John Forsythe

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John Forsythe (born on January 29, 1918), is an American stage, television and character actor best known for his roles as single father, Bentley Gregg on Bachelor Father (19571962), as the unseen Charles Townsend on Charlie's Angels (19761981), and as patriarch Blake Carrington on Dynasty (19811989). In the 1970s, he’s also well-known for hosting Wildlife of Survival.

Forsythe, the older of three children was born as John Lincoln Freund in Penns Grove, New Jersey to a factory worker. He was later raised in Brooklyn, New York, where his father worked as a Wall Street Businessman during the great depression of 1929. During his youth, he would often love baseball as he attended several baseball games in New York before graduating from high school attending University of North Carolina at only 16 years of age. During his junior year of college, he took the job as the announcer at Ebbet Fields Stadium in Brooklyn, New York at age 18 in 1936, and did a variety of tasks while working for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Being the avid Dodgers fan, his job led him into an acting career at the suggestion of his father. At first, Forsythe was reluctant, but went on and had decided to attend acting school.

While attending acting school, he met actress Parker MacCormick and the two were married in 1939. The couple had their first son, Dall in 1941, and soon after, the couple divorced that following year. At the same time, while he was keeping in touch of his young son, frequently, Warner Brothers seen the promising actor in small roles. After his divorce in 1943, he starred in Destination Tokyo (1943). After starring in that role, he was sent off to World War II, as a sodier. His job was to recover other injured soldiers who had developed speech problems. As he left the second war that same year, he met another young actress and singer, Julie Warren, also in 1943, where she would travel with him to a series of plays, even in his hometown of New York. Once met, Julie got the role on Broadway in Around The World in 80 Days, and his future wife remained busy. After production, Forsythe would considered into getting married, a second time. He proposed to Julie and the couple got married later that same year, and for the next 51 years, Forsythe’s & Warren’s journey of marriage would take off and Forsythe resume his duties of getting more smaller roles, after the war. Forsythe had two daughters in the early 1950s, Page and four years later, he had Brooke.

In the late 1940s, Forsythe got a job at the at the prestigious Actor’s Studio, where he met other promising young actors such as: Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Tab Hunter, Richard Egan, Rod Serling and a 14-year-old future British young actress Joan Collins, who would later co-star with him on Dynasty. This job helped him do his Broadway Performance in Mister Roberts, just a few years later, and would later star in yet another successful play on Broadway, ‘’The Teahouse of the August Moon’’.

All went well into his career and in 1955, Alfred Hitchcock grabbed him to star in the movie The Trouble with Harry (1955), starring a young Shirley MacLaine. This movie wasn’t a ratings winner in the box office and starring in highly-rated box office movies were getting harder to find for Forsythe. When he was nearing 40, he was thinking about going into series television, and he was right about starring in a situation comedy where he would proved to be popular. In 1957’s, Bachelor Father for CBS, he played Bentley Gregg, a playboy lawyer and father who was delivering more responsibilities to his niece Kelly (played by Noreen Corcoran). In its first year, the show was a smash hit, and Forsythe would enjoy portraying this single father role, who would love to hit it off with the ladies. When the series moved to NBC, a few years later, the show became better than ever, than the original network. On one episode, he would have the pleasure of working with a young Linda Evans, as she immediately had a crush on the much older actor. This one-time episode would lead both him & Evans to star together in the popular 1980s soap opera, Dynasty, almost 20 years later. In real-life, he also got the privilege of spending time with his own family and even becoming more famous in California. During its last season in 1961, Bachelor Father moved to ABC, and by this time, the move had low ratings, which ended its five-year-run in 1962 on 3 separate networks, but Forsythe’s next career move would always let the door open for himself.

In the early 1960s, he also starred in several more box office films, Kitten with a Whip (1964), and later, he appeared in In Cold Blood (1967).

Between 1965 and 1969, he would go back to series television in The John Forsythe Show, and To Rome with Love, but this time, his 2 series proved to be unsuccessful. Though he couldn’t retire from television, he served as narrator on the syndicated nature series, The Wildlife of Survival, which lasted from 1971 to 1977.

His big break came in 1976 when he received a phone call from Aaron Spelling and their real-life relationship would last for the next 13 years that he had the privilege of working with him in the crime [drama] Charlie’s Angels for ABC, making him the highest-paid actor on television. Though he played the role of a mysterious millionaire and private investigator, Charles Townsend, Forsythe wasn’t on the set at all. In real-life, Forsythe would have to record his voice on tape, when on the show, that voice would later be used over the speaker phone for his fine young ladies to give out the many cases on which it’s the Angels’ job to solve, including a young Farrah Fawcett. In its first season (compared to Bachelor Father), it was also a ratings blockbuster and it was seen in over 90 countries. His co-star Farrah Fawcett, the original Charlie’s Angel, left the series in 1977 over a contract dispute and was later replaced by Cheryl Ladd. With the money he made from the series, he used it mostly for thoroughbred racing, which was one of his hobbies. A lot of celebrities have been racing over the years as he held certain annual events. Since 1972, he served as Board of Directors at the Hollywood Park Racetrack, and has been on the committee for more than quarter of a century. While working, he had problems with his heart and was forced to undergo quadruple bypass surgery in 1979. His surgery was so successful that he safely returned to work on Charlie’s Angels and to star, just in time for the courtroom [drama], ... And Justice for All (1979). In 1980, while Charlie’s Angels was continuing to lose a lot of the popularity, the actor was still under contract to work with Aaron Spelling, a second time to star in yet another big role that would made him more famous than before on the same network. In 1981, after 5 successful seasons and 116 episodes, Angels was getting ready to be succumbed. But Forsythe always kept his head up for something that was very good.

During his last working days on Charlie’s Angels, he beat out George Peppard to play the conniving and beloved patriarch, Blake Carrington, in Dynasty, that Forsythe would (once again) be interested in doing a soap opera about a rich oil family in the state of Colorado, and ABC’s Dynasty was the answer to another popular 1980s soap opera, Dallas, which should win the ratings easily and compete against each other in later years as the show progresses. It was also another hit for Forsythe, a bigger one as his name and character became a pop culture icon of the 1980s, than those of playing the bachelor father to a mysterious millionaire turned private investigator, whose voice was caught up over the speaker next to a phone. He also became one of Hollywood’s leading men and sex symbol, as well. For his work, he was nominated for Emmy awards three times between 1982 through 1984 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, but didn’t win, but was nominated for Golden Globes, six times, by Best Performance in a TV Series, and won only twice. He was also nominated five times, for a Soap Opera Digest Award, and won only twice in 1984. On screen, he was finally given a chance to work with the now veteran actress who guest-starred with him in Forsythe’s, Bachelor Father. Linda Evans beat out Angie Dickinson to play Blake’s compassionate and caring younger wife, Krystle, and the chemistry of Forsythe & Evans clicked and it publicized as the #1 married couple on the show and the duo even appeared on talk shows and newsmagazine shows. Another co-star, Joan Collins, who was one of Forsythe’s students of the 1940s, came along as well in order to help the soap play second-fiddle to Dallas's storylines and their ratings. Each of the actors who got to star in this soap was now given a chance to own their fine line of perfumes/colognes. His co-star Linda Evans even got the chance to do a Crystal Light commercial, as well, among the many others she did. Forsythe also had a recurring role playing the same character on the short-lived spin-off series The Colbys. In one of the most memorable episodes of Dynasty, there would always be a Krystle-Alexis feud, revolutionaries gunned down in the palace chapel, illegitimate children, sex, drugs, glitz and glamorous clothes, results, etc. By 1983, Forsythe became one of Hollywood’s long-running marriages and television’s most reliable leading men, he & Julie had been married for more than 40 years and when the 6th season of Dynasty began production, as for being the family man that he was on the show, in real-life, he also became a family man, spending more time with their grown children and grandchildren, and a few years later in 1988, he & Julie were married for 45 years and never missed a step. Also by 1988, during its 9th and final year, Dynasty was about to take a nose dive in the ratings and at the same time, his co-star Linda Evans was about to leave the show in 1989, just several episodes before the series finale. The show lasted for 9 seasons and Forsythe was the only actor to appear in all 220 of those episodes.

As the 1990s came along, Forsythe was well into his 70s, and his break from acting wasn’t going to last long. In late 1991, he would reprise his role in a TV movie, Dynasty: The Reunion. The following year, he would once again comeback to series television, after a three-year-absence, he starred in Norman Lear’s situation comedy, The Powers That Be, his first and only series for NBC. But unlike the 3 show that he starred in, it wasn’t a ratings winner, and NBC had decided to pull the plug on the show after only 1 year. The following year, his turn was also taken for the worst when his wife of 51 years, Julie, was having troubled breathing and was later sent to the hospital where she was connected to a life-support system, while being in a coma. At the time of Forsythe’s decision, he pulled the plug on his wife and later died on August 15, 1994.

As the new millennium began, and several years after his wife’s Julie’s death, he came back to work reprising his role in Charlie’s Angels (2000), which proved to be the #1 movie of 2000 and 2001, and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003). In 2002, after eight years of his wife’s Julie’s death, he married businesswoman Nicole Carter, who is 22 years, younger than him, and this time, the new couple decided not to have anymore kids. He has 1 son (from a previous marriage), 2 daughters, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. Though Forsythe is retired from acting, he enjoys a much stable life at home with his new wife, and art gallery.

A lifelong smoker, Forsythe was forced to quit when his physician told him in 1982 that he was an ideal candidate for emphysema.

External links

de:John Forsythe