Steve Forrest

Active - 1951 - 2003  |   Born - Sep 25, 1925 in Huntsville, Texas, United States  |   Died - May 18, 2013   |   Genres - Drama, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The younger brother of actor Dana Andrews, Steve Forrest served in World War II while his brother (17 years Steve's senior) was starring in such films as The Purple Heart (1944) and Laura (1944). Upon his return to America, Steve went to Hollywood to pay a social call on Dana, decided he liked the movie colony, and opted to stick around for a while. Though he'd previously played bits in such films as Crash Dive (using his given name of William Andrews), Forrest never seriously considered acting as a profession until enrolling at UCLA. He tried regional theatre work and scriptwriting then received a brief but showy bit part in MGM's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). This led to further film work in second leads then several years' worth of villainous roles. When asked why he accepted so many bad-guy assignments, Forrest would cite the comment once made to him by Clark Gable: "The hero gets the girl but the heavy gets the attention". By 1969, however, Forrest felt as though he'd worn out his welcome as a heavy, and began regularly turning down roles, holding out for heroic parts. In 1975, he was cast as Lieutenant Dan "Hondo" Harrison on the popular TV action series S.W.A.T., which might have run for years had it not been axed under pressure from the anti-violence brigades. More recently, Steve Forrest lampooned his rugged, rough'n'ready image in the 1987 film comedy Amazon Women of the Moon.

In the years to follow, Forrest would remain beloved for his man's man presence on screen, appearing occasionally on shows like Colombo and Murder, She Wrote. Forrest passed away in 2013 at the age of 87.

Movie Highlights

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  • Was the 12th of 13 children, one of whom was actor Dana Andrews; used Forrest as his last name to differentiate himself from his already famous brother.
  • Was discovered in the early 1950s by Gregory Peck while working as a stagehand at the La Jolla Playhouse in California; Peck cast him in a production of Goodbye Again and arranged for a screen test at MGM.
  • A trained vocalist, he made his Broadway debut playing a budding prize-fighter in a 1958 production of the musical The Body Beautiful.
  • Played the leader of a special police unit in the 1970s TV series S.W.A.T.; his oft-used line, "Let's roll," became a national catchphrase.
  • Received a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for 1981's Mommie Dearest.
  • Had a cameo as the team van driver in the 2003 big-screen S.W.A.T. remake, which starred Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell.