Robert Forster, star of Jackie Brown and Twin Peaks, died Friday aged 78. Forster most recently reprised his Breaking Bad role as Ed Galbraith, a professional disappearer who doubles as a vacuum salesman, in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, premiered on Netflix Friday. Forster’s publicist told The Hollywood Reporter the star died at his home in Los Angeles from brain cancer.
Forster was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role on behalf of the Quentin Tarantino-directed Jackie Brown, where Forster played bail bondsman Max Cherry. Forster later credited Tarantino with reviving his career.
“Years had gone by and I ran into him in a coffee shop. By then my career was really, really dead,” Forster told Fandor in 2018. “And we blah-blah’d for a few minutes, and then six months later he showed up at the same coffee shop with a script in his hands and handed it to me.”
“When I read it I could hardly believe that he had me in mind for Max Cherry, except that nothing else made any sense. So when I asked him about it, he said, ‘Yes, it’s Max Cherry that I wrote for you,’” Forster continued. “That’s when I said to him, ‘I’m sure they’re not going to let you hire me.’ He said, ‘I hire anybody I want.’ And that’s when I realized I was going to get another shot at a career.”
In 2013, Forster appeared in the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad as the gruff, no-nonsense Ed. A consummate professional, Ed hid meth-making fugitive Walter White (Bryan Cranston) when the drug kingpin was forced to flee New Mexico. In El Camino, the wanted Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), White’s former drug-dealing associate, is forced to seek out Ed’s services amid a state-wide manhunt.
Like Jackie Brown, his role in the hit Breaking Bad “came out of left field.”
“I got a call from my agent. They said somebody’s going to call you from Breaking Bad. It was [producer] Peter Gould and [series creator Vince Gilligan],” Forster told THR in 2013. “I got on my phone with them, and they were totally generous with me. They said they’d always liked what I did in Jackie Brown, and they had a character. He’s been referred to as the disappearer. They said in their own private conversations they had used my name and asked if I was available. They could not have been nicer to me. What good guys.”
After reflecting on appearing opposite a “wonderfully written character” in Cranston’s lone and cancer-stricken Walter White, Forster said, “I always remind people if the material was as good as this was or Jackie Brown or The Descendants for that matter, then the actor can’t be bad. They gave me a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to show up in their fabulous show and hit one long.”1comments
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is now streaming on Netflix.
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