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FOREST WHITAKER (Ira) is one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors, directors and producers. In 2007, after winning almost every critics' award, Whitaker received Academy Award,® Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Awards for Best Actor for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the historic drama "The Last King of Scotland.” Additionally, his independent film "American Gun,” a movie in which he starred and produced, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

Among his upcoming projects is the highly anticipated "Repo Men,” in which Whitaker stars opposite Jude Law, set for 2010. He also served as an executive producer of "Brick City,” a six-part documentary about Newark, NJ, to air this fall on the Sundance Channel. He recently wrapped filming Olivier Dahan's "My Own Love Song,” opposite Renee Zellweger; the Rick Famuyiwa comedy "Family Wedding”; and "The Experiment,” opposite Adrien Brody.

Whitaker made his film debut in 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and in 1988 was named Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of jazz legend Charlie Parker in Clint Eastwood's "Bird,” a role for which he also received a Golden Globe nomination. He played the title role of a spiritual gangster in Jim Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai,” nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. The film's soundtrack was a co-venture with Whitaker's own company, Spirit Dance. He then starred in, and executive produced "Green Dragon,” which won the Humanitas Award and the Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

His film credits include "Panic Room” and "Phone Booth,” for which he was nominated for an Image Award, and his roles in both films then earned him a nomination for a Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor. His additional credits include "The Great Debaters,” "Vantage Point,” "Street Kings,” "The Crying Game,” "Fourth Angel,” "A Little Trip to Heaven,” "Mary,” HBO's "Witness Protection,” "Light It Up,” "Phenomenon,” "Species,” "Smoke,” "Ready to Wear, "Jason's Lyric,” "Platoon,” "Good Morning Vietnam,” "Consenting Adults,” "Stakeout,” "The Color of Money,” "Johnny Handsome,” "Downtown,” "Diary of a Hit Man,” "Body Snatchers,” "Vision Quest,” "Powder Blue” and, most recently, "Hurricane Season” and "Fragments.”

Whitaker made his feature directing debut with the box-office hit "Waiting to Exhale.” He first gained recognition as a director for the 1993 HBO original "Strapped,” for which he received the "Best New Director” honor at the Toronto Film Festival. He also directed the romantic comedies "Hope Floats” and "First Daughter.”

Whitaker garnered two CableAce Award nominations for his performances in the Showtime original film "Last Light,” and HBO's "Criminal Justice,” and received SAG Award® nominations for "The Enemy Within” and Showtime's "Deacons for Defense.” He starred in and executive produced the miniseries "Feast of All Saints,” which won an Emmy Award and two additional nominations. He also produced "Door to Door” for TNT under the Spirit Dance banner, which was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy, and was honored by the American Film Institute. Most recently, Whitaker earned critical attention for his performance on "The Shield,” as well as his Emmy-nominated guest appearances on "ER.”

In 2006, he received the Hollywood Actor of the Year Award at the 10th Annual Hollywood Film Festival. In 2007, he received the American Riviera Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival as well as the Cinema for Peace Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An avid humanitarian, he is a spokesperson for Hope North Orphanage in Northern Uganda and is involved with Human Rights Watch. Last year, he participated in "Idol Gives Back,” in conjunction with Malaria No More. Also an animal rights activist, he has provided assistance to PETA and Farm Sanctuary.

Whitaker resides in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

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