Robert Forster

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Robert Forster
Robert Forster 2009.jpg
Forster attending "Heroes For Autism" event at Avalon, Hollywood, CA on April 19, 2009
BornRobert Wallace Foster, Jr.
(1941-07-13) July 13, 1941 (age 73)
Rochester, New York, US
Years active1967–present
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For other people named Robert Forster, see Robert Forster (disambiguation).
Robert Forster
Robert Forster 2009.jpg
Forster attending "Heroes For Autism" event at Avalon, Hollywood, CA on April 19, 2009
BornRobert Wallace Foster, Jr.
(1941-07-13) July 13, 1941 (age 73)
Rochester, New York, US
Years active1967–present

Robert Forster (born July 13, 1941) is an American actor, best known for his roles as John Cassellis in Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool, and as Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, the latter of which gained him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He has recently appeared as George Clooney's father-in-law in Alexander Payne's The Descendants and as an Army general in Antoine Fuqua's Olympus Has Fallen. He is a member of the Triple Nine Society.

Early life[edit]

Forster was born Robert Wallace Foster, Jr. in Rochester, New York, the son of Grace Dorothy (née Montanarella) and Robert Wallace Foster, Sr., who worked as an elephant trainer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and later as an executive for a baking supply company.[1][2] His mother was Italian American and his father was of English and Irish ancestry.[3] The two divorced in 1949. As a tribute to his father, Forster hung one of his father's Barnum & Bailey Circus posters in the office of his character "Max Cherry" in the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown.

Forster completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1964 at the University of Rochester, where he starred in student dramatic performances such as Bye Bye Birdie and, after initially intending to go on to study law, instead decided to forgo his future legal career in favor of acting.


After acclaimed supporting performances in two major Hollywood films, one as Private Williams in John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), another as part-Indian Army scout Nick Tana in Robert Mulligan's The Stalking Moon (1968), Forster starred in the critically acclaimed 1969 film Medium Cool. After starring roles in the TV shows Banyon (1972) and Nakia (1974), he played mostly supporting roles in action and horror films including Disney's The Black Hole (1979). Forster had lead roles in cult B-movies in the 1980s like Alligator (1980), Vigilante (1983), The Delta Force (1986), and The Banker (1989). He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997 for Jackie Brown, which he credits with reviving his career. He has since had consistent work in the film industry, appearing in Like Mike; Mulholland Drive; Me, Myself, & Irene; Lucky Number Slevin and Firewall, to name a few. He recently appeared in the made for television movie The Hunt for the BTK Killer, as the detective intent on capturing serial killer Dennis Rader. Forster also played the father of Van on the short-lived Fox series Fastlane.

Forster recorded a public service announcement for Deejay Ra's 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign, encouraging reading of books by Elmore Leonard (he starred in the movie adaption of Leonard's book Rum Punch, filmed as Jackie Brown). Forster is also a motivational speaker.

Forster appeared in the hit NBC show Heroes as Arthur Petrelli, the father of Nathan and Peter Petrelli, as well as the Emmy award winning AMC crime drama Breaking Bad as Walter White's new identity specialist.

Twice divorced, Forster is a father of four children. His eldest child, Kate Forster (born 1969), has worked as an actress, also appearing in Mulholland Drive.


1967Reflections in a Golden EyePrivate L.G. Williams
1967N.Y.P.D.Tony(TV series, 1 episode: "To Catch a Hero")
1968Judd, for the DefenseRay Elliott(TV series, 1 episode: "In a Puff of Smoke")
1968The Stalking MoonNick Tana
1969Medium CoolJohn Cassellis
1970Cover Me BabeTony Hall
1971–1973BanyonMiles Banyon(TV series, 9 episodes)
1973The Don Is DeadFrank
1974NakiaDeputy Nakia Park(TV series, 14 episodes)
1975–1977Police StoryBob Vandon(TV series, 5 episodes)
1976Gibbsville{TV series, 1 episode "All the Young Girls")
1977StuntsGlen Wilson
1978AvalancheNick Thorne
1979The Lady in RedTurkUncredited
1979The Black HoleCaptain Dan Holland
1981Goliath AwaitsJeff SelrikTelevision movie
1981Heartbreak HighCoach Alan Arnoldi
1983VigilanteEddie Marino
1983Walking The EdgeJason Walk
1985Hollywood HarryHarry Petryalso producer and director
1985Magnum, P.I.Tyler Peabody McKinney(TV series, 2 episodes)
1986The Delta ForceAbdul Rafai
1986Tales from the DarksideGary Gooley(TV series, 1 episode: "The Milkman Cometh")
1989The BankerDan
1990Checkered FlagJack Cotton
199129th StreetSrgt. Tartaglia
1994American YakuzaLittman
1996Original GangstasDetective Slatten
1997Demolition UniversityGentry
1997American PerfektJake Nyman
1997Jackie BrownMax CherryKansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998PsychoDr. Simon
1998Rear WindowDetective Charlie MooreTelevision movie
1998Outside OzonaOdell Parks
1999It's the RageTyler
1999Kiss Toledo GoodbyeSal Fortuna
2000SupernovaA.J. Marley
2000LakeboatJoe Kitko
2000Me, Myself & IreneColonel Parington
2000Diamond MenEddie MillerHamptons International Film Festival: Special Recognition
2001Mulholland Dr.Detective Harry McKnight
2001Human NatureNathan's father
2001Finder's FeeOfficer Campbell
2002Like MikeCoach Wagner
2002Lone HeroGus
2002Strange HeartsJack Waters
2002–2003FastlaneRaymond Ray(TV series, 2 episodes)
2002Murder in GreenwichSteve CarrollTelevision movie
2003ConfidenceMorgan Price
2003Charlie's Angels: Full ThrottleRoger Wixon
2003Grand Theft ParsonsStanley Parsons
2003–2004Karen SiscoMarshall Cisco(TV series, 10 episodes)
2004–2005HuffBuff Huffstodt(TV series, 4 episodes)
2005The Hunt for the BTK KillerDetective Jason Magida
2006Numb3rsAgent Thomas Lawson(TV series, 1 episode: "Protest")
2006FirewallHarry Romano
2006Lucky Number SlevinMurphy
2007CleanerArlo Grange
2007Desperate HousewivesNick Delfino(TV series, 1 episode: "Now I Know, Don't Be Scared")
2008Jack and Jill vs. the WorldNorman
2008HeroesArthur Petrelli(TV series, 9 episodes)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television
2009Thick as ThievesLt. Weber
2009Ghosts of Girlfriends PastSrgt. Volkom
2010Middle MenLouie
2011Girl Walks Into a BarDodge
2011CSI: NYJoe Vincent(TV series, 1 episode)
2011The DescendantsScott ThorsonNominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2012AlcatrazRay Archer(TV series, 4 episodes)
2012Transformers: PrimeGeneral Bryce(TV series, 1 episode)
2012Last Man StandingBud Baxter(TV series, 4 episodes)
2013Olympus Has FallenGeneral Edward Clegg
2013Breaking BadEd(TV Series, 1 episode: "Granite State")
Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television


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