Frederic Forrest, a character actor who had a memorable role in 1979’s “Apocalypse Now” and earned an Oscar nomination for “The Rose” in the same year, died Friday, June 23 in Santa Monica. He was 86.
Forrest’s death was confirmed by his sister, Ginger Jackson. It was first reported by his “Rose” co-star Bette Midler, who paid tribute to the actor on Twitter.
“The great and beloved Frederic Forrest has died,” Midler wrote. “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.”
As Jay “Chef” Hicks in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” Forrestt played the tightly-wound former New Orleans chef on the river patrol boat who raves “I didn’t come here for this, I don’t fucking need this, all I wanted to do is fucking cook” before later getting beheaded.
Coppola also cast him in “One From the Heart,” “The Conversation,” “Hammett” and “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” Forrest’s titular conversation with Cindy Williams in “The Conversation” is recorded by Gene Hackman, and his voice is heard throughout the film.
“Freddie Forrest was a sweet, much beloved person, a wonderful actor and a good friend,” Coppola wrote in a statement regarding Forrest’s death. “His loss is heartbreaking to me.”
In “Falling Down,” Forrest played the white supremacist Army surplus store owner who gets killed by Michael Douglas’ Foster. He also appeared in “The Missouri Breaks,” “The Two Jakes,” “Point Blank” and “Valley Girl,” as well as in Dario Argento’s first American film, “Trauma.”
In television, he appeared in miniseries “Lonesome Dove” and “Quo Vadis” and in the “21 Jump Street” series.
Born Dec. 23, 1936 in Waxahachie, Texas, Forrest studied at Texas Christian University and later received the distinguished alumni award. He then worked under Sanford Meisner and started out acting onstage, with a role in the off-Broadway show “Viet Rock.” He moved to Hollywood and his first screen role, in “When the Legends Die,” earned him a 1973 Golden Globe nomination for most promising newcomer.
Forrest is survived by his sister, Ginger Forrest Jackson, and her husband, David; nephew and niece, Forrest Allen Jackson and Sally Jackson Brezic, as well as Jackson Galbraith, Leah Jackson and Helen Sanders of Los Angeles. He is predeceased by nephew, David Lee Jackson.
He was married twice, the second time to Marilu Henner. They divorced in 1983.