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'Jackie Brown' and 'El Camino' Star Robert Forster Has Died

Gabrielle Bruney
Photo credit: Jason LaVeris - Getty Images

From Esquire

Robert Forster, who earned an Oscar Nomination for his role as Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, and later appeared in Breaking Bad and its sequel film, El Camino, died of brain cancer Friday. The veteran actor was 78 years old.

In a career that spanned more than half a century, Forster made appearances in over 100 films, including 1969’s Medium Cool, 2001’s Mulholland Drive, and 2011’s The Descendants. In the wake of his death, former co-stars including Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, and Samuel L. Jackson took to social media to remember the late actor.

After landing leading man roles in the late sixties and early seventies, his career hit its lowest ebb in the nineties, which found him appearing in direct-to-video B-movies. "I went 21 months without a job," Forster told The Chicago Tribune last year. "I had four kids, I took any job I could get."

"My career went like this for five years," he told The Tribune, illustrating with an upward tilt of his hand, before turning it downward, "and then like that for 27. Every time it reached a lower level I thought I could tolerate, it dropped some more, and then some more. Near the end I had no agent, no manager, no lawyer, no nothing. I was taking whatever fell though the cracks."

But that changed when Quentin Tarantino cast him in 1997’s Jackie Brown, which found Forster playing bail bondsman Max Cherry. The role revitalized his career, and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor—the film’s sole Oscar nod.

In recent years, Forster appeared in the 2017 reboot of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and had a recurring role on NBC’s Last Man Standing. He also appeared in Breaking Bad’s fifth season as Ed Galbraith, a vacuum cleaner repairman and “disappearer.” He reprised the role in the series’ film sequel El Camino, which was released on the day of his death.

In a 2000 A.V. Club interview, Forster shared some advice that he learned during his careers’s lean years. "I had an epiphany during that period," said Forster, "When you realize, 'You know what? You're not dead yet, Bob. You can win it in the late innings. You've still got the late innings, but you can't quit.’"

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