Well, my friend, the list is quite long! Before Forest Whitaker joined the cast of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, he originally set out for college with the intent of becoming a football player. However, his direction soon changed as he switched to music, and then drama, finally graduating from USC in 1982.
Forest’s football roots returned in his first acting job of note, as he played the football player Charles Jefferson in the 1982 teen classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He made numerous guest appearances on classic 1980s television shows including Cagney & Lacey, Trapper John, MD, Hill Street Blues, The Fall Guy, and Diff’rent Strokes. Just four years later, we would see Forest again in The Color of Moneyand Platoon and the following year in Good Morning, Vietnam and Bird. The 1990s brought more critically acclaimed roles for Forest, including Jody in The Crying Game and Ghost Dog in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Forest continued to take on a variety of other hit and miss projects, including the 2000 production of Battlefield Earth, which he called one of the “worst films ever made.”
In 2006, Forest took on the role of Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland. This performance earned him the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, making him the fourth African-American actor in history to win this prestigious award. In addition, this role earned him several other awards including a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA Award.
As he worked on projects for the big screen, Forest also landed several television roles, making appearances on numerous popular TV series including The Twilight Zone, The Shield, ER, American Dad!, and Criminal Minds. Not one to sit idle, Forest has also appeared behind the camera, directing TV movies Strapped for HBO and Black Jaq and feature films Waiting to Exhale, Hope Floats, and First Daughter.
Indeed Forest Whitaker has enjoyed a diverse and plentiful career in film and television so far, and his latest run as Sam Cooper on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior continues to give fans much more of the quality work we’ve come to expect from Forest week after week!