Forest Steven Whitaker (born July 15, 1961) is an American actor, producer, and director. Whitaker won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland. Whitaker has also won a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA. He became the fourth African American man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, following in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx.
He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as Bird and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. However, for his recurring role as ex-LAPD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on the gritty, award-winning television series, The Shield, Whitaker merely had to draw on his childhood years growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California.