Forest Steven Whitaker was born 15 July 1961. He is an American actor, producer and director. He has earned a reputation for intensive character study work for films such as Bird and Ghost Dog, The Way of the Samurai. But for his recurring role as ex-LAPD Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh on the gritty, award winning television series The Shield, Whitaker only had to draw on his childhood growing up in South Central Los Angeles, California.
Whitaker has a long tradition of working with renowned directors and other actors. In his first onscreen role of note, he played a football player in the 1982 film adaptation of Cameron Crowe coming of age teen retrospective, Fast Times Ridge Mont High it. He played with Judge Reinhold, Phoebe Cates and Sean Penn.