The first time I really took notice of Robert Forster was when the ABC television network played the 1980 flick Alligator a year or two later - and I taped it on Beta and watched it with my friends several times over the next few months. Forster's everyman cop - taking people's shots at his receding hairline even as he's taking shots at the giant alligator menacing Chicago - marvelous. I know now that I'd seen him prior to this when I watched The Black Hole on Showtime - but he was blended in to more of an ensemble cast in the Disney movie so he didn't stand out at the time.
Why not throw in the Alligator trailer? Why not indeed...
The movie is more brightly lit than that trailer, by the way, and the movie is truly recommended as one of the finest Nature Runs Amok flicks of the time period.
After Alligator, though, Robert Forster's name was on my list of people to watch out for. He next turned up on a very short lived series called Once a Hero. The premise had two comic book characters coming to life in the real world. The main character was a superhero played by Jeff Lester. But Robert Forster was aboard as well, playing the other comic book character - a pastiche of the Raymond Chandler style private detective - fedora, trenchcoat, etc. He was called Gumshoe.
Let's keep the videos coming - here's a promo for the show's premiere with a good amount of Forster:
And here's the show's opening:
Since that time I've gotten to know much more about Robert Forster and his work. He got started in the late 60's, notably appeaing in Reflections in a Golden Eye early on. As the 70's rolled around he was working a lot as a leading man in movies like Medium Cool and Cover Me Babe.
He did a turn on TV in a period dectective series called Banyon which was critically acclaimed but not a ratings blockbuster - but Banyon definitely served as the inspiration for the Gumshoe character in Once a Hero.
By the time the late 70's rolled around Robert Forster was still working, but was doing more B level genre pictures than A list movies. Titles like Vigilante and Delta Force carried him through the 80's. The 90's rolled around and things were much the same, with movies like Satan's Princess and The Banker made watchable by his presence alone.
|Playing the bad guy in Delta Force.|
Then, in 1997, Quentin Tarantino hired Robert Forster to play a role in Jackie Brown - and his effortless charisma and chemistry with star Pam Grier proved so potent Forster was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Sadly, it was the year Robin Williams won for Good Will Hunting, shutting out both Forster and another fave around this blog - Burt Reynolds - nominated for Boogie Nights.
The Oscar rejuvenated Forster's career for a few years - and he started appearing in theatrical releases again in movies like Supernova and Me, Myself, and Irene in supporting roles. The Tarantino movie and Oscar nom also introduced Robert Forster to a new generation of independent filmmakers. He's continued working ever since, in television (Karen Sisco; Alcatraz), mainstream features (Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle; Firewall) and indie movies (Grand Theft Parsons; Kalamity)
|Olympus Has Fallen.|
Robert Forster has racked up almost 170 credits, so there's plenty out there for you to track down!
Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!