John Forsythe Biography

Film Actor, Television Actor, Theater Actor, Actor (1918–2010)
John Forsythe was a theater, film and TV actor. He won Golden Globes for playing Blake Carrington in Aaron Spelling’s long-running prime-time drama Dynasty.


John Forsythe was born on January 29, 1918, in Penns Grove, New Jersey. He became nationally known in the late 1950s for the acclaimed TV series Bachelor Father. The series was canceled in 1962, at which time he concentrated on film. During the early 1970s, he was featured in made-for-TV movies. In 1981, he landed the part of Blake on Dynasty. In 2000 he reprised his role in Charlie's Angels.

Acting Debut

Actor John Forsyth was born John Lincoln Freund on January 29, 1918, in Penns Grove, New Jersey. The eldest son of Sam and Blanche Freund, John briefly attended the University of North Carolina before leaving academia to work as a baseball announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Billed as John Forsythe, he appeared in regional plays before making his Broadway debut as Private Cootes in Vickie (1942). The following year, he moved to Hollywood, where he landed supporting roles in the action features Northern Pursuit and Destination Tokyo. While struggling to find suitable film parts, Forsythe studied at the famed Actors Studio, graduating with the school's first commencement class in 1947.

Breakthrough Role

In 1950, Forsythe’s big break came when he replaced Henry Fonda on Broadway in the title role of Mister Roberts. He continued to make his mark as an actor in such films as Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry (1955) and the romantic drama The Ambassador’s Daughter (1956).

Forsythe became nationally known in the late 1950s as the playboy lawyer, Bentley Gregg, in the acclaimed TV series Bachelor Father (1957). After six successful seasons, the series was cancelled in 1962, at which time Forsythe concentrated on film projects. He headlined the campy drama Kitten with a Whip (1964) with Ann-Margret, as well as the highly anticipated film adaptation of Truman Capote's book In Cold Blood (1967). In 1969, Forsythe reunited with Hitchcock in the spy film Topaz.


During the early 1970s, Forsythe was featured in a succession of mediocre made-for-TV movies, including Murder Once Removed (1971) and Terror on the 40th Floor (1974). In 1976, producer Aaron Spelling cast Forsythe as the voice of Charlie Townsend in the widely popular TV series Charlie’s Angels, which starred Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd and Jaclyn Smith. While working on Charlie’s Angels, Forsythe continued to appear in television movies, including The Feather and Father Gang (1977), With This Ring (1978) and ...And Justice For All (1979).

Under the recommendation of Spelling, Forsythe landed the part of debonair businessman Blake Carrington in the long-running primetime drama Dynasty (1981-'89). Throughout the 1980s, Dynasty -- as well as Forsythe's patriarchal character -- became a significant icon with the American public. Forsythe won back-to-back Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Television Series in 1982 and 1983. In 1985, he became a spokesperson for the successful men's cologne line Carrington.

Later Roles

Most recently, Forsythe reprised his role as the enigmatic Charlie in the feature film Charlie's Angels (2000), which starred Drew Barrymore, Lucy Lui and Cameron Diaz.

Personal Life and Death

Forsythe married actress Julie Warren in 1943. The couple had two daughters before Warren’s death in 1994. In 2002, at age 84, he married businesswoman Nicole Carter in a small, private ceremony.

John Forsythe died April 1, 2010, of pneumonia in Santa Ynez, California.

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