Robert Forster, the handsome and omnipresent character actor who got a career resurgence and Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry in ‘Jackie Brown’, died on Friday, at the age of 78. Forster’s publicist Kathie Berlin said he died at home in Los Angeles of brain cancer following a brief illness. He was surrounded by family, including his four children and partner Denise Grayson.
Forster worked consistently throughout the 1970s and 1980s in mostly forgettable B-movies – ultimately appearing in over 100 films, many out of necessity. However, it was Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film ‘Jackie Brown’ that put him back on the map. Tarantino created the role of Max Cherry with Forster in mind – the actor had unsuccessfully auditioned for a part in “Reservoir Dogs,” but the director promised not to forget him.
After ‘Jackie Brown’, he worked consistently and at a decidedly higher level than during the ‘slump’ period, appearing in films like ‘Me, Myself and Irene,’ ‘The Descendants,’ ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ and ‘What They Had’. Most recently Forster reprised his ‘Breaking Bad’ role as Ed in ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,’ which was released this Friday and appeared in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amazing Stories’ and in ‘Werewolf’. Filmmaker David Lynch cast the actor with a distinctive weathered look in ‘Mulholland Drive’ and in the rebooted ‘Twin Peaks’ as Sheriff Frank Truman. ‘I’ve done a lot of genre pictures in my career…I’ve always liked them,’ Forster told the Bleecker Street blog upon the release of 2018’s indie drama ‘What They Had’. He said he loved trying out comedy as Tim Allen’s father in ‘Last Man Standing’.
Even in his down days, Forster always considered himself lucky and advised to take whatever jobs we have to make the best of us.