Robert Forster

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Robert Forster
Photo of a smiling Robert Forster
Forster in 2009
Robert Wallace Foster Jr.

(1941-07-13)July 13, 1941
DiedOctober 11, 2019(2019-10-11) (aged 78)
Alma materUniversity of Rochester (B.A.)
Years active1967–2019
  • June Provenzano
    (m. 1966; div. 1975)
  • Zivia Forster
    (m. 1978; div. 1980)
PartnerDenise Grayson (2004–2019)

Robert Wallace Forster Jr.[1][2] (July 13, 1941 – October 11, 2019) was an American actor, known for his roles as John Cassellis in Medium Cool (1969), Captain Dan Holland in The Black Hole (1979), Abdul Rafai in The Delta Force (1986), and Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Forster's varied filmography includes: Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), Alligator (1980), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), The Descendants (2011), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), What They Had (2018), and The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020).

He also had prominent roles in television series such as Banyon (1971–1973), Heroes (2007–2008), Twin Peaks (2017) and the Breaking Bad episode "Granite State" as Ed Galbraith, for which he won the Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television. He reprised the role in the film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) and Better Call Saul.

Early life[edit]

Forster was born and raised in Rochester, New York.[3] His mother was Italian American, while his father was of English and Irish descent.[4] The couple divorced in 1949.[citation needed]

Forster added an "R" to his surname as there was another member of the Screen Actors Guild named Robert Foster.[2]


After acclaimed supporting performances[citation needed] in two major Hollywood films, one as Private Williams in John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), another as part-Indian Army scout Nick Tana in Robert Mulligan's The Stalking Moon (1968), Forster starred in the critically acclaimed film Medium Cool (1969). After starring roles in the television series Banyon (1972) and Nakia (1974), he played mostly supporting roles in action and horror films including Disney's The Black Hole (1979). Forster had lead roles in cult B-movies in the 1980s like Alligator (1980), Vigilante (1983), The Delta Force (1986), and The Banker (1989).

Forster appeared in Jackie Brown as the character Max Cherry, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997. Jackie Brown revitalized Forster's career, an effect that occurred for many actors appearing in Quentin Tarantino films.[5] He subsequently had consistent work in the film industry, appearing in Like Mike, Mulholland Drive, Me, Myself & Irene, Lucky Number Slevin, and Firewall. He appeared in the made-for-television movie The Hunt for the BTK Killer, as the detective intent on capturing serial killer Dennis Rader. Forster also played the father of Van on the short-lived Fox series Fastlane.

Forster recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's Hip-Hop Literacy campaign, encouraging reading of books by Elmore Leonard. He starred in the movie adaptation of Leonard's book Rum Punch, filmed as Jackie Brown.

He appeared in the hit NBC series Heroes as Arthur Petrelli, the father of Nathan and Peter Petrelli, as well as the Emmy Award-winning AMC crime drama Breaking Bad as Walter White's new identity specialist Ed Galbraith (a role he reprised in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and Better Call Saul). He played Bud Baxter, father to Tim Allen's Mike Baxter, on the ABC (later Fox) hit comedy Last Man Standing. Forster was also a motivational speaker.[6]

He was the first choice to play Sheriff Harry S. Truman in David Lynch's Twin Peaks, but had to turn it down due to a prior commitment to a different television pilot, and was replaced by Michael Ontkean. He appeared in Lynch's Mulholland Drive, a pilot for a TV series that was not picked up but was later turned into a critically acclaimed movie, and finally appeared in Twin Peaks, playing the brother of Sheriff Harry S. Truman, Sheriff Frank Truman, in Twin Peaks: The Return, when Ontkean was not available to reprise his role.[7] About this, Forster said: "David Lynch, what a good guy he is. He wanted to hire me for the original, 25 years ago, for a part, and I was committed to another guy for a pilot that never went. So I didn't do the original Twin Peaks, which would have been a life-changer. It's a gigantic hit if you remember those years, a phenomenon. But I didn't do that. [...] And this time, I got a call from my agents and they said, David Lynch is going to call you. When he called me five minutes later, he said, "I'd like you to come and work with me again." And I said, 'Whatever it is David, here I come!'"[8]

After Forster's death, he appeared posthumously in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, reprising the character of Ed the "Disappearer" from the Breaking Bad series. He died on the day the movie was released.[5] Four months later, Forster again appeared posthumously as Ed in one episode of the fifth season of Better Call Saul. The episode ended with a dedication to "our friend Robert Forster." He also appeared in an episode of the rebooted Amazing Stories television series before his death; the episode was dedicated to Forster.[9]

Personal life and death[edit]

Forster was married to June (née Provenzano) from May 14, 1966, to September 20, 1975, after meeting at their alma mater, the University of Rochester.[10] The marriage produced three daughters, Elizabeth (born 1967), Kathrine "Kate" (born 1969) and Maeghen (born 1972). He was married to Zivia Forster from 1978 to 1980. He also had a son, Robert III (born 1965), from a previous relationship. From 2004 to the time of his death, his longtime partner was Denise Grayson.[2] He was a member of the high-IQ Triple Nine Society.[11]

In June 2019, Forster was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he died from the disease at his home in Los Angeles on October 11, 2019, at the age of 78.[2][12]



Year Title Role Notes
1967 Reflections in a Golden Eye Private L.G. Williams
1968 The Stalking Moon Nick Tana
1969 Justine Narouz
1969 Medium Cool John Cassellis
1970 Pieces of Dreams Gregory Lind
1970 Cover Me Babe Tony Hall
1972 Journey Through Rosebud Frank
1973 The Don Is Dead Frank Regalbuto
1977 Stunts Glen Wilson
1978 Avalanche Nick Thorne
1979 The Lady in Red 'Turk' Uncredited
1979 The Black Hole Captain Dan Holland
1980 Alligator Detective David Madison
1981 Heartbreak High Coach Alan Arnoldi
1983 Vigilante Eddie Marino
1985 Walking the Edge Jason Walk
1986 The Delta Force Abdul Rafai
1986 Hollywood Harry Harry Petry Also producer and director
1988 Counterforce The Dictator
1989 Satan's Princess Lou Cherney
1989 The Banker Dan Jefferson
1989 Esmeralda Bay Madero
1990 Peacemaker Yates
1991 Committed Dr. Desmond Moore
1991 Checkered Flag Jack Cotton
1991 Diplomatic Immunity Stonebridge
1991 29th Street Sergeant Tartaglia
1991 In Between Vinnie
1993 Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence Dr. Powell Direct-to-video
1993 South Beach Detective Ted Coleman
1993 American Yakuza Littman
1993 Cover Story Therapist
1994 Point of Seduction: Body Chemistry III Bob Sibley Direct-to-video
1995 Scanners: The Showdown Captain Jack Bitters Direct-to-video
1995 Guns and Lipstick Captain Dimaggio
1996 The Method Christian's Father
1996 Original Gangstas Detective Slatten
1996 Uncle Sam Congressman Alvin Cummings Direct-to-video
1996 Hindsight Michael Donahue
1997 American Perfekt Jake Nyman
1997 Demolition University Gentry Direct-to-video
1997 Jackie Brown Max Cherry Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 Night Vision Teak Taylor
1998 Psycho Dr. Fred Simon
1998 Outside Ozona Odell Parks
1999 It's the Rage Tyler
1999 Family Tree Henry Musser
1999 Kiss Toledo Goodbye Sal Fortuna
2000 Supernova A.J. Marley
2000 The Magic of Marciano Henry
2000 Lakeboat Joe Litko
2000 Cowboys and Angels Barbequeman At Wedding Uncredited
2000 Me, Myself & Irene Colonel Partington
2000 Diamond Men Eddie Miller Also executive producer
2000 It's a Shame About Ray Wally Short film
2001 Mulholland Drive Detective Harry McKnight
2001 Human Nature Nathan's Father
2001 Finder's Fee Officer Campbell
2002 Lone Hero Gus
2002 Strange Hearts Jack Waters
2002 Like Mike Coach Wagner
2003 Confidence Morgan Price
2003 Where's Angelo? Bob Short film
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Roger Wixon
2003 Grand Theft Parsons Stanley Parsons
2006 Firewall Harry Romano
2006 Lucky Number Slevin Murphy
2006 Wild Seven Wilson
2007 Rise: Blood Hunter Lloyd
2007 D-War Jack Wilson
2007 Cleaner Arlo Grange
2007 Grampa's Cabin Grampa Short film
2008 Expecting Love George Patten
2008 Jack and Jill vs. the World Norman / Narrator Uncredited
2008 Touching Home Jim 'Perk' Perkins
2009 Thick as Thieves Lieutenant Sam Weber
2009 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Sergeant Mervis Volkom
2009 Middle Men Louie 'La-La'
2010 The Bannen Way Mr. B
2010 Red Princess Blues The Storyteller Short film
2010 The Trial Ray
2010 Kalamity Tom Klepack
2011 Girl Walks into a Bar Dodge
2011 The Descendants Scott Thorson
2012 Hotel Noir Jim Logan
2013 Olympus Has Fallen General Edward Clegg
2013 Coffee, Kill Boss Walt Ford
2013 Somewhere Slow Chris McConville
2014 Autómata Robert Bold
2015 The Biffle Murder Case James Burke Short film
2015 The Bridge Partner Don Whalen Short film
2015 Run Fast Peter Cirone Short film
2015 Survivor Bill Talbot
2015 Too Late Gordy Lyons
2015 The Program Michael Short film
2015 The Adventures of Biffle and Shooster James Burke / Lieutenant Frank Murphy
2015 Home Man Short film
2016 London Has Fallen General Edward Clegg
2016 The Confirmation Otto
2016 The American Side Sterling Whitmore
2016 Bus Driver General Sorbin
2017 Small Town Crime Steve Yendel
2017 Small Crimes Joe Denton Sr.
2017 The Case for Christ Walter Strobel
2017 Acts of Vengeance Chuck
2018 What They Had Norbert Everhardt
2018 Damsel Old Preacher
2018 The Big Take Detective Aborn
2018 Bigger Joe (2008)
2018 Nasty Bob Short film
2019 Phil Bing Fisk
2019 El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Ed Galbraith Posthumous release
2019 QT8: The First Eight Himself Documentary
Posthumous release[13]
2020 The Wolf of Snow Hollow Sheriff Hadley Posthumous release
2021 Grave Intentions Don Whalen Segment: "The Bridge Partner"
Posthumous release


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Wagon Train Mr. Hedson Episode: "The Julie Gage Story" (S1E14)
1967 N.Y.P.D. Tony Episode: "To Catch a Hero"
1968 Judd, for the Defense Ray Elliott Episode: "In a Puff of Smoke"
1968 Premiere Doug Payson Episode: "Higher and Higher, Attorneys at Law"
1971–1973 Banyon Miles Banyon 16 episodes
1974 Nakia Deputy Nakia Parker 14 episodes
1974 The Death Squad Eric Benoit Television film
1975 Medical Story David Corbin Episode: "The Moonlight Heater"
1975–1977 Police Story Various roles 5 episodes
1977 The City Lieutenant Matt Lewis Pilot
1978 Standing Tall Luke Shasta Television film
1979 The Darker Side of Terror Paul Corwin Television film
1981 Goliath Awaits Commander Jeff Selkirk Television film
1985 Magnum, P.I. Tyler Peabody McKinney 2 episodes
1986 Tales from the Darkside Gary Gooley Episode: "The Milkman Cometh"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Gilbert Gaston Episode: "The Perfect Foil"
1987 Hotel Steve Cameron Episode: "Unfinished Business"
1987 Once a Hero Gumshoe 7 episodes
1987–1988 William Tell Aymong 3 episodes
1989 Mick and Franki Feinstein Pilot
1991 Jake and the Fatman Ed Delaney 2 episodes
1991 P.S. I Luv U Dan Episode: "There Goes the Neighbourhood"
1992 In the Shadow of a Killer Charles Galbis Television film
1993 Silk Stalkings Vince Riker Episode: "Tough Love"
1993 Sex, Love and Cold Hard Cash Sid Television film
1995 Walker, Texas Ranger Ricky Rickettes Episode: "The Big Bingo Bamboozle"
1995 Murder, She Wrote Frank Roussel Episode: "Big Easy Murder"
1995 One West Waikiki Gerard Foster Episode: "Flowers of Evil"
1997 Walker, Texas Ranger Lane Tillman Episode: "Texas vs. Cahill"
1998 Rear Window Detective Charlie Moore Television film
1999 Todd McFarlane's Spawn Major Forsberg Voice, 3 episodes
2000 Godzilla: The Series Jack Chapman
Police Officer
Voice, Episode: "Wedding Bells Blew"
2001 Like Mother Like Son Ken 'Pappa' Kimes Television film
2002 Murder in Greenwich Steve Carroll Television film
2002 Due East Jesse Rapple Television film
2002–2003 Fastlane Raymond Ray 2 episodes
2003 Undefeated Scott Green Television film
2003 Street Time Tony DeAngelo Episode: "Cop Killer"
2003–2004 Karen Sisco Marshall Sisco 10 episodes
2004 The Grid Jay Aldrich 6 episodes
2004 Clubhouse Burt Austin Episode: "Spectator Interference"
2004–2005 Huff Ben Huffstodt 3 episodes
2005 Tilt Jimmy "Gentleman Jim" Towne 2 episodes
2005 Justice League Unlimited The President Voice, 2 episodes
2005 Bounty Hunters Jerry Pilot
2005 The Hunt for the BTK Killer Detective Jason Magida Television film
2006 Numb3rs Agent Thomas Lawson Episode: "Protest"
2006 13 Graves Tom Ferris Pilot
2007 Army Wives General Grayson Episode: "Truth and Consequences"
2007 Desperate Housewives Nick Delfino Episode: "Now I Know, Don't Be Scared"
2007–2008 Heroes Arthur Petrelli 10 episodes
2008 The Simpsons Lucky Jim Voice, Episode: "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes"
2011 CSI: NY Joe Vincent Episode: "Indelible"
2012 Alcatraz Ray Archer 4 episodes
2012 Transformers: Prime General Bryce Voice, Episode: "Grill"
2012–2018 Last Man Standing Bud Baxter 10 episodes
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Booth Whitman Episode: "Unfrozen Agent Man"
2013 Breaking Bad Ed Galbraith Episode: "Granite State"
2013 Ironside Virgil's Father Episode: "Hidden Agenda"
2014 Intruders Frank Shepherd 2 episodes
2014–2015 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Jack J. Kurtzman Voice, 4 episodes
2015 Childrens Hospital Donald Episode: "The 27 Club"
2015 Backstrom Sheriff Blue Backstrom 2 episodes
2016 Divorce Donald 2 episodes
2017 Twin Peaks Sheriff Frank Truman 10 episodes
2017 I'm Dying Up Here Guy Apuzzo Episode: "Pilot"
2020 Better Call Saul Ed Galbraith Posthumous release
Episode: "Magic Man"
2020 Amazing Stories Grandpa Joe Harris Posthumous release
Episode: "Dynoman and The Volt"[9]


Year Title Role Venue
1965 Mrs. Dally Had a Lover Performer John Golden Theater, Broadway
1973 A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski Vivian Beaumont Theater, Broadway
2017 Chasing Mem'ries Franklin Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1998 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Jackie Brown Nominated
1998 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actor Won
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2000 Hamptons International Film Festival Special Recognition Diamond Men Won
2002 Chlotrudis Award Best Actor Nominated
2008 Saturn Awards Guest Actor - Television Heroes Nominated
2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture The Descendants Nominated
2011 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
Georgia Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Best Ensemble Nominated
2014 Saturn Awards Guest Actor - Television Breaking Bad Won
2016 Winter Film Awards Best Actor The Bridge Partner Nominated
2018 Newport Beach Film Festival Icon Award Body of Work Awarded [14]
2019 AARP Movie Awards Best Supporting Actor What They Had Nominated


  1. ^ "Forster, Robert 1941–". Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Vigdor, Neil (October 12, 2019). "Robert Forster, Oscar Nominee for 'Jackie Brown,' Dies at 78". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Bozzola, Lucia. "Robert Forster". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on September 20, 2004. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  4. ^ Robert Forster – How To Succeed in Flops; About Robert Forster,; accessed December 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Lawrence, Derek (October 12, 2019). "What made Robert Forster great is on full display in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Maltin, Leonard (October 12, 2019). "Remembering Robert Forster". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  7. ^ Ausiello, Michael (October 8, 2015). "Twin Peaks Recasts Major Role for Revival (and It's a Total Bummer)". TVLine. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  8. ^ "Robert Forster On Filming The New Twin Peaks: "Whatever It Is David, Here I Come!"". Welcome to Twin Peaks. June 14, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (October 24, 2019). "'Amazing Stories' Apple Series To Pay Tribute To Robert Forster". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  10. ^ Hauser, Scott. "Third Act Surprise". University of Rochester's Rochester Review. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  11. ^ Haring, Bruce (October 11, 2019). "Robert Forster Dies". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 11, 2020. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Koseluk, Chris (October 11, 2019). "Robert Forster, Resurgent Oscar Nominee From 'Jackie Brown,' Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (February 13, 2019). "Director Reclaims Rights to Documentary '21 Years: Quentin Tarantino' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "2018 NBFF Fall Honors: About the Honorees". Newport Beach Film Festival. November 6, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • Voisin, Scott, Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59393-342-5.

External links[edit]