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April 02, 2010

Award-Winning Actor John Forsythe Dies

While Forsythe is the voice of "Charlie" in the original television series Charlie's Angels and the two Charlie's feature films, many recognize his face as that of Dynasty's Blake Carrington, ruthless Denver oil magnate.

Actor John Forsythe, 92, died yesterday, due to complications from pneumonia and following a year-long struggle with cancer, a family spokesperson said. (Pictured left as "Blake Carrington," his long-time, award-winning role on hugely successful primetime drama Dynasty.)

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations to the American Cancer Society. There will be no public service.

New Jersey-born John Forsythe, attended the University of North Carolina, and then moved to New York City where he began his career as a radio actor, then as the field announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbet's Field. Soon after, he auditioned for Lee Strasburg and became one of the original-founding members of the prestigious Actors Studio.

While still in New York, Forsythe participated in many of the notable live television shows, including Studio One, Philco Playhouse, Kraft Theatre and Robert Montgomery Presents including the award winning and very controversial, What Makes Sammy Run? His first Broadway appearances in Vickie and Yankee Point led to a motion picture contract with Warner Bros. and his Hollywood debut with Cary Grant in Destination Tokyo.

After enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Forsythe was selected for the cast of Winged Victory, Moss Hart's all service Broadway stage musical. From there he went on to starring roles in such notable Broadway productions including All My Sons, the Pulitzer Prize winning Teahouse of the August Moon and Gore Vidal's Weekend. And many years later in Los Angeles, he starred in The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, directed by Henry Fonda.

Upon moving to Los Angeles, Forsythe began receiving the first of numerous Emmy nominations while starring in the television series Bachelor Father from 1957 to 1962. At the same time, he continued to work in feature films, including Robert Wise's Captive City, It Happens Every Thursday with Loretta Young and two Alfred Hitchcock films, The Trouble with Harry and Topaz. He also starred in Madame X, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and Scrooged, among others.

His long personal and professional association with Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg included the voice of "Charlie" in the original television series Charlie's Angels and the two feature films, Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Another Spelling/Goldberg project resulted in John Forsythe's portrayal of "Blake Carrington," the ruthless Denver oil magnate entrepreneur in Dynasty which won him critical acclaim as well as numerous Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor and People's Choice Awards.

Forsythe had a distinguished list of credits from virtually every venue in the entertainment industry and his career prospered for over six decades.

His hundreds of television appearances included hosting numerous Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and People's Choice Awards telecasts and serving as the master of ceremonies for various television shows, including the prestigious 1986 Christmas in Washington special and for the George Burns: 80 Years in Show Business special.

Over the years, Forsythe starred in numerous Hallmark Hall of Fame television films, including Amelia Earhart, Opposites Attract and On Fire, for which he also served as executive producer. Over the years, he made numerous guest-starring appearances on such shows as The Jack Benny Show and The Twilight Zone, just to name a few. He was also the host of the syndicated nature series World of Survival, which ran for an amazing fourteen years.

In addition, Forsythe earned his nice-guy image via such memorable starring roles in his various television series, Bachelor Father, The John Forsythe Show and more.

Forsythe also served as executive producer, director and host-narrator of a one-hour film documentary on the life and career of legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker entitled Nice Guys Finish First, narrated numerous other nonfiction productions, and voiced numerous characters for various PBS children's shows.

Mr. Forsythe was actively interested in ecology, and was a spokesperson and sponsor of the World Wildlife Fund. He supported the American Cancer Society and the United Nations Association.

One of his life's greatest passions was owning, breeding and racing his thoroughbred horses. He served as vice president of Hollywood Park Racetrack in Los Angeles for four years and as a member of its Board of Directors for eleven years. Forsythe hosted the prestigious Eclipse Awards every year for many years as well.

John Forsythe was married three times — to Parker McCormick (1938-1940), then to Julie Warren (1943 until her death in 1994) and most recently to Nicole Carter-Forsythe (2002 to present). He is survived by his beloved family including his wife, Nicole, his son and daughter-in-law, Dall and Ana Marie Forsythe, his two grown daughters, Page Courtemanche and Brooke Forsythe as well as six grandchildren (Deborah, Susanna, Raquel, Juliana, Alexandra and John) and five great-grandchildren.

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