Forest Steven Whitaker was born on July 15, 1961 in While his "gentle giant" characters typically display innocence, indecision, and timidity along with a strong underlying humanity, he has certainly not shied away from the edgier, darker corners of life as his occasional hitmen and other menacing streetwise types can attest. Although in only the first section of the film, he was memorable as the IRA-captured British soldier whose bizarre relationship with a mysterious femme fatale serves as the catalyst for the critically-lauded drama The Crying Game (1992). Always a willing participant to push the envelope, he's gone on to enhance a number of lesser films. Among those was his plastic surgeon in Johnny Handsome (1989), gay clothing designer in Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter (1994), alien hunter in Species (1995), absentee father confronted by his estranged son in Smoke (1995), and Mafia hitman who models himself after the samurai warrior in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), among many others. He also appeared in the sci-fi disaster film Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000). On the TV front, he was the consulting producer and host of a revamped Rod Serling's cult series classic "The Twilight Zone" (2002). In the early 1990s, Whitaker widened his horizons to include producing/directing and has since gained respect behind the camera as well. He started things off co-producing the violent gangster film A Rage in Harlem (1991), in which he co-starred with Gregory Hines and Robin Givens, and then made his successful directorial debut with the soulful Waiting to Exhale (1995), showcasing a legion of distaff black stars. He also directed co-star Whitney Houston's music video of the movie's theme song ("Shoop Shoop"). He scored with audiences helming the fluffy romantic comedy First Daughter (2004) with Katie Holmes and Michael Keaton. Most recently he can be seen Our Family Wedding (2010), Repo Men (2010), The Experiment (2010) and TV Series, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2011). He is married to former model Keisha Whitaker and has three children by her. Whitaker's multimedia company, Spirit Dance Entertainment, includes film, television and music production. He works closely with a number of charitable organizations, giving back to his community by serving as an Honorary Board Members for Penny Lane , an organization that provides assistance to abused teenagers, the Human Rights Watch and The Hope North organization.