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).
by Sandra Brennan biography