William Forsythe (actor)

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William Forsythe
Forsythe in 2007
Born (1955-06-07) June 7, 1955 (age 68)
Years active1978–present

William Forsythe (born June 7, 1955)[1] is an American actor. He is best known for his portrayal of tough-guy, criminal characters, and has starred in films such as American Me (1992), Raising Arizona (1987), Dick Tracy (1990), Gotti (1996), The Rock (1996), and The Devil's Rejects (2005). He has also played recurring characters in television series such as Boardwalk Empire (2010) and Justified (2010).

Forsythe was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his performance in the indie film The Waterdance.

Early life[edit]

William Forsythe was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and grew up in its Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood.[2][3] He is of partial Italian descent.[4]


Forsythe started out in minor film roles and guest appearances in high-rated TV shows including CHiPs (1977), Hill Street Blues (1981) and T. J. Hooker (1982). He appeared in Once Upon a Time in America (1984), co-starred with John Goodman in Raising Arizona (1987) and as a renegade soldier in Extreme Prejudice.

Forsythe also portrayed comic book villain "Flattop" in Dick Tracy (1990), co-starred with Steven Seagal in Out for Justice (1991) and appeared with former National Football League player Brian Bosworth in the biker action film Stone Cold (1991). He portrayed Al Capone in the short-lived '90s revival of the classic '60s TV crime show The Untouchables (1993), and also starred in The Waterdance (1992) and the film noir Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995). Forsythe portrayed real-life mobster "Sammy The Bull" Gravano in Gotti (1996) and supported another ex-NFL player's foray into film acting when L.A. Raider Howie Long debuted in Firestorm (1998).

Forsythe portrayed serial killer John Wayne Gacy in Dear Mr. Gacy, a film adaptation of The Last Victim, the memoirs of Jason Moss, a college student who corresponded with Gacy during his last year on death row. The film was released in 2010.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 Coach Audience Member
Long Shot Billy
1981 King of the Mountain Big Tom
Smokey Bites the Dust Kenny
The Miracle of Kathy Miller Mark TV movie
1983 The Man Who Wasn't There Pug Face Crusher
1984 Once Upon a Time in America Phil 'Cockeye' Stein
Cloak & Dagger Morris
1985 Command 5 Hawk TV movie
The Lightship Gene
Savage Dawn Pigiron
1987 Raising Arizona Evelle
Extreme Prejudice Sergeant Buck Atwater
Weeds Burt The Booster
1988 Baja Oklahoma Tommy Earl Browner TV movie
Patty Hearst Teko
1989 Dead Bang Arthur Kressler
Torrents of Spring Prince Ippolito Polozov
Sons Mikey
1990 Dick Tracy Flattop
1991 Career Opportunities Custodian
Out for Justice Richie Madano
Stone Cold 'Ice' Hensley
1992 The Waterdance Bloss
American Me J.D.
The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag Billy Beaudeen
Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story Terry Harper TV movie
1993 Relentless 3 Walter Hilderman Video
A Kiss to Die For Detective Mike Stoller TV movie
1994 Direct Hit Hatch Video
1995 Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead Franchise
Beyond Desire Ray Patterson
Virtuosity William Cochran
Palookaville Sid Dunleavy
The Immortals Tim James
Thriller Zone Marcus Deerfield Video
1996 The Substitute Holland
For Which He Stands Johnny Rochetti
Stories from the Edge TV movie
The Rock FBI Agent Ernest Paxton
Gotti Sammy Gravano TV movie
Rule of Three Mitch
1997 First Time Felon Sorley TV movie
Big City Blues Hudson
1998 Firestorm Randall Alexander Shaye
The Pass Charles Duprey
Ambushed Mike Organski
Soundman Frank Rosenfeld
Hell's Kitchen Lou
Dollar for the Dead Dooley TV movie
1999 Row Your Boat Gil Meadows
The Last Marshal DeClerc
Four Days Milt
Blue Streak Detective Hardcastle
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Detective Chuck Fowler
18 Shades of Dust Tommy Cucci
Paradise Lost Mike Stark
2000 Luck of the Draw Max Fenton
Civility Andrew LeBretian
G-Men from Hell Dean Crept
2001 Camouflage Alton Owens
Blue Hill Avenue Detective Torrance
Sharkman Tom Reed
Outlaw Ted Castle
2002 Coastlines Fred Vance
Hard Cash Bo Young
City by the Sea Spyder
2003 The Technical Writer Joe
The Librarians Simon
Scary Movie 3 Cindy's Psychiatrist Deleted Alternate Scene
2004 The Last Letter Mr. Griffith
2005 Larva Jacob Long TV movie
The L.A. Riot Spectacular George Holliday
Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy Tom Reed TV movie
The Devil's Rejects Sheriff John Quincy Wydell
2006 Freedomland Detective Boyle
Jam Ted
Prone to Violence Narration TV movie
2007 88 Minutes FBI Agent Frank Parks
Southern Gothic Pitt
Hack! Willy
Halloween Ronnie White
Final Approach Silas Jansen TV movie
2008 Stiletto Alex
iMurders Professor Uberoth [6]
2009 The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone Massimo
Happy in the Valley Stewart
2010 Dear Mr. Gacy John Gacy
The Rig Jim Fleming
To Hell with You Smith Short
2011 L.A., I Hate You Uncle Rip
Born to Ride Jack Steele
Slip & Fall Jerry
Inkubus Ret. Detective Gil Diamante
Loosies Captain Tom Edwards
Jesse Vince the Godfather
2012 Infected Dr. Ed Dennehey
2013 Road to Juarez Doug Hermann
The Ghost Club: Spirits Never Die Stanley
2014 Tom Holland's Twisted Tales Mr. Smith
Hidden in the Woods Uncle Costello
2015 Echoes of War Randolph McCluskey
Laugh Killer Laugh Frank Stone
The Networker Charles Mangano
2016 The Midnight Man Fairbanks
The Bronx Bull Jake LaMotta
The Hollow John 'Big John' Dawson
The Unlikely's Jet Black
2017 Check Point The Sheriff
2019 Cold Pursuit Brock 'Wingman' Coxman
Vault Buddy Providence
Awake Roger Bower
Run with the Hunted Augustus
2020 Roe v. Wade Potter Stewart
I Am Fear Marco
A Perfect Plan Grayson
2021 Ida Red Lawrence Twilley
God's Not Dead: We the People Robert Benson
2022 The Witching Hour Devlin Deeds


Year Title Role Notes
1982 CHiPs Thrasher Episode: "Battle of the Bands"
Tales of the Gold Monkey Kurt Episode: "Tales of the Gold Monkey: Part 1 & 2"
1983 Hill Street Blues Richard Brady Episode: "Moon Over Uranus" & "Moon Over Uranus: The Sequel"
T.J. Hooker Wounded Assailant Episode: "A Child Is Missing"
Fame Snake Episode: "Break Dance"
1985 The Long Hot Summer Isaac Episode: "Part 1 & 2"
1990 Blind Faith Ferlin L'Heureux Episode: "Episode #1.1 & #1.2"
1992 Cruel Doubt Police Chief John Crone Episode: "Episode #1.1 & #1.2"
1993–94 The Untouchables Al Capone Main cast
1998 Cybill Bruce Episode: "Dream Date"
1999 Dead Man's Gun Harlan Riddle Episode: "A Just Reward"
2001 Mysterious Ways Luther Skoals Episode: "Condemned"
2001–02 UC: Undercover Sonny Walker Main cast
2002–03 John Doe Digger Main cast
2005 Wild Card Stuart Dresden Episode: "Zoe's Phony Matrimony"
2007 Masters of Horror Buster Episode: "We All Scream for Ice Cream"
Las Vegas Uncle Luke Episode: "My Uncle's a Gas" & "The High Price of Gas"
2007–09 Entourage Eddie Kapowski Episode: "The Day Fuckers" & "Scared Straight"
2010 CSI: Miami Captain Chris Sutter Episode: "L.A."
2011–12 Boardwalk Empire Munya "Manny" Horvitz Recurring cast: Season 2-3
The Mentalist Steve Rigsby Episode: "Like a Redheaded Stepchild" & "Blood Feud"
2012–13 Mob Doctor Constantine Alexander Main cast
2013 Twisted Tales Mr. Smith Episode: "To Hell with You"
2014 Justified Michael Episode: "Whistle Past the Graveyard"
2015–17 Hawaii Five-0 Private Investigator Harry Brown Episode: "Wawahi moe'uhane" & "Huikau na makau a na lawai'a"
2016 Marvel's Daredevil Dutton Episode: "Seven Minutes in Heaven"
The Making of the Mob: Chicago Himself TV series documentary
2017 Chicago Justice David Zachariah Episode: "Double Helix"
Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders Oleg Antakov Episode: "The Ripper of Riga"
2018 The Man in the High Castle J. Edgar Hoover Recurring cast: season 3-4
2019 Magnum P.I. Private Investigator Harry Brown Crossover Cast: Season 2[7]
2020 Primitive Caro Kann Episode: "Blind Sighted"
2021 Gravesend Santini Traffato Episode: "On the Lamb" & "Miami Nights"


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Modesto Bee. The Associated Press. June 7, 2021. p. 2A. Actor William Forsythe is 66.
  2. ^ "William Forsythe". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  3. ^ Dew, John. "Multiple Personality", Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1989. Accessed April 5, 2022. "Forsythe, who grew up in the tough Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, landed his first professional job after high school in the chorus of The Merry Widow at the Harvard Club in New York."
  4. ^ "William Forsythe on punk rock, al Capone, and the worst script ever written". The A.V. Club. August 20, 2013.
  5. ^ "Dear Mr. Gacy Teaser, Clip, and Q&A with William Forsythe". June 26, 2012.
  6. ^ iMURDERS (DVD Review)
  7. ^ Webb Mitovich, Matt (September 10, 2019). "Hawaii Five-0/Magnum P.I. Crossover Status: 'We've Narrowed Down a Story". TVLine. Retrieved September 10, 2019.

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