There are some actors who have died in recent years that really shook America like an earthquake. Maybe the best recent example, even though it has been over five years, is Academy Award winner Robin Williams.
Heath Ledger was a shock. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a shock. Imagine the kind of seismic event it will be when it’s Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks or Denzel Washington.
Robert Forster may not have the seismic proportions the aforementioned had but he was still a novel human being and a great actor. Forster told an outstanding story about how Quentin Tarantino revived his career and here’s all the other things he did as well.
Robert Forster’s acting career has kind of a weird generational aspect to it. The newer generations know him from “Jackie Brown,” while older generations may know him as a character actor from shows like “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Murder, She Wrote” or “Magnum, P.I.”
Forster got to a point in the mid-1990’s when he contemplated leaving acting for good because he had children he wanted to send to college.
But that’s when fate occurred.
Watch this video.
This isn’t some moment of absurd overnight success; these are two talented artists meeting each other by a freak happenstance at a hole-in-the-wall café in Los Angeles.
Robert Forster owes his career resurgence to Quentin Tarantino, but to be fair, the famous director has done exactly that same sentiment many times before.
The prime example of this is John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction,” who consequently was nominated for an Academy Award for that role but ultimately lost to Tom Hanks for “Forrest Gump.”
Another great example is Jamie Foxx in “DJango Unchained,” who was already an Academy Award winner for “Ray,” but his career stagnated a tad until that amazing performance.
How about Kurt Russell? Russell’s career wasn’t really going anywhere until he made “The Hateful Eight” with the legendary director. After that he was a dramatic hot commodity again, which led to him being cast in “Bonesaw Tomahawk.”
Tarantino has this nostalgia about him that recognizes talent but as Forster points out, sometimes, it’s just happenstance. It’s almost nepotism purely based on nostalgia.
Forster acquired his only Academy Award nomination with “Jackie Brown,” and for all intents and purposes, he probably should’ve won. He was quite amazing in that film.
Here’s some iconic work from him in “Jackie Brown.”
But Forster also has wonderful moments in “Breaking Bad” and also tragically passed away on the same exact day that “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Story” came out on Netflix.
Forster’s character is dynamite in that film because he’s a vacuum cleaner salesman but also charges $150,000 to smuggle people into a new life like it’s a governmental witness protection program.
He’s nuanced but also demands your attention and that is a rare quality for actors.
Have you seen “Alligator?”
Watch this trailer.
Forster was a character actor and was wonderful at it but he deserves to be in the upper echelon of some of the greats. Quentin Tarantino has this scary judge of talent where he knows what some actors are capable of and we should all be grateful for that because he’s responsible for actors like Forster not working at a Home Depot for the rest of his life in order to put his children through college.