Robert Forster, the handsome and ubiquitous character actor who received a revival of his career and an Oscar nomination for playing the bailiff Max Cherry in Jackie Brown, died Friday. He was 78 years old.
The journalist Kathie Berlin said that Forster died after a short illness of brain tumor. He was home in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family, including his four children and his partner Denise Grayson.
The condolences were expressed on social media on Friday evening. Bryan Cranston called Forster a "beautiful man and a consummate actor" in a tweet. The two met in 1980 in the movie Alligator and then worked together again in the television show Breaking Bad and their spin-off film El Camino, which started Friday on Netflix.
"I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid who just started in Hollywood," Cranston wrote.
His Jackie Brown co-star Samuel L. Jackson has tweeted that Forster is "really a class act / actor !!".
Forster, a native of Rochester, New York, literally stumbled upon acting when he intended to become a lawyer in college. He followed a classmate with whom he was trying to speak to an auditorium where Bye Bye birdie auditions were held. He would play in this show, this fellow student would become his wife, with whom he had three daughters, and it would lead him on a new path as an actor.
A role in the Broadway production of 1965, Mrs. Dally Has a Lover put him on the radar of Darryl Zanuck, who signed him for a studio. Soon he would make his film debut in the 1967 John Huston movie Reflections in a Golden Eye, starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.
Forster starred in Haskell Wexler's documentary Chicago classic "Medium Cool" and in the detective television series "Banyon." It was an early climax, which he later called the beginning of a "27-year burglary".
In the 1970s and 1980s, he worked consistently in mostly memorable B films – in the end he played in over 100 films, many out of necessity.
"I had four children and accepted every job I could get," he said last year in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. "Every time it reached a lower level, I thought I could tolerate it, it dropped more and more. Toward the end I had no agent, no manager, no lawyer, nothing. I took what fell through the cracks. "
It was Quentin Tarantino's 1997 film Jackie Brown that brought him back on the map. Tarantino has created the role of Max Cherry with a view of Forster. The actor had unsuccessfully auditioned for a role in "Reservoir Dogs," but the director promised not to forget him.
In an interview with Fandor last year, Forster recalled saying to Tarantino as he handed over the screenplay for Jackie Brown, "I'm sure you will not let me down." Tarantino replied, "I hire everyone I want , "
"And then I realized that I would make another career move," said Forster. "He gave me a career back and the last 14 years have been fabulous."
The appearance against Pam Grier became one of the most heartwarming Hollywood comeback stories and earned him his first and only Oscar nomination. He eventually lost the golden statuette to Robin Williams, who won for Good Will Hunting this year.
After Jackie Brown, he worked consistently and at a much higher level than during the "break-in," appearing in such films as David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, Me, Me, and Irene, The Descendants, Olympus Has Fallen, and What They Had, and on television Breaking Bad and reviving the Twin Peaks. He said he loved the comedy as Tim Allen's father in Last Man Standing.
He will also be seen later this year in the produced by Steven Spielberg Apple + series Amazing Stories.
Forster always thought himself happy in his difficult time. "You learn to take on every job and get the most out of what you have, and everyone in every area of life, if they find out, has a much better result than those who can not bear to take a picture, not so much or not as good as the last, "he told IndieWire in 2011." Attitude is everything. "
Forster is survived by his four children, four grandchildren and Grayson, his 16-year-old partner.