Jackie Brown Star Robert Forster Dead at Age 78
It is with great sadness that ComingSoon.net must report (via The Hollywood Reporter) that beloved character actor and Jackie Brown Oscar-nominee Robert Forster has passed away at age 78. He died at his Los Angeles home from brain cancer, survived by his third wife, Evie, and his children Elizabeth, Kathrine and Maeghen and Robert.
Forster made an auspicious debut at age 26 opposite Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in John Huston’s 1967 film Reflections in a Golden Eye, memorably riding a horse naked in one scene. He followed that with the lead role in 1969’s Medium Cool, Haskell Wexler’s cinéma vérité-style narrative built around the real-life riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
After starring in two failed TV series, Forster’s once-promising career went into a steady decline as he began accepting lead and supporting parts in exploitation and horror films such as 1978’s Avalanche, 1980’s Alligator, 1983’s Vigilante. and as the heavy opposite Chuck Norris in 1986’s The Delta Force. One highlight from this period is the big budget 1979 Disney production The Black Hole, a kind of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in space” meant to capitalize off the success of Star Wars. While not a financial or critical success, the film has a cult following and was at one point in development over the last decade for a remake at Disney.
By the 90’s Forster had lost all his representation and was forced to make direct-to-video fare like Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence and American Yakuza. That was until ultra-hot filmmaker Quentin Tarantino -fresh off his Pulp Fiction success- hired Forster to play bail bondsman Max Cherry, the male lead opposite Pam Grier in 1997’s Jackie Brown. His subtle, even-keeled performance opposite heavyweights like Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson earned Forster an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and gave his career a new lease on life.
In the years that followed he would work with Gus Van Sant on the 1998 Psycho remake, opposite Jim Carrey in The Farrely Brothers’ Me, Myself & Irene, in Michel Gondry’s debut film Human Nature, 2003’s sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, with Harrison Ford in Firewall (2006), with Matthew McConaughey in Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past (2009), opposite George Clooney in Alexander Payne’s Best Picture-nominee The Descendants, and opposite Gerard Butler in the action hit Olympus Has Fallen and its sequel London Has Fallen. He also forged a working relationship with David Lynch, appearing in the director’s 2001 hit Mulholland Drive and in the 2017 Twin Peaks revival.
Forster’s final film role ironically premiered today on Netflix, the Breaking Bad sequel film El Camino, reprising his role as Ed from the TV series.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)