Skip to Content

Robert Forster, the beloved actor whose career enjoyed an unexpected revival after he starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, died of brain cancer at his home in Los Angeles on Friday.

He was 78 years old.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

The sad news was confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by Forster’s publicist.

Forster’s passing came just hours after his final performance, as he played a role in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which was released on Netflix on October 11.

The veteran star also made a final appearance in Last Man Standing last year, portraying the father of Tim Allen’s character.

"A truly gifted actor and one of the loveliest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. RIP Robert," wrote Last Man Standing actress Nancy Travis on Twitter Friday in response to the sad development.

Forster appeared on 10 episodes of this ABC sitcom.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Still, he was best known for his work on the big screen.

He made his film debut opposite Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor in John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) and then received rave reviews as an ethically challenged cameraman in Haskell Wexler’s ultra-realistic Medium Cool (1969).

Forster was a successful box office draw for over a decade — but his career than took a dip.

By the early 1990s, the actor was down to supporting roles in such low-budget efforts as Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, Body Chemistry 3: Point of Seduction and Scanner Cop II… while supplementing his income with speaking engagements.

Until Tarantino entered the picture, that is.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

In 1997, Tarantino directed Forster to an Oscar-nominated performance in Jackie Brown.

Filmmaker David Lynch later cast him as a detective in Mulholland Drive —  and Forster would go on to work with Lynch again in 2017, playing Sheriff Frank Truman in Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival.

"I went 21 months without a job. I had four kids, I took any job I could get," Forster told the Chicago Tribune in 2018, adding:

"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."

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

Forster’s other credits over the recent years have included Firewall, Me, Myself and Irene, Lucky Number Slevin and Olympus Has Fallen.

Forster said that when his career was at its lowest ebb, he had what he called an "epiphany."

"It was the simple one," he said, "when you realize, ‘You know what? You’re not dead yet, Bob. You can win it in the late innings. You’ve still got the late innings, but you can’t quit. Never quit.’"

He is survived by his third wife, Evie, and children Elizabeth, Katherine, Maeghen and Robert.

May Robert Forster rest in peace.