-based. Spirit Dance in London, SD4UK, works with FilmFour mentoring black and Asian filmmakers. Whitaker will direct and produce feature films under the company's first-look deal with Twentieth Century Fox. They also have a first- look deal with HBO for television films.

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.

Whitaker resides with his wife and their children in Los Angeles.

updated 01-Jan-2000


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