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John Forsythe ( 1918 - )  Category ( Actor_Actress ) [suggest a correction]

John ForsytheMost actors would consider themselves forever blessed to be remembered for a single iconic role. John Forsythe has several.

There was Bachelor Father, a situation comedy in which Forsythe dispensed wise advice and handled crises for the niece he was raising. There was Charlie's Angels, in which he played millionaire/private investigator Charles Townsend, an unseen voice giving instructions and support to his three glamour-girl employees. And finally, and most iconically, there was his eight-year run as Blake Carrington in the hit series, "Dynasty," a juicy role that enabled him to be charming, ruthless and conniving all in the same package.

Whatever role was thrown at Forsythe during his long career, he always managed to pull it off.

Born Jan. 29, 1918 in Penns Grove, NJ., Forsythe entered life as John Lincoln Freud. His father was a businessman on Wall Street during the Depression, and Forsythe grew up in Brooklyn, where he graduated at 14 from Abraham Lincoln High School. In 1936, just 18, he was hired as the announcer at Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers -- an "offstage" assignment that prefaced later "voice-over" turns as Charlie and the longtime commercial voice of Michelob beer (Weekends were made for Midhelob).

Speaking to the faithful at Ebbets Field also convinced Forsythe that he should try acting. His father wasn't so sure.

Forsythe once recalled: "He (his father) said 'I'm one of your biggest fans, John, 'but you just do not look like an actor.' I asked him what an actor looked like. His reply was one I'll never forget: 'They're jaunty, flamboyant. They've got deep voices. And you don't dress like an actor. You don't wear your coat over your shoulders and have your hat tipped.'"

Nevertheless, Forsythe moved to Hollywood anyway and found a few bit roles (and his first wife, Parker McCormick) before enlisting in the military for World War II. He and McCormick were divorced in 1943 -- the same year their first child was born -- and Forsythe soon married Julie Warren, a union that was to last for 51 years.

After the war, Forsythe joined Marlon Brando, Julie Harris and others in the Actors Studio. He also worked on Broadway, most notably as the lead in Teahouse of the August Moon.

Never pushy but always affable, Forsythe made the acquaintance of Alfred Hitchcock in the early 1950s, and was cast in several of the suspense master's films. In The Trouble with Harry, his co-star was a young Shirley MacLaine.

Forsythe came somewhat late to television, but Bachelor Father brought him into millions of livingrooms and opened the door to his later roles.

At the peak of his success with "Dynasty," Forsythe said in an interview: "I am enjoying great success at an advanced age. And I get to work with some of the most talented, most beautiful pepole on television," he said. "There isn't a moment that I couldn't fill with some meaningful activity if I wanted to keep busy all the time. I get to indulge some favorite pastimes, such as travel, tennis and raising horses. Really it does seem that nothing, nothing at all is missing in this life of mine."

That life took a few dark turns thereafter, however. Forsythe underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1979,suffered a bout of depression, and lost his wife in 1994 when she experienced breathing problems and never came out of a coma. In 2002, he married Nicole Carter, 22 years younger.

Most recently, Forsythe has been fighting colorectal cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 2006.

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