Arthur Forrest, a television legend with a 75-year career that covered long-running hits such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and “That’s Incredible!,” died on Oct. 25. He was 95.
Marcy Forrest, Arthur’s wife, confirmed the death to Variety.
Born in 1926 in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx as a first-generation American, Forrest completed his education at NYU and landed a job at DuMont Network’s studio as a janitor. After learning the business, Forrest went from janitor to page, from page to studio assistant, all the way up to the cameraman on “The Honeymooners” and “Captain Video.”
After leaving DuMont and working for New York’s Channel 5, Forrest directed the popular children’s show, “Wonderama,” and stayed at the station until 1973, when he left to direct the late night “Dick Cavett Show.”
Moving to Los Angeles in 1975, Forrest established himself in the world of live television, finding success with ABC’s reality show “That’s Incredible!” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” along with game shows like “The Money Maze” and “Matchmaker.” Forrest also won Emmy awards for his direction on the daytime talk show “Leeza” and later, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”
Forrest also produced and directed Jerry Lewis’ nationally-syndicated “Labor Day Telethon” for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for more than forty years. The long-running variety show featured events such as the live reunion of Dean Martin and Lewis, which Frank Sinatra and Forrest had secretly arranged. Forrest’s wife, Marcy, was the talent coordinator who was the creative force around many memorable segments.
Forrest also worked on the annual “Tournament of the Roses Parade” on NBC, which he directed from 1977 to 2017. Forrest was awarded his third Emmy Award for his work on the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” He retired from show business at the age of 90 in 2017, having accrued a DGA nomination, 17 Emmy nominations and three Emmy awards over his career.
Forrest is survived by his wife, Marcy; their children, Zak and Nicole; his son-in-law, Steve Byers; his grandchildren, Max and Dahlia; his son from a previous marriage, Richard Forrest and his step-son, Kyle Cascioli.