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Whitaker, Forest (1961–)

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WHITAKER, FOREST (1961–). Actor, director. He was born in Longview, Texas, and attended college on a football scholarship but switched to studying music when he transferred to the University of Southern California. He later entered the drama program at the University of California, Berkeley, and appeared in his first film, as a high school football player in Fast Times at Ridgemont High , 1982. He gained credibility as a young pool shark in The Color of Money , 1986; as jazz great Charlie “Bird” Parker in Bird , 1988; as a captured British soldier in The Crying Game , 1992; and has continued working ever since. After directing stage plays and music videos, Whitaker made his feature directorial debut with the film version of Terry McMillan’s best-selling novel Waiting to Exhale , 1995. He also directed Hope Floats , 1998. On television, he hosted the contemporary version of the famed sci-fi series The Twilight Zone .

Filmography: Fast Times at Ridgemont High , 1982; Tag: The Assassination Game , 1982; Vision Quest , 1985; Platoon , 1986; The Color of Money , 1986; Bloodsport , 1986; Good Morning, Vietnam , 1987; Stakeout , 1987; Hands of a Stranger , 1987; Bird , 1988; Johnny Handsone , 1989; Downtown , 1989; Criminal Justice , 1990; A Rage in Harlem , 1991; Diary of a Hitman , 1991; The Crying Game , 1992; Article 99 , 1992; Consenting Adults , 1992; Strapped , 1993; Last Light , 1993; Body Snatchers , 1993; Bank Robber , 1993; The Enemy Within , 1994; Jason’s Lyric , 1994; Blown Away , 1994; Lush Life , 1994; Waiting to Exhale , 1995; Smoke , 1995; Species , 1995; Phenomenon , 1996; Hope Floats , 1998; Body Count , 1998; Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai , 1999; Light It Up , 1999; Witness Protection , 1999; Four Dogs Playing Poker , 1999; Battlefield Earth , 2000; Green Dragon , 2001; The Follow , 2001; The Fourth Angel , 2001; Feast of All Saints , 2001; The Panic Room , 2002; Phone Booth , 2002; The Last King of Scotland , 1976.

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