Veteran actor Robert Forster, best known for his role in Jackie Brown and most recently in Last Man Standing and the Breaking Bad movie El Camino, died Friday at his home in Los Angeles after battling brain cancer, EW has confirmed. He was 78.
The New York actor was the son of an elephant trainer who first caught the acting bug in high school. After working in theater, he made the move to Los Angeles and nabbed parts in films like Reflections in a Golden Eye, Medium Cool, and Justine. He played cops on TV in shows like Police Story and Nakia and nabbed action roles in flicks like The Delta Force opposite Chuck Norris.
By the late ’80s, the gigs began to dwindle down to forgettable movies with names like Satan’s Princess and Checkered Flag — until Quentin Tarantino helped revive his career in 1997 by casting him as sympathetic bail bondsman Max Cherry in Jackie Brown. It earned him his first Academy Award nomination.
It was then back to business for the prolific Forster, who went on to appear in Mulholland Drive, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Firewall, and The Descendants. He also kept busy in TV series including Karen Sisco, Heroes, Alcatraz, and Twin Peaks, where he had a recurring role as Sheriff Frank Truman. In 2012, he was cast as Bud Baxter in the sitcom Last Man Standing, playing Tim Allen’s father. He appeared in a 2013 episode of Breaking Bad, and reprised that role in the movie sequel, El Camino.
Forster is survived by his longtime mate Denise Grayson, children Elizabeth, Bobby, Kate, and Maeghen, and four grandchildren.
On social media, fellow actors and costars, including Pam Grier and Bryan Cranston, paid tribute to Forster. See some of those below.
Robert Forester: Pam, call me when ya get into town. I’ll take you to my fave place for breakfast. We’ll catch up.......— Pam Grier Ph.D (@PamGrier) October 12, 2019
I’m saddened today by the news that Robert Forster has passed away. A lovely man and a consummate actor. I met him on the movie Alligator (pic) 40 years ago, and then again on BB. I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid just starting out in Hollywood. RIP Bob. pic.twitter.com/HtunD0Fx6g— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) October 12, 2019
I am heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of Robert Forster. My god. I had the privilege of knowing this beautiful man and working along side of him. A true gentleman that loved to act. I love you my friend. Thank you for loving me. You are and always will be a legend. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/CokPGjIDzU— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) October 12, 2019
Oh, Dear Robert - Beloved by all of us in our community of actors.— Frances Fisher (@Frances_Fisher) October 12, 2019
Remembering our classic poker nights at Norby’s:
We’d joke “We’ll bury our friends and one day it will be me.”
Today is your day. 💗
Fly with the angels dear friend.
Had the honor of making this little gem of a movie (Diamond Men) with this incredible gem of a man — Robert Forster.— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) October 12, 2019
Truly one of the kindest, most giving actors/human beings that I’ve ever worked with, and forever a dear friend. He’ll be missed.#RIPRobertForster 🙏🏼❤️😢💎 pic.twitter.com/zs01y3wtvl
Robert Forster?! So very sad. RIP. The world lost a lovely man, and a brilliant actor. 😔💔— Lauren Holly (@LaurenHolly) October 12, 2019
Robert Forster. A gem. RIP.— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) October 12, 2019
I was lucky enough to work with Robert Forster on a film. He was old school cool, so sweet and just crazy talented. RIP, Sarge.— Breckin Meyer (@breckinmeyer) October 12, 2019