Before being T’Challa’s trusted advisor in 2018 Black Panther, Whitaker Forest was already a household name in Hollywood. An actor of Denzel Washington’s generation (Washington is seven years older), Whitaker is a familiar face who has been seen in countless movies and TV shows. While he might not be as famous as Denzel, there’s no denying that Whitaker has a vast filmography. Some of his projects even played a big role in shaping American culture.
Forest Whitaker was born July 15, 1961 in Longview, Texas. His family then moved to Carson, California, where Whittaker spent his formative years. At Carson, he played on the high school football team and sang in the choir. After graduating from high school in 1979, he then attended California State Polytechnic University on a football scholarship. It was around this time that he decided to switch from football to choral singing, which then turned into drama. After transferring to the University of Southern California to train as an opera singer, Whitaker then decided to move on to acting and earned a BFA in theater in 1982.
That same year, he landed his first movie role as a high school football player in the urban coming-of-age tale. Quick times at Ridgemont High. The role opened doors for him and soon the young actor played in many films throughout the 80s. In 1985, he returned to the big screen in the role of Jean-Pierre “Balldozer” Baldosier in the film Vision Quest. He followed this up with the movie Scorsese The color of silver, playing the character of Amos opposite Paul Newman and Tom Cruise.
After that, Whitaker worked quite steadily. In 1986, he landed his first film on the Vietnam War, Section, before delving into the law enforcement aspect of entertainment later that year in Monitoring. In 1987, he returned to the world of war as Private Edward Garlick in his second Vietnamese film, Good morning Vietnam, alongside Robin Williams. Later that year he starred as Agent Rawlins in the popular Jean Claude Van Damme film. Blood sport.
It was in 1988 that Whitaker finally gained critical and celebrity acclaim after landing the lead role of Charlie “Bird” Parker in the Clint Eastwood film. Bird. Over the next three years, Whitaker appeared in various films before producing the classic film. A rage against Harlem and starring in the lead role of Jackson in 1991. He then improved as an actor with his role in the 1992 film. The crying game, in which he tried his hand at an English accent.
From there, Whitaker starred in many ’90s films, including Consenting Adults, Bank Thief, Body Thieves, Species, and Jason’s Lyrical. He also won awards for his work as Nate Pope in Phenomenon facing John Travolta. One of his best-known films at the turn of the decade was Ghost dog: the way of the samurai, in which he played a hitman for the mob that followed the old samurai code.
Although his momentum slowed down a bit in the 2000s, Whitaker was still very much at work for most of the early part of the decade. In 2002, he became known for his roles in films Panic room and Telephone booth, but it was not until 2006 that he played his iconic role of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the historical drama The Last King of Scotland. The film won Whitaker numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Actor, and opened another door to the new era of cinema.
From 2006 to 2013, Whitaker remained busy with several films including The great debaters, Advantageous position, and Repo Men. In 2013, he landed the lead role of White House Butler Cecil Gaines in Lee Daniel’s Butler. The film won numerous awards, with Whitaker’s performance hailed as one of the best of all historical dramas.
Fresh out of his success in The butler, Whitaker joined the cast of Liam Neeson’s popular film Taken franchise and appeared in his latest installment, Socket 3, like Inspector Frank Dotzler. With his career reinvigorated for a new generation of audiences, he began to find a new range of roles. In 2015, he produced the popular coming-of-age urban drama Drug, recounting the movie as the main character Malcolm Adekanbi made his way through California trying to get rid of someone else’s drugs. A year later, he appeared as Colonel Weber in the sci-fi drama Arrival opposite Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams. In the same year, he appeared as the live-action version of the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars character Saw Gerrera in the Disney movie Thief one.
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In 2017, Whitaker returned to the realm of historical drama as famed South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu in The forgiven contrary king arthur star Eric Bana. Soon after, he produced the highly controversial comedy sorry to disturb you and even landed a brief voiceover role as one of the Equisapiens.
This all came before his role in the 2018s Black Panther, in which he played the role of Zuri. His most recent role was as civil rights activist CL Franklin in the 2021 biographical musical drama. The respect based on the life of famous singer Aretha Franklin.
With all of those acting and producer credits under his belt, you’d think Whitaker made a lot of money in his 30-year career. So what is his current net worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Forest Whitaker is only worth $ 30 million. That’s not bad, considering most of his career has been spent mostly playing supporting characters. Yes, he had a few leads here and there, but he never built a reputation for himself as a top man with the ability to negotiate bigger paychecks like his friend Denzel Washington. Still, bringing in around a million each year is certainly an accomplishment in itself, so Whitaker deserves at least some credit for keeping this consistent all this time.