As Sam Cooper
Full name: Forest Steven Whitaker
Criminal Minds character: Sam Cooper
Date of birth: July 15, 1961
Hometown: Longview, Texas
Currently residing in: Los Angeles, California
Forest Whitaker caught the “acting bug” while attending Palisades High School in West Los Angeles. He entered California State Polytechnic University on a football scholarship, but after a debilitating back injury he changed his major to music. After transferring to USC to concentrate on music and training as an operatic tenor, Forest eventually landed at Berkeley to focus on acting. He made his big screen debut at the age of 21 in the classic teen movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where he played a football player. Garnering a wealth of experience on TV and the big screen Forest became a huge success, with roles in big screen films like The Color of Money, The Crying Game, Platoon, and Good Morning Vietnam. In 2006, Whitaker won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland.