Tough-guy actor dies of brain cancer

NEW YORK • Robert Forster, whose role as a bail bondsman in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997) earned him an Oscar nomination and who was acclaimed for his tough-guy appearances in Breaking Bad (2008 to 2013), died last Friday at his home in Los Angeles.

He was 78. The cause was brain cancer, said Ms Kathie Berlin, a longtime friend of Forster’s.

Forster appeared in close to 200 films and television shows during his more than five decades in show business. He made his movie debut in Reflections In A Golden Eye, the racy 1967 drama directed by John Huston and starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1969, he played a newsman in Medium Cool, a drama about a reporter who becomes involved in the violence in the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Forster went through a mid-career slump with roles in films like The Delta Force (1986) and the 1980 horror film Alligator. It was on the set of Alligator that he met a special effects assistant named Bryan Cranston, with whom he would later reunite in the critically acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, about a New Mexico chemistry teacher who turns to a life of crime.

Forster and Cranston teamed up again in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which was released last Friday by Netflix.

Forster’s greatest success came in 1997 when Tarantino cast him as the bail bondsman Max Cherry in Jackie Brown, for which Forster received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His character falls in love with Jackie Brown, played by Pam Grier, a flight attendant arrested for carrying drugs.

Forster, whose two marriages ended in divorce, is survived by his longtime partner Denise Grayson, a son, three daughters and four grandchildren.