Frederic Forrest seemed destined for stardom earlier in his career, but circumstance has led him to become a well-respected supporting/character actor who only occasionally plays leads. Forrest began working professionally off-Broadway after studying acting under Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg. Forrest then worked in experimental theater with such groups as Tom O'Horgan's La Mama; it is with this troupe that he made his first film appearance in Futz (1969). He appeared in his first Hollywood feature as a young Indian in When the Legends Die (1972) after being spotted performing on the Los Angeles stage. His work earned him a Golden Globe for Best Newcomer and put him in demand with several big-name directors, most notably Francis Ford Coppola, who has provided Forrest with some of his best roles in films like The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988). Forrest was one of the first actors signed to a contract with Coppola's Zoetrope Studios. Forrest has once been nominated for an Oscar for playing Bette Midler's chauffeur/lover in The Rose (1979). In 1983, Forrest offered a memorable portrayal of detective novelist Dashiell Hammett in Hammett. Forrest has also done a lot of television work and has been particularly notable in such offerings as Lonesome Dove and Saigon, Year of the Cat. While primarily a supporting actor during the '80s, Forrest began playing character roles during the '90s in such films as The Two Jakes (1990), Falling Down (1993), and The Brave (1996).
photo credit: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
by Sandra Brennan biography