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.