Forster in 2009
Robert Wallace Foster Jr.
July 13, 1941
Rochester, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 11, 2019 (aged 78)|
|Alma mater||University of Rochester|
Robert Wallace Foster Jr. (July 13, 1941 – October 11, 2019), known professionally as Robert Forster, 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), and What They Had (2018).
He also had prominent roles in television series such as Banyon (1971–1973), Heroes (2007–2008), and Twin Peaks (2017). He is also known for his performance as Ed Galbraith in the Breaking Bad episode "Granite State" (2013), 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), which premiered the day of his death, and posthumously appeared in the role in the fifth season of Better Call Saul (2020).
Forster was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Grace Dorothy (née Montanarella) and Robert Wallace Foster Sr., who worked as an elephant trainer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and later as an executive for a baking supply company. His mother was Italian American, while his father was of English and Irish descent. The couple divorced in 1949.
As a tribute to his father, Forster hung one of his father's Barnum & Bailey Circus posters in the office of his character in Jackie Brown. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in history in 1964 at the University of Rochester, where he starred in student dramatic performances such as Bye Bye Birdie and, after initially intending to study law, instead decided to become an actor. Forster added an "R" to his surname as there were already actors named Robert Foster.
After acclaimed supporting performances 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. He since 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 later reprised in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie). 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.
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 would go on to appear 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 got to appear 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. 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!'"
One of Forster's final roles was in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, reprising the character of Ed the "Disappearer" from the Breaking Bad series. Coincidentally, he died on the day the movie was released. He had also performed in an episode of the rebooted Amazing Stories television series before his death; the episode will be dedicated to Forster. Robert subsequently appeared posthumously in Better Call Saul season 5 as Ed. The episode ended with a dedication to "our friend Robert Forster."
Robert was married to June (née Provenzano) from May 14, 1966, to September 20, 1975, after meeting at their alma mater, the University of Rochester. 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.
|1967||Reflections in a Golden Eye||Private L.G. Williams|
|1968||The Stalking Moon||Nick Tana|
|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|
|1979||The Lady in Red||Turk||Uncredited|
|1979||The Black Hole||Captain Dan Holland|
|1981||Heartbreak High||Coach Alan Arnoldi|
|1985||Walking the Edge||Jason Walk|
|1986||The Delta Force||Abdul Rafai|
|1986||Hollywood Harry||Harry Petry||Also producer and director|
|1989||Satan's Princess||Lou Cherney|
|1989||The Banker||Dan Jefferson|
|1991||Committed||Dr. Desmond Moore|
|1991||Checkered Flag||Jack Cotton|
|1991||29th Street||Srgt. Tartaglia|
|1993||Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence||Dr. Powell||Direct-to-video|
|1993||South Beach||Det. Ted Coleman|
|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|
|1997||American Perfekt||Jake Nyman|
|1997||Jackie Brown||Max Cherry|
|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||The Magic of Marciano||Henry|
|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||Strange Hearts||Jack Waters|
|2002||Like Mike||Coach Wagner|
|2003||Where's Angelo?||Bob||Short film|
|2003||Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle||Roger Wixon|
|2003||Grand Theft Parsons||Stanley Parsons|
|2006||Lucky Number Slevin||Murphy|
|2007||Rise: Blood Hunter||Lloyd|
|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||Lt. Samuel Weber|
|2009||Ghosts of Girlfriends Past||Srgt. Mervis Volkom|
|2009||Middle Men||Louie LA LA|
|2010||The Bannen Way||Mr. B|
|2010||Red Princess Blues||The Storyteller||Short film|
|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|
|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||Too Late||Gordy Lyons|
|2015||The Program||Michael||Short film|
|2015||The Adventures of Biffle and Shooster||'James Burke' as Lt. Frank Murphy|
|2016||London Has Fallen||General Edward Clegg|
|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||The Big Take||Detective Aborn|
|2019||El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie||Ed Galbraith|
|2019||QT8: The First Eight||Himself||Documentary|
|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||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|
|2017||Twin Peaks||Sheriff Frank Truman||10 episodes|
|2017||I'm Dying Up Here||Guy Appuzzo||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"
|1965||Mrs. Dally||Performer||John Golden Theatre, Broadway|
|1973||A Streetcar Named Desire||Stanley Kowalski||Vivian Beaumont Theater, Broadway|
|2017||Chasing Mem'ries||Franklin||Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles|
Awards and Nominations
|1998||Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Jackie Brown||Nominated|||
|1998||Chicago Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|1998||Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award||Best Supporting Actor||Won|
|1998||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|
|2011||Georgia Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2011||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|
|2019||AARP Movie Awards||Best Supporting Actor||What They Had||Nominated|
- "Forster, Robert 1941–". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
- "Obituary". The New York Times. October 12, 2019.
- Robert Forster profile, filmreference.com; accessed December 18, 2016.
- Robert Forster Biography – Yahoo! Movies; accessed December 18, 2016.
- Robert Forster – How To Succeed in Flops; About Robert Forster, nytimes.com; accessed December 18, 2016.
- 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.
- Maltin, Leonard (October 12, 2019). "Remembering Robert Forster". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
- Ausiello, Michael (October 8, 2015). "Twin Peaks Recasts Major Role for Revival (and It's a Total Bummer)". TVLine. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
- "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.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 24, 2019). "'Amazing Stories' Apple Series To Pay Tribute To Robert Forster". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- Hauser, Scott. "Third Act Surprise". University of Rochester's Rochester Review. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- Haring, Bruce. "Robert Forster Dies". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
- Koseluk, Chris (October 11, 2019). "Robert Forster, Resurgent Oscar Nominee From 'Jackie Brown,' Dies at 78". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
- Bradshaw, Peter (October 12, 2019). "Robert Forster: a coolly charismatic character actor with an intensely sympathetic air". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
- McNary, Dave (February 13, 2019). "Director Reclaims Rights to Documentary '21 Years: Quentin Tarantino' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- Voisin, Scott, Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59393-342-5.
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