Frederic Forrest, the character actor known for his roles in The Rose, Apocalypse Now, and several other Francis Ford Coppola films, has died at 86. Friend and fellow actor Barry Primus told The Hollywood Reporter he passed at his home in Santa Monica after a long illness.
Born on December 23rd, 1936 in Waxahachie, Texas, Forrest served in the Army and studied radio and television studies and theater arts at Texas Christian University before beginning his acting career. In 1966, he appeared in an off-Broadway production of Viet Rock, while he made his film debut in 1972’s When the Legends Die, for which he was nominated for the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.
In 1979, Forrest appeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War epic, Apocalypse Now. He portrayed Jay “Chef” Hicks, an aspiring chef from New Orleans who ends up getting drafted. The role made him a favorite of Coppola, who went on to cast him in 1974’s The Conversation, 1982’s One from the Heart and Hammett, and 1988’s Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
Apart from Apocalypse Now, Forrest’s other most memorable role came in 1979’s The Rose, starring Bette Midler in her feature film debut. In the film, Midler portrayed a Janis Joplin type — a rock star with addiction problems — while Forrest portrayed her limo driver, who tried to keep her alive. He was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for the role.
Before retiring in 2006, Forrest appeared in the likes of Quo Vadis?, Lonesome Dove, and Die Kinder. He also portrayed Captain Richard Jenkins in the early episodes of Twenty One Jump Street before being replaced by Steven Williams. His final film was the 2006 remake of All the King’s Men, which starred Sean Penn and Jude Law.
After Forrest’s passing, Midler honored her co-star on Twitter, calling him “a remarkable actor, and a brilliant human being.” “I was lucky to have him in my life,” she said. “He was at peace.”
The great and beloved Frederic Forrest has died. Thank you to all of his fans and friends for all their support these last few months. He was a remarkable actor, and a brilliant human being, and I was lucky to have him in my life. He was at peace.”— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) June 24, 2023