PROFILE
Name:
Robert Forster
Birth Date:
July 13, 1941
Birth Place:
Rochester, New York, USA
Height:
5' 9½" (1.77 m)
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
His role in 'Vigilante' (1982)
BIOGRAPHY
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Jackie Brown's Bail Bondsman

Background:

"I'm not sure how a guy wins or loses in this business, but somebody's got to come along and make you lucky. You can't do it yourself." Robert Forster (talking about luck in the movie business)

Academy Award nominated actor Robert Forster finally got his career off to a good start after portraying bail bondsman Max Cherry, who teams up with Pam Grier's title character to pull off a double-cross on a bunch of crooks, in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" (1997).

First appearing on the big screen with a small role in John Huston's 1967 drama starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, "Reflections in a Golden Eye," Forster continued to add to his resume roles in such films as "Medium Cool" (1969), "The Black Hole" (1979), "Vigilante" (1983), "The Banker" (1989), "Peacemaker" (1990), "Original Gangstas" (1996), "Psycho" (1998), "Me, Myself & Irene" (2000), "Diamond Men" (2000), "Mulholland Dr." (2001), "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003), "Grand Theft Parsons" (2003), "Firewall" (2006), "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006), and "Dragon Wars: D-War" (2007). He will star in the upcoming films "The Code," "Expecting Love" and "Fire Bay."

TV viewers could catch him playing title roles in the TV series "Banyon" (1972-1973) and "Nakia" (1974), as well as playing Marshall Sisco, the father and mentor to Carla Gugino's titular character, in "Karen Sisco" (2003-2004). He also had a recurring role as Ben Huffstodt (2004-2005) in the Showtime series "Huff."

On a more personal front, the 5' 9½" handsome actor has been married twice and has four grown children. He once dated Dani Janssen, widow of David Janssen, and a woman named Marlene, the mother of his son Robert.


School Athlete and Thespian

Childhood and Family:

In Rochester, New York, Robert Forster was born on July 13, 1941, to Robert Wallace Foster, who worked as elephant trainer with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus before working as an executive for a baking supply company, and Grace Dorothy Foster. His parents divorced in 1949 and his mother committed suicide in 1966. As a tribute to his father, Forster was allowed to hang one of his father's Barnum & Bailey Circus posters in the office of his character "Max Cherry" in the Quentin Tarantino film that earned Forster an Oscar nomination, ''Jackie Brown'' (1997).

Forster attended Rochester's Madison High School where he performed as a song-and-dance man in musical revues. After graduating in 1959, he went to Heidelberg College at Alfred University, in Alfred, New York, (1960-1961) and the University of Rochester on football scholarships and continued to perform in student theatrical revues. He received a Bachelor's Degree in psychology from Rochester in 1963. Afterward, he honed in on his craft in local theater and eventually moved to New York City where he landed his first Broadway role in 1965.

Forster married June Provenzano on May 14, 1966, but they divorced in 1975. In 1978, he married Zivia Foster, but this marriage also ended in divorce in 1980. Forster has three daughters, Elizabeth Foster (born in 1967), Kate Forster (born in October 1969) and Meaghan Foster (born in 1972), and one son, Robert Foster (born in 1965; mother identified only as Marlene).


Diamond Man

Career:

"Step No. 1 is you've got to have a good attitude. Step No. 2 is accept all things, deliver excellence to whatever is offered, give it your best shot. And rule No. 3 is never quit. It's not over till it's over." Robert Forster (talking about the rules to succeed in Hollywood)

First become interested in acting while attending Rochester's Madison High School where he performed as a song-and-dance man in musical revues, Robert Forster, a high school and college athlete and occasional school thespian, took an apprenticeship at an East Rochester theater following his graduation from Rochester in 1963. In the local theater, he performed in such plays as ''West Side Story.'' He eventually made a move to New York City in 1965 and landed his first big break as the lead character in Broadway's two-character play ''Mrs. Dailey Has a Lover.''

After the play failed to run its course, Forster returned to Rochester where he worked as a substitute teacher and construction worker until an agent from 20th Century Fox pictures offered him a five-picture deal. He soon landed his movie debut playing a tiny part as young Private Williams, who is torn between a repressed homosexual major (Marlon Brando) and his nymphomaniac wife (Elizabeth Taylor), in John Huston's 1967 drama ''Reflections in a Golden Eye,'' in which he also garnered more attention for his nude scenes. That same year, he also returned to Broadway to play Stanley Kowalski in a revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire," co-starring Julie Harris.

Forester subsequently went on to appear alongside some top Hollywood actors in films like the Western suspense ''The Stalking Moon'' (1968; with Gregory Peck and Eva Marie Saint). He was seen in the semi-documentary "Medium Cool" (1969) and ''Justine'' (1969), George Cukor and Joseph Strick's film adaptation of the novel by Lawrence Durrell.

In the early 1970s, Forster took the title role of a detective in the TV movie "Banyon" and reprised the role in its short-lived NBC series version. He replaced James Farentino as Stanley Kowalski in a Broadway revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1973), opposite Lois Nettleton, before playing the title role in the ABC movie "Nakia" (1974) and its short-lived series spin-off.

Forster spent the rest of the 1970s in the movie "Stunts" (1977) and portraying a small-time cattle rancher in the NBC movie "Standing Tall" (1978). He also made an unaccredited appearance in Lewis Teague's "The Lady in Red" (1979), which was scripted by John Sayles.

The 1980s saw Forster reunite with Teague for "Alligator" (1980), which was also scripted by Sayles, and in his first collaboration with Fred Williamson in "Death Wish" clone "Vigilante" (1983). He also produced, helmed and starred in the detective spoof "Hollywood Harry" (1985), played militant fanatic Abdul in "The Delta Force" (1986), and was picked as a regular in the short-lived ABC series "Once a Hero" (1987), which lasted for only three episodes.

Entering the 1990s, Forster was cast as an extraterrestrial cop in "Peacemeaker" (1990), played a maniac Middle Eastern dictator in the syndicated TV-movie "Counterforce" (1991), and teamed up with Williamson (also the film's producer) in "South Beach" (1992). He also appeared again as Detective Slatter in "Original Gangstas" (1996) and appeared as a cameo in Gus van Sandt's color remake of "Psycho" (1998).

1997 proved to be Forster's breakout year when he was hired by Quentin Tarantino for the movie "Jackie Brown" (1997), for which he received Academy Award and Saturn Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. His performance in the film also won a Best Supporting Actor at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards.

Talking about Quentin Tarantino and his relationship with the cast, Forster described, "This guy is very smart and he's great to his actors. He wants them to be great. He keeps the stuff fresh. When he gave me the script he knew I hadn't had a big part like this in twenty-five years and he said, 'Here, read this and don't put any pressure on yourself. Just prepare the way you normally prepare.' And I said, 'Oh, what a liberating thing.' This guy is totally secure. He doesn't seem to be worried about anything. He's as good a guy as I have ever worked with.''

Stepping into the new millennium, Forster appeared in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy "Me Myself & Irene" and co-starred in "Supernova." He also won a Special Recognition Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival and was nominated for a Best Actor at the Chlotrudis Awards for his outstanding turn as a veteran jewelry salesman who mentors Donnie Wahlberg's character in writer/director Dan Cohen's independent crime drama film "Diamond Men," which he also produced. The film was screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival in October 2000 and was released to select theaters in the U.S. on September 14, 2001, to sparkling reviews.

During the next few years, Forster had a co-starring role in "Lakeboat" (2001), starred as Detective Harry McKnight in David Lynch's "Mulholland Dr." (2001), and was cast in the made-for-TV movie "Murder in Greenwich" (2002), based on the book by Mark Furhman about the story of Martha Moxley's unsolved murder. He was also cast as Marshall Sisco, a retired Miami police officer turned private investigator and Karen’s (played by Carla Gugino) father, confidant, counselor, and confessor, in the ABC crime drama series "Karen Sisco" (2003-2004).

Afterward, Forster was cast in the low-budget comedy "Grand Theft Parsons" (2004) and had a recurring role as Ben Huffstodt (2004-2005) in the Showtime series "Huff." He also narrated the book on tape for Robert B. Parker's "Double Play" in 2004.

During 2006 and 2007, Forster could be seen in the films "Firewall," starring Harrison Ford, "Lucky Number Slevin," featuring Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, and Lucy Liu, "Wild Seven," co-starring James M. Hausler, Robert Loggia, and Richard Roundtree, "Jack and Jill vs. the World," starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Taryn Manning, "D-War," co-starring Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks, and "Rise," a supernatural thriller in which he teamed up again with Lucy Liu. He also appeared in the minor films "Touching Home" and "Cleaner," as well as the 12-minute short film "Grampa's Cabin" (all three in 2007). In November 2007, TV viewers saw him guest starring in an episode of the ABC long-running soap opera "Desperate Housewives."

Forster is currently working on a dramatic miniseries called "Would Be Kings" and the upcoming films "The Code," a mob drama by Mimi Leder starring Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas and Radha Mitchell, "Expecting Love," a romantic comedy by writer/director Lukasz Karwowski, and "Fire Bay," a historical drama by writer/director Randall Fried.


Awards:

  • Hamptons International Film Festival: Special Recognition, "Diamond Men," 2000

  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actor, "Jackie Brown," 1998

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