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Forest Steven Whitaker (born July 15, 1961) is an American actor, producer, and director. For his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film, The Last King of Scotland, Whitaker won several major awards, including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA. He became the fourth African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, following in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx.[1]

Whitaker immersed himself in the details of Amin's life to prepare himself for the part. He has earned a reputation for this kind of intensive character study work for films such as Bird and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.[2][3] However, for his recurring role as Lietenant Jon Kavanaugh on the gritty television series, The Shield, Whitaker has merely had to draw on his childhood years growing up in South Central Los Angeles.[4]