Robert Forster sadly passed away and his friends and colleagues are paying tribute. He was 78-years old. The Jackie Brown and, most recently, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, star died Friday at his home in Los Angeles. Forster suffered through a brief battle with brain cancer. The actor has two more projects on the way, including Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and Werewolf. Forster gained a cult status over the years and Quentin Tarantino helped bring him back to the public consciousness with 1997’s Jackie Brown.
After working with Quentin Tarantino on Jackie Brown, Robert Forster’s career started to take hold again. The actor soon found himself in high demand and landed a gig in Vince Gilligan’s hit AMC series Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston took some time out of his day to celebrate the life of Forster. He had this to say.
“A lovely man and a consummate actor. I met him on the movie Alligator 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.”
Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul also paid tribute to the actor on social media. “I am heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of Robert Forster,” said Paul in a post. “My god. I had the privilege of knowing this beautiful man and working alongside of him.” Forster has been called a legend more than once over the years and he left a long-lasting imprint on anyone who he ever worked with.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn also paid tribute to Robert Forster on social media. Forster was always around to hand out advice to people who were emerging into the business. Gunn was one of these people that Forster took under his wing and helped him through the Hollywood ropes. Gunn explains.
“Robert Forster wasn’t only one of the best people I’ve ever known in the industry, he was one of the best people I’ve known anywhere. I met him at a film festival before I’d even directed my first film and we kept in touch and would meet for breakfast, where he gave me tips on the film business, what he did right and what he could have done differently. He had no reason to do this other than our spirits were kindred and he was kind. Later on I arranged for him to speak to groups of actors, where he’d dole out advice and entertainment and play the spoons for their delight. He’d do all this for free because, again, he was simply a kind soul. I just woke up to the news he passed away. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken and I wish I could have told him what he meant to me before today. It was a lot. Hope he’s somewhere playing those spoons like the pro he was in all ways.”
Robert Forster started acting in the late 1960s and continued until El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie this year. Though he had a number of roles over the years, Forster was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown in 1997. From there, the actor’s career started to take off for a second time, but things weren’t always so easy. Forster had this to say in a 2018 interview.
“I went 21 months without a job. I had four kids, I took any job I could get. My career went like this for five years and then like that for 27. Every time it reached a lower level I thought I could tolerate, it dropped some more, and then some more. Near the end I had no agent, no manager, no lawyer, no nothing. I was taking whatever fell through the cracks.”
Robert Forster may have seen himself fall through the cracks as an actor, but moviegoers and television watchers never did. Forster is one of the faces and voices that one does not simply forget. Quentin Tarantino was the man to bring Forster back for a second chance at an acting career and it’s something the actor does not take lightly. Forster is survived by his children Bobby, Elizabeth, Kate and Maeghen, his grandchildren Tess, Liam, Jack and Olivia and his partner Denise Grayso. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce Robert Forster’s death.
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
RIP Robert Forster!! A truly class act/ Actor!!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) October 12, 2019
With more than 100 film credits spanning six decades, Robert Forster was a prolific talent who radiated warmth and kindness in everything he did. In 1998, he earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in “Jackie Brown.” Thank you, Robert, for all that you’ve given us. pic.twitter.com/ZwTj21xfw6
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) October 12, 2019
So thrilled to see Robert Forster turn up in EL CAMINO today, so devastated to hear that he’s gone. Such an assured, soulful, commanding presence, and someone who survived a long fallow period for a late-career surge. Movies were always better for having him.
— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) October 12, 2019
Absolutely heartbroken over the passing of Robert Forster – literally the nicest man. An amazing storyteller and a good friend. Sending much love to his partner Denise. This picture is from an evening we did together with Haskell Wexler saluting their masterpiece “Medium Cool” pic.twitter.com/Bu9Cp7ZuSV
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) October 12, 2019
To those unfamiliar with his work, Robert Forster had essentially two careers: pre-Tarantino & post-Tarantino. They were both great. He could merely sigh and convey a complicated emotion. He could just stare and manage to leave you feeling this wave of emotion for his character. https://t.co/W3ejc54Qmb
— Ben Mankiewicz (@BenMank77) October 12, 2019