“A vastly usable, not wildly talented actor” has passed away. Not many in the acting world considered John Forsythe anything but talented, but that’s essentially how he saw himself. Of course, he wasn’t your average guy. While in his 60’s, he became a sex symbol to millions of women across the country. Best known for his voice on Charlie’s Angels and his strong screen presence on Dynasty, Forsythe’s life has come to an end at the age of 92.
Forsythe had a series of roles on Broadway and successful films — including a starring role in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry — before finding success on TV as the star of Bachelor Father. The show ended up airing on all three networks during its five year run.
He returned to film to make Madame X, In Cold Blood, and And Justice for All, then found his way back to television again, where he had his share of beautiful costars, such as Linda Evans, John Collins, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith, and Kate Jackson.
In Forsythe’s next big TV role, he was never even seen. On Charlie’s Angels, he played the voice on the speaker phone, Charlie Townsend, calling in to tell his team of female detectives what their next case would be. He later recreated the role for the Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle feature films.
Recognizing that the roles he chose to play defined who he was as a performer, Forsythe once said, “If I had been willing to starve so that I could play Hamlet, I might have been a better actor than I am today.”
The work that he’s most known for is the role of Blake Carrington on Dynasty, which lasted for nine seasons. The producers had wanted him to play a J.R. Ewing type of role, but he told them he’d learned that, “When you play a villain, you try to get the light touches; when you play a hero, you try to get in some of the warts.”
When the series was cancelled, viewers didn’t get to see the storylines resolved, causing Forsythe to say, “The way we were cut off was a disgrace.” A reunion movie came several years later but neither viewers nor the actors were all that impressed. Many in the cast returned in 2006 to reminisce about the show for Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar. Forsythe put in a brief appearance.
Forsythe was married three times and had three children with his first two wives. He had a quadruple bypass in 1979, then colorectal cancer in 2006. He’d been battling cancer again over the past year and died yesterday from complications from pneumonia.
Forsythe’s view of life was simple. He once said, “I always said life consists of love and work. I tried to balance it 50-50. And of course, now I’m so happy I did.”
What do you think? What are your favorite memories of John Forsythe’s work? Which do you prefer, Bachelor Father, Charlie’s Angels or Dynasty?