Movies

John Forsythe dies at 92

MUMBAI: The unseen boss of Charlie‘s Angels, the put-upon plutocrat of Dynasty, John Forsythe is no more. The TV and film star expired on Thursday at the age of 92.


Born in 1918 in Penns Grove, N.J., as John Lincoln Freund, the son of a Wall Street stockbroker, Forsythe married and divorced early, joined the Army and, as a soldier, appeared in the Broadway play Winged Victory and the war movie Destination Tokyo, both in 1943. (On Broadway he met his second wife, actress Julie Warren; they were married for 51 years, until her death in 1994.) Forsythe returned to Hollywood after the war and, except for a starring role in the 1953 Broadway hit The Teahouse of the August Moon, remained out West.


Forsythe‘s uncomplicated manliness appealed to Alfred Hitchcock who cast the young man as the lead in the grindingly whimsical 1955 comedy The Trouble With Harry. Later Hitchcock signed Forsytheto play the role of a man accused of murder in the 1962 TV drama I Saw the Whole Thing. Seven years later, Forsytheto essayed the role of a government agent in Topaz.


The small screen later allured Forsythe. He began his series work with Bachelor Father that ran from 1957 to 1962 on CBS, then NBC and finally ABC. Over the next three decades, the actor anchored three other sitcoms: in 1965 The John Forsythe Show (an Air Force major inherits a San Francisco girls‘ school), in 1969 To Rome With Love (a widower moves his three daughters from Iowa to the Eternal City for a teaching position) and, as he was nearing 75, The Powers That Be, about an inept U.S. Senator whose wife (Holland Taylor) runs the show. Imagine the James Gregory-Angela Lansbury couple from The Manchurian Candidate.


In Richard Brooks‘ 1967 movie of Truman Capote‘s In Cold Blood. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson got the emoting headlines as the real-life Kansas killers, while Forsythe, as FBI agent Alvin Dewey, had the job of explaining their crimes to the audience.


If an actor is someone who sells the script without making it sound like a carny‘s come-on, then John Forsythe was him.

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