Oscar Actors: Forster, Robert

When pundits say that just being nominated for an Oscar is tantamount to winning, they must have Robert Forster in mind. His role as Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantinos Jackie Brown was a landmark performance and helped revive a career, garnering him critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It has turned around a career that started nearly 40 years ago and put him in great demand.
Forster has not stopped working since he co-starred with Samuel L. Jackson, Pam Grier and Robert De Niro as the innately decent bail bondsman in Jackie Brown, performing in a roster of roles in films and television which run the gamut from high-profile to independent projects.

In 2005, in addition to Firewall, Forster worked on three very different films: D-War, a fantasy based on a Korean legend, and indies Wild Seven and Rise. Other recent credits include Wes Cravens Cursed, Grand Theft Parsons, starring Johnny Knoxville, as well as Confidence, Like Mike and Charlies Angels: Full Throttle. He won accolades from film critics for his work in David Mamets Lakeboat, directed by Joe Mantegna, and Diamond Men, with Donnie Wahlberg.
On the small screen Forster co-starred in last years CBS TV film The Hunt for the BTK Killer, as well as TNTs The Grid; the HBO Films production Undefeated, directed by and starring John Leguizamo; the USA film Murder in Greenwich; and the CBS TV film Like Mother Like Son: The Strange Story of Sante and Kenny Kimes, with Mary Tyler Moore. He returned to series television in 2002 when he guest starred as Peter Facinellis father in McGs Fastlane. Since then, he starred alongside Carla Gugino in the ABC series Karen Sisco.

After Jackie Brown, Forster starred in a quartet of independent films: Outside Ozona, Family Tree, The Magic of Marciano, co-starring Nastassja Kinski, and Its the Rage, with an all-star ensemble including Joan Allen, Gary Sinise and Andre Braugher; as well as the updated versions of Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho, directed by Gus Van Sant, and a television version of Rear Window, with Christopher Reeve. Forster also recently starred in the modern-day film noir Roads to Riches, with Rose McGowan, and the present-day western Lone Hero. In 1999 he was featured in the sci-fi film Supernova, co-starring Angela Bassett and James Spader, and did an audio reading of the best-selling book Hit Man for Dove Audio.

Forster blazed on the scene in 1966 in his debut film Reflections in a Golden Eye, co-starring with Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, directed by John Huston. He followed this in 1968 with the seminal film Medium Cool. Forster also starred in several television series including the TV noir series Banyon.

He figured that if he persisted, someday a young hotshot filmmaker, familiar with his work, would create a role for him. What he didn't realize was that there would be two young guys anxious to cast him. One was Quentin Tarantino, who had thought of him for two earlier films, but then wrote the Max Cherry role with Forster in mind. The second was Englishman Paul Chart, who created the role of Dr. Jake Nyman in the thriller American Perfekt for Forster, after carefully following his career. This film also stars Amanda Plummer, David Thewlis and Paul Sorvino.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Forster began his acting career in local theater, moving to New York City in 1964, where he made his professional debut in the two-character Broadway production of Mrs. Dally Has a Lover. Other stage credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie and productions of Twelve Angry Men, The Sea Horse and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Over the years, he has done consistently well-received work in small films, including his stand-out performances in The Don is Dead, Stunts, Avalanche, Alligator and The Delta Force.
Prior to Karen Sisco, Forster starred in three series: Banyon, Nakia and Once a Hero, as well as numerous television films including Death Squad, Standing Tall, The Clone and an Emmy Award-winning episode of Police Story.

In 1986, he produced and directed Hollywood Harry, a detective film spoof, in which he starred with his daughter Kate, then age l4. During his career, he created an actors workshop and then expanded its range to become a motivational speaker.