Oscar-nominated Jackie Brown and Breaking Bad star Robert Forster dies at 78 after brief battle with brain cancer, as Samuel L. Jackson leads the tributes and calls him 'a class act'

  • Robert Forster passed away in his Los Angeles home at the age of 78 
  • He most recently reprised his role from Breaking Bad in spinoff film El Camino 
  • His five-decade career in Hollywood spanned more than 110 movies 
  • Bryan Cranston and Samuel L. Jackson paid tribute to Forster on Twitter 

Robert Forster, the Oscar-nominated actor who most recently reprised his Breaking Bad role in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, has passed away at the age of 78.

Forster died at his home in Los Angeles on Friday - just hours after El Camino premiered in theaters and on Netflix - after a brief battle with brain cancer.

The one-time leading man, whose five-decade career in Hollywood dated back to the late 1960s, appeared in more than 110 films and dozens of televisions series.

RIP: Robert Forster passed away at his home in Los Angeles on Friday following a brief battle with brain cancer at the age of 78

RIP: Robert Forster passed away at his home in Los Angeles on Friday following a brief battle with brain cancer at the age of 78

The Rochester born actor launched his film career alongside heavyweight stars Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in John Huston's Reflections In A Golden Eye (1967).

Forster would go on to star in Haskell Wexler's documentary-style Chicago classic 'Medium Cool' and the detective television series 'Banyon.'

It was an early high point that he would later say was the beginning of a '27-year slump'.

He worked consistently throughout the 1970s and 1980s in mostly forgettable B-movies - ultimately appearing in over 100 films, many out of necessity.

Steady: The actor, whose resume dates back five decades, has credited Quentin Tarantino for reviving his career when the famed writer-director cast him as Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997); Forster's performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor

Steady: The actor, whose resume dates back five decades, has credited Quentin Tarantino for reviving his career when the famed writer-director cast him as Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997); Forster's performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor

Pictured in 2004
Forster in Jackie Brown

With his chiseled good looks and steady, no-nonsense acting chops, Forster (left in 2004 and right in Jackie Brown) would bounce back between films and gust starring roles on television throughout his entire career

'I went 21 months without a job. I had four kids, I took any job I could get,' Forster told the Chicago Tribune in 2018.

'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 through the cracks.'

What did Forster's famous co-stars say about him?

Bryan Cranston called Forster a 'lovely man and a consummate actor' in a tweet.

The two met on the 1980 film 'Alligator' and then worked together again on the television show 'Breaking Bad' and its spinoff film, 'El Camino,' which launched Friday on Netflix.

'I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid just starting out in Hollywood,' Cranston wrote.

His 'Jackie Brown' co-star Samuel L. Jackson tweeted that Forster was 'truly a class act/Actor!!'

With his chiseled good looks and steady, no-nonsense acting chops, Forster would bounce back between films and gust starring roles on television throughout his entire career.

Forster has publicly credited Quentin Tarantino for reviving his career when the famed writer-director cast him as bail bondsman Max Cherry in his much acclaimed ode to 1970s blaxploitation films -- Jackie Brown (1997).

That performance, alongside Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson, earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

He ultimately lost the golden statuette to Robin Williams, who won that year for Good Will Hunting.

Tarantino created the role of Max Cherry with Forster in mind - the actor had unsuccessfully auditioned for a part in 'Reservoir Dogs,' but the director promised not to forget him.

In an interview with Fandor last year, Forster recalled that when presented with the script for 'Jackie Brown,' he told Tarantino, 'I'm sure they're not going to let you hire me.'

Tarantino replied: 'I hire anybody I want.'

'And that's when I realized I was going to get another shot at a career,' Forster said. 'He gave me a career back and the last 14 years have been fabulous.'   

Memorable: Many fans also know Forster for his Breaking Bad and El Camino role as Ed Galbraith, the vacuum salesman who specializes in relocating criminals running from the law; he is pictured with Break Bad star actor Bryan Cranston (Walter White) in a 2013 episode

Memorable: Many fans also know Forster for his Breaking Bad and El Camino role as Ed Galbraith, the vacuum salesman who specializes in relocating criminals running from the law; he is pictured with Break Bad star actor Bryan Cranston (Walter White) in a 2013 episode

Cranston paid tribute to Forster on Twitter, calling him a 'lovely man and consummate actor'

Cranston paid tribute to Forster on Twitter, calling him a 'lovely man and consummate actor'

Jackie Brown would open the floodgates to a bevy of roles in such movies as Psycho (1998), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), Mulholland Dr. (2001), Human Nature (2001), Like Mike (2002), Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Firewall (2006), Lucky Number Slevin (2006) and The Descendants (2011).

He'll also appear later this year in the Steven Spielberg-produced Apple+ series 'Amazing Stories.'

Even in his down days, Forster always considered himself lucky.

'You learn to take whatever jobs there are and make the best you can out of whatever you've got. And anyone in any walk of life, if they can figure that out, has a lot better finish than those who cannot stand to take a picture that doesn't pay you as much or isn't as good as the last one,' he told IndieWire in 2011. 'Attitude is everything.'

Many fans also know him for his Breaking Bad role as Ed Galbraith, the vacuum salesman who specializes in relocating criminals running from the law, and giving them new identities.

He will be missed: Forster is survived by his four children, four grandchildren and his longtime partner, Denise Grayson

He will be missed: Forster is survived by his four children, four grandchildren and his longtime partner, Denise Grayson

He reprised the character to perfection in the newly released Breaking Bad sequel movie, El Camino.

Condolences poured in Friday night on social media.

Bryan Cranston called Forster a 'lovely man and a consummate actor' in a tweet. The two met on the 1980 film 'Alligator' and then worked together again on the television show 'Breaking Bad' and its spinoff film, 'El Camino,' which launched Friday on Netflix.

'I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid just starting out in Hollywood,' Cranston wrote.

His 'Jackie Brown' co-star Samuel L. Jackson tweeted that Forster was 'truly a class act/Actor!!'

Forster is survived by his four children, four grandchildren and his longtime partner, Denise Grayson.

His Jackie Brown performance (pictured), alongside Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson (right), earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor

His Jackie Brown performance (pictured), alongside Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson (right), earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor

Forster's co-star in Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson, called him a 'truly class act'

Forster's co-star in Jackie Brown, Samuel L. Jackson, called him a 'truly class act'

Breaking Bad and Jackie Brown star Robert Forster dies at 78 after brief battle with brain cancer

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