Date of Birth: July 15, 1961
"I hardly ever lose my temper," says this native of Longview, Texas. Which is a good thing considering he's a big guy, big enough to be an all-league defensive tackle while playing college football.
Beginning his career on stage in both America and England, he made his film debut in 1982 and has since gone on to establish himself as an actor of impressive range as well as a skilled director.
"Directing," Whitaker says, "is more comfortable for me because as an actor there's always something inherently false. Because I'm not that person....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."
With his dual career going well for him now, Whitaker says, "For a long time, I thought it was going to take a lot to make me happy. Now, though, I'm relatively at peace. I love acting and directing when I'm doing them, yet there's no sense of "I must," because I could do neither of them and still be happy. If I can just tell some stories, maybe uplift some people by telling them, I'll be more than okay."
As an actor, he won Best Actor at the Canne Film Festival for Bird (1998), as well as a Golden Globe nomination for the same role; the International Critics' Award at the 1993 Toronto International Film Festival for Strapped; a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Drama for Phenomenon (1996) and a Black Reel Award for the TV movie Deacons for Defense (2003).
He has also received much critical acclaim, including a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006). Some of his memorable roles since then include Vantage Point (2008) co-starring Dennis Quaid, the voice of Ira in Where the Wild Things Are (2009), Jude Law's partner in Repo Men (2010) and an activist alongside Eva Longoria in A Dark Truth (2013). He also starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2013 action flick The Last Stand (2013). In 2011, he also played the recurring role of Sam Cooper in the hit television series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. he even appeared in Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013) where he starred alongside Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack. He then he starred in Black Nativity (2013), Repentance (2014), Taken 3 (2014), and Southpaw (2015).
The talented actor was also seen in the space drama Arrival (2016) alongside Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, and the sci-fi reboot Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) starring Felicity Jones, as well as Black Panther (2018), starring Chadwick Boseman.
On the personal side, Whitaker is a vegetarian. He has been married to his wife Keisha since 1996 and they have two daughters together. He also has a son, Ocean, from a previous relationship.
Filmography (actor):Black Panther (2018)
Filmography (director): First Daughter (2004)
Hope Floats (1998)
Waiting to Exhale (1995)