John Forsythe, known for his rich booming voice and TV roles on “Dynasty” and “Bachelor Father,” died Thursday in Santa Ynez, Calif., of complications from pneumonia. He was 92.
His long association with Aaron Spelling started as the voice of Charlie in “Charlie’s Angels” and continued with nighttime soap “Dynasty.”
As the ruthless oil magnate Blake Carrington on ABC’s “Dynasty” from 1981 to 1988, Forsythe, with his shock of white hair, was Emmy-nommed three times and won two Golden Globes. He wasn’t the original choice for the role of Carrington, but when George Peppard ankled a week into production, Forsythe auditioned and won the role.
“He was a good friend to Aaron and me and despite his matinee star good looks was as humble and down to earth as could be,” Spelling’s widow, Candy, said in a statement. “He always laughed about having to take a back seat to Farrah’s (Fawcett) hair.”
The son of a Wall Street businessman, Forsythe attended the U. of North Carolina and then headed to New York where he worked as a radio actor and then a field announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Soon after, he auditioned for Lee Strasberg and became one of the founding members of the Actors Studio. He appeared in live TV shows such as “Studio One” and “Kraft Theater” and “What Makes Sammy Run?”
His Broadway appearances in “Vickie” and “Yankee Point” led to a motion picture contract with Warner Bros. and his Hollywood debut with Cary Grant in “Destination Tokyo.”
After enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, the handsome thesp was cast in “Winged Victory,” Moss Hart’s all-service Broadway tuner. From there he went on to starring roles in such Broadway productions as “Yellowjack,” “It Takes Two,” “All My Sons,” “Mr. Roberts,” the Pulitzer winning “Teahouse of the August Moon” and Gore Vidal’s “Weekend.”
On film, he appeared in the Henry Fonda-directed “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” Robert Wise’s “Captive City,” “It Happens Every Thursday” with Loretta Young, “The Glass Web” and two Alfred Hitchcock films, “The Trouble With Harry” and “Topaz.” He also starred in “The Ambassador’s Daughter,” “Madame X,” Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” “The Happy Ending,” “And Justice for All” and “Scrooged.”
In addition to “Bachelor Father,” which ran on CBS from 1957 to 1962, his TV roles included “The John Forsythe Show,” “To Rome With Love,” and “The Powers That Be.”
His “Dynasty” co-star Joan Collins said in a statement. “He was one of the last of the true gentlemen of the acting profession. I enjoyed our nine years of feuding, fussing and fighting as the Carringtons and I was so glad to have the chance to reunite with him a few years ago on the ‘Dynasty’ reunion.”
Off the screen he was a spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund, and owned and bred thoroughbred horses.
Married three times, briefly to Parker McCormick, then to Julie Warren until her death in 1994, survivors include his third wife, Nicole; a son, two daughters, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.