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Closing Credits: John Forsythe

JohnForsythe.jpgThe actor known for his leading role in the long running series Dynasty and his unmistakable voice from Charlie's Angels, died on April 1st aged ninety-two.

John Forsythe is instantly recognisable both by face and by voice, and although his acting was not critically acclaimed in film, he starred next to some big names, and led some great Broadway and television shows.

As the lead of the television series Dynasty, he was internationally known and gained perhaps the most fame of his entire career, or perhaps not, for his voice may well have been more widely known and recognised as the reclusive Charlie of Charlie's Angels, the man always to be heard but never seen, whom he went on to play for the two film versions in 2000 and 2003, his final film roles.

Of that television voice role he reveals that the casting was last minute, and he turned up to the late night session rather unsuitably dressed:

”I didn't even take my pyjamas off – I just put on my topcoat and drove over to Fox. When it was finished, Aaron said, 'That's perfect.' And I went home and went back to bed.”

He did appear in many films, but his career was mainly focused on television and stage. His first film roles were in Destination Tokyo starring Cary Grant and in Northern Pursuit starring Errol Flynn, roles that came after his Broadway debut in Winged Victory, all in 1943.

The Guardian tells us more about his more famous stage roles, in 1947 starring in Arthur Miller's first produced play All My Sons, in 1950 taking over Henry Fonda's leading role in Mister Roberts, and in 1953 leading The Teahouse of the August Moon, which was made into a film and starred Glenn Ford in the leading role.

Film wise his appearances were brief. Robert Wise's The Captive City in 1952; John Sturges's Escape from Fort Bravo in 1953; In Cold Blood in 1967, the film adapted from the Truman Capote novel; The Happy Ending in 1969 co-starring with Jean Simmons, and two roles for Alfred Hitchcock, The Trouble With Harry in 1955 and Topaz in 1969.

It was his voice that led me to recognise him the first time I watched the superb Scrooged, he was the ghost of Bill Murray's character's boss, remember the golf playing, whisky drinking rotted character? That's a voice you cannot forget, and a great role too.

Television seemed to be where he was more critically accepted though, and he starred in a number of well received shows, not just Dynasty and Charlie's Angels, but also Bachelor Father which ran for five years and one hundred and fifty-seven episodes, and The John Forsythe Show where he played a retired Air Force Major who inherits a school for girls.

John Forsythe has a more recognisable face and voice than many great stars of film and television, and many will remember both from Dynasty and Charlie's Angels as well as his Broadway career.

However after he retired from stage and both screens, he worked with the United Nations Association, the American National Theatre and Academy, and the American Cancer Society, and I'm sure many will know him for the things he's achieved outside of film.

As always, our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Broadway, Television and Film Actor
John Forsythe



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