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William Forsythe Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 7 June 1955Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Nickname Bill
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Dynamically entertaining heavyset US actor with piercing eyes, William Forsythe has a superb talent for playing some truly unlikeable and downright nasty characters that dominate the films in which he appears! If you're cast as the "hero" against Forsythe's "villain", then you have your work cut out for you, as Forsthye's raw energy and menace on screen is second to none. He started out in a couple of minor film roles and guest appearance's in high-rated TV shows including CHiPs (1977), Hill Street Blues (1981) and T.J. Hooker (1982). He quickly moved into high-quality feature films, including playing a small-time hoodlum in Once Upon a Time in America (1984), an hilariously funny performance as a bumbling jail escapee alongside John Goodman in the knockout Raising Arizona (1987) and as a renegade soldier in Extreme Prejudice (1987).

The energetic Forsythe portrayed comic book villain "Flattop" in Dick Tracy (1990), was foolish enough to tangle with vengeful cop Steven Seagal in the hyper-violent Out for Justice (1991) and locked horns with ex-NFL linebacker Brian Bosworth in the biker action film Stone Cold (1991). With his expertise in playing icy villains, Forsythe was perfect to portray Prohibition mobster Al Capone in the short-lived '90s revival of the classic '60s crime show, The Untouchables (1993), and he continued the motif of playing edgy, nefarious individuals in the thought-provoking The Waterdance (1992), the oily film noir piece Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995), as real-life mobster Sammy Gravano, aka "The Bull", in Gotti (1996) and supporting another ex-NFL player's foray into film acting, when L.A. Raider Howie Long debuted in Firestorm (1998).

Forsythe has remained perpetually busy in the new century with a plethora of feature film, telemovie and TV series appearances, and developing a minor cult following amongst film fans for his attention grabbing dramatic skills - check out his performances in City by the Sea (2002), The Devil's Rejects (2005) and Halloween (2007).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (1)

Melody Munyon (? - ?) (divorced) (3 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Deep Authorative Voice
Frequently plays tough Criminals or Law enforcement officers

Trivia (10)

Studied acting at The Beverly Hills Playhouse.
Was in the alternate ending for Scary Movie 3 (2003) as Cindy's psychiatrist, but was left on the cutting room floor. (The scene is featured on the DVD.)
Began acting at age 10 and made his first acting appearance in the title role of "Julius Ceasar" in a school production at the same age.
Made his professional stage debut at age 16 in NYC.
Has co-starred with two former NFL players in their first starring roles. Brian Bosworth in Stone Cold (1991) and Howie Long in Firestorm (1998).
He has three daughters, Rebecca, born in 1990, Angelica, born in 1992 and another daughter named Chloe, born in 1993.
By age 17, he was appeared in over 40 plays in various dinner theaters, touring companies, stock and repertory before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a film career.
His personal favorite of all his roles is Burt the Booster in Weeds (1987).
He once confessed to disguising himself as a gas company worker and even a singing telegram performer in a gorilla suit to gain entry into casting sessions.
His interest in performing did not fully develop until a teacher forced him to play Caesar in a school production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar.".

Personal Quotes (22)

"I love what I do. And in the true sense, from my training, I try to create a character each time. It is something I do. But I don't want that term to limit what I can do. I prefer people to say to me, "You're one of my favorite actors," rather than "You're one of my favorite character actors." It sounds like a slam. At least it sounds that way to me." - On being referred to as a character actor.
Oh, please, please. I was never a "bad" kid, but I did get into minor juvenile trouble. Look, I grew up in Brooklyn. This was the 60's and the neighborhood was rapidly changing and not without its problems. All the kids of the neighborhood "did their thing," breaking windows and the like. I was no different. I went to Catholic school and there was this teacher, a Brother, who saw I could go either way, good or bad. He took an interest in me and got me to do a play. I got hooked on acting and it gave me something constructive to do. I had a lot of energy. (on his childhood days)
Well, this film came together faster than anything else I think I've ever done. I literally got a phone call at something like 10 o'clock in the morning. I was in New York and I was asleep. My agent said, "I don't know how to say this, but pack your bag. You may be leaving for Bulgaria today. I'm going to get the script over to you right now." So it was a very quick, strange thing. I got the script within the hour and read it. I really like doing science-fiction. I really like it, and it's only in the past couple of years that I've done it. So I said, "OK, Bulgaria. Let's go." That was the quickest decision I've ever made in my life. - On getting his part in SharkMan (2005) .
When I grew into a teenager, I became obsessed with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Cliff, and James Dean. In my late teens, I had already started acting in theater. I walked into a movie theater by accident and saw the movie Mean Streets. I was so moved by it and I had no idea who Robert De Niro or Martin Scorsese were. I left the theater then went back and I got a job as an usher. I worked at the theater until the movie closed, and then I quit. Suddenly I was off in that world, the world of those guys, the guys who are real with very raw work. Those were my biggest influences. I really love Robert Duvall, who I think is maybe the best American actor. I love Robert Duvall because the ability that he has to change and do the most amazing work. You sit and watch Tender Mercies and then you watch Stalin and he has a real amazing power and diversity in his work. I got to work with most of these guys, so it's great. It's a wonderful thing. Al Pacino is one of those guys, as well as Dustin Hoffman. I was drawn to the guys who were just putting it out there and that whole reality thing.
(2010) Al Capone was an amazing example of research. I always loved the story of Al Capone and the Chicago beer wars. I began to do all of this research and actually began to meet all of these people who knew Al personally and people who lived very close to Al. By the time it was over with that I had met over a hundred people that knew Al and everybody liked him. Every single person said that he was a straight-shooter, and a likable guy but he obviously had a problem with betrayal, judging by the baseball bat moment, especially history. He was just a phenomenal character to get into and research. I really had the time of my life playing Capone. If you can imagine, I was living in Chicago for two years, playing Al Capone, so it was like Al was reborn. I don't know, what I have I learned? I learned that my Father gave me something very special, he gave me a sense, a work ethic. A very strong work ethic. It is something that I try and live up to every day. It does not matter what the project, what the film, what the budget, if it is an expensive huge movie or a small film, I always try to do the same job, whatever it is I come in and I gave a hundred percent. I try and do the very best job I can. Sometimes it works, sometimes the film doesn't but I always try my best.
(2010, on role preparation) It really depends what it is, if I do somebody that actually lived I do a complete research, I try to meet and find every person that ever existed that ever knew (the real person) if I can, for other parts you have to create it from scratch, you have to find something like that, something really solid you can get into, and you actually build a character from inside until you find something strong and ready to go, then you add the words.
(On his favorite roles) I'm not sure about favorite. You always have favorites. I loved playing Al Capone. I did a tremendous amount of research and I knew people that knew him very well. I got into a world of research that was fascinating, but there's other characters that have, of course, fit into that. I've done quite a few people who were living, and those are always interesting. You know, when we did Gotti, that was a really interesting piece, but it's hard to say. I mean, when I first started in the business, somebody once told me, "If you're lucky, one out of ten will be something very special." I think it really adds up to be about that. At the end of the day, I've probably done maybe ten or eleven jobs that stand out to me, and just feel like good, powerful pieces. When I did American Me, that was one, because we really created a real world and those are the ones that turn me on. Any time I get involved in something like that, there's commitment. Years ago, when I did Patty Hurst, we all lived for two weeks in an apartment in San Francisco and we trained like the S.L.A. [Simbionese Liberation Army] and those kind of things. When we had that kind of commitment and those characters, they are always the ones that stand out to me because of how far we went to get it. Nowadays, I could get the call at 3:00pm and be there at 6pm, and that's unfortunate because obviously you can't do much prep in three hours.
(On films of today) I started movies in 1980. I don't think anything's changed for the best. When it comes down to certain technologies and certain things that have afforded more people to maybe have a shot at making a movie or something like that, that's good. But you also end up with 50,000 times the amount of bad movies, because now anybody can make a bad movie. There's more opportunity that way. When it comes down to it, I'm always doing it real, real life. Anything that has irony in life is what I'm attracted to. Anything that makes the attempt at being real, I like that. But the whole formula movie and that world, it bores me to tears. I like a good comedy. I like to be scared and I like a good story. To be honest with you, I'm hung up. I can't stop watching black and white movies. I live in a world of Warner Brothers movies and all of that stuff from an older era, and I love them. I still love them. When I look at them, I sometimes think I was born in the wrong time.
(2013, on working with Steven Seagal in Out for Justice) You know, in the beginning, when I first met him, he was, like, "I want to make a movie that's not a martial arts movie." And I've got to tell you, Out for Justice was a great script. It was almost... it reminded me of, like, Mean Streets or something. It had this real quality to it. But, you know, once we started shooting, the nunchucks came out and the world went... You know, he's a great and talented martial artist. It wasn't so easy to do the film. He's rough, you know? He actually had something going that no one else has had since John Wayne. I think he fell off it a little, but he had something very interesting going, a whole audience that loved him for what he was doing. I think it's one of his... if there are two of his films that I think are good ones, that's one of them. And I got to film in Brooklyn, where I grew up, and I got to shoot a guy in front of a place where I used to take my girlfriends for pizza when I was 16. So for me, that was great. That was the first time I'd ever really done a major film in New York, so that was fun for me. I didn't mind Seagal. Actually, there's a part of me that really liked him. But then there's that other side. I felt like he was mad at me because I was doing a good job, if that makes any sense. He walked up to me one day and said, "You know, you really need to work on your Brooklyn accent." I said, "Trust me, you do." And I don't think he liked that. But we made a good movie, and I have to say, it was exciting. I ended up with a cracked tooth from it, though, which I had to deal with afterwards, and it was in a scene that's one of the least likely that you'd think it would've happened. I just got a little extra push, and my face hit a brick wall. I never even said anything about it. I knew it was gone, so I survived the movie and then I had it replaced.
(2013, on Stone Cold) Oh, yeah. Worst script ever written. We had no script. Madness. I just actually saw Lance Henriksen recently, and we laughed, because... basically, I don't think there was one line from the script that we actually said in the movie. We made up our parts, which is why, I think, it has this cult life. Lance and I, we're shocked to this day, because we were making this film, but... you know, we really didn't have anything in it other than what we were doing. It's shocking, when I go to a convention, how many people come up to me and talk about the film. So it's a cult movie. But, hey, Ice, it's my only Viking funeral ever. It was a wild time, because I did that movie and Out For Justice back to back. When I was playing Ice, I had to have the strength; I had to get big, so I was lifting weights and everything. I wanted to look like the real enforcer of a gang that we were working with, and by the time I started filming, we looked like brothers. We looked like a pair of bookends. So I accomplished it.
(2013) Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead is one of the most underrated films. There were even different cuts of it. A wonderful film. A film with its own language and... originally the writer wrote a part in that movie, Critical Bill, for me. It was purposely written for me to play Critical Bill, who, of course, had the greatest entrance in movie history, beating a dead body. But when I read it, I said, "I don't want to play Critical Bill. I want to play this one." And they were, like, "Uh, really?" But there was this amazing speech that had to do with kids and had to do with life, and... the speech was just amazing. So I did it. I even got a call from the Weinsteins to my agent saying that people were crying, weeping because of it. And then the next day, they cut it out of the movie. The whole reason I wanted to do the movie in the first place, completely cut out of it. Unbelievable.
(2013, on Smokey Bites the Dust) That was an interesting time in my life. I mean, I was just starting and... I think that was my second movie. And it was a Roger Corman-produced film, so I have my Roger Corman rite of passage. Everyone from my time, and a little before and after, stepped through Roger Corman's world. I'll tell you the funniest moment of that movie. You know, it's a goofy film. I'm in a football uniform chasing my girlfriend, and suddenly the assistant director and the stunt coordinator come up to me and say, "You need to put this hat on." And I looked at it, and... it looked like one of those knit hats you put on a roll of toilet paper. And I was, like, "What? Why?" He said, "Look, I'm just going to be honest with you: Roger bought all of this footage of a guy in a truck wearing a football uniform, and he's wearing this hat, and the truck crashes and... basically, that's probably one of the reasons we're making this movie. So just put the hat on and shut up." So in the middle of the film, I'm going, "I'm coming, baby, I'm coming!" And I pull the knit hat out, I put it on, and away we go. It's just one of those moments. What can I say? I was young, and I was happy to have the work.
(2013, on Boardwalk Empire) Loved it. I really enjoyed my stint on Boardwalk. The first season I did it, he was... I mean, he's a beautiful character. I just love that this man, this mensch, this blue-collar working man who, like many people during Prohibition, found himself in business. I loved the character. It's interesting because people are, like, "Oh, he's so this and so that... " I said, "Until he killed [Angela and Louise], he wasn't the bad guy in that scenario. They were the ones who were fucking him. All he did was basically try to get his money and deal with it." It's really interesting. And watching audiences' reactions to it was amazing. I loved Boardwalk. I loved doing it, I loved what I did on it, and my hat's off to them. I wish every show paid attention to quality like they do.
(2013) Extreme Prejudice is the last of the Mohicans. I don't think we'll ever see a film made like that again. It's Walter Hill's homage to Sam Peckinpah, and it's just a gathering of some really amazing actors, heavyweights. Just to make a piece like that, something that just had this feeling of something long gone by... we'll never see it again. But it was just a blast creating Buck Atwater, and then you had all these guys who are really nice, who are just one tick off-course in the world, so their causes are no longer clear. It was amazingly great working with all those actors. But it ended up being the only film I did with Walter Hill, and, to be honest, I thought I'd end up making a slew of movies with him. I loved working with him, and we got along great. Who knows? Maybe we'll still get to work together again.
(2013, on Raising Arizona) Oh, boy. That was a blast. We all just took off for Arizona. It was really hard to keep a straight face on that film, it was so much fun. But it's a masterpiece. It's the only film I've ever done with the Coen brothers, but I'm glad I did it, because to this day it's still funny. The Snoats brothers are funny, but everybody in the movie is funny. A lot of times films don't hold up, especially comedies, I think, but that film could've been made yesterday. The only thing it's missing is cell phones.
(2013, on The Waterdance) Bloss was an amazing character. What was very interesting about Bloss was that he was the type of character that you really feel is not going to survive, that he's not going to make it, but he ends up being the person who has the largest arc, who finds acceptance and puts it together. Yeah, he's obnoxious. He's a self-centered little bully on a wheelchair. But he ends up having an epiphany, and... it's just a beautiful character in a beautiful film. The Waterdance was made for all the right reasons. Everybody that was involved in the film gave it their all. To this day, I still think it was Wesley Snipes' best work, and I wish that, when he comes back, he'd sit down and focus on that, because he had such heart. And then there was Eric [Stoltz] and Helen [Hunt] and... really, this cast was just amazing. And so was our director, Neal Jimenez. It's one of those films that, when it's over, you're happy that you made it forever. We were all living in wheelchairs to various degrees, going everywhere in wheelchairs. It was very interesting seeing that perspective, seeing it from that point of view.
(2013, on the edited, American cut of Once Upon a Time in America) Well, we all hated it, but it broke Sergio's heart. I mean, the only European director in history who made movies about America, and what did they do? They brought in the editor of Police Academy [Zach Staenberg] to butcher his movie because the company was afraid. So they put out a two-hour-and-20-minute version that feels longer than the five-hour version because it makes no sense. It was terrible. And can you imagine? I waited two years for it to come out, thinking it was going to be the break of a lifetime, and then when it came out, they put out that version, and it opened to a sleepy audience. Worldwide it's one of the biggest movies in history, and in America it's a cult film. Everywhere else I went I was treated like the president, but not here. It's so weird.
(2013, on Once Upon a Time in America) The greatest gift I was ever given. I mean, people ask me all the time about my favorite movie, and I don't really know how to pick a favorite, but I usually pick that one because, without Sergio (Leone), I wouldn't have the rest of them. I mean, he gave me a chance to go from Thrasher to the big time. I owe him a lot. Him and Robert De Niro, because Robert approved me as well. It was an experience that was life altering, to go and work with such profound artists and in a project where everyone really wanted to make something great. I wish I felt more of that today. It's the rare project where everyone has that energy, you know? It's kind of a spoiler, really. At age 27, you start thinking, "Maybe they'll all be like that." But if you're lucky, it's one out of 10 or 20 that has that kind of special energy.
(2013, on Entourage) Not much to say. It was, like, I got a call, "Do you want to be on Entourage?" I'm, like, "Well, whaddaya got?" And there wasn't much of anything going on with the part, so I said to my agent, "So why exactly do we want to do this?" "Because everybody's doing Entourage." "Oh, all right, I'll do it for you!" Then I got in, and I got to work with Mr. Piven-and I was very good friends with his father, Byrne Piven, because we'd made The Untouchables, where he played my mentor, Johnny Torrio. So Jeremy and I had a lot to talk about. His dad was a prince of a man: wonderful actor, a teacher, with a golden heart. That ended up being my joy of doing the show. That and, of course, meeting everyone there. They were all great. I just ended up not really having anything to do that had much substance as I would've liked while visiting that show.
(2013, on John Doe) That was the highest-paid bartender in history. I think the first five or six episodes, I was in maybe one or two scenes. I was, like, "This is it...? Jesus, why am I here?" But then it started to pick up. I loved the sci-fi side of it. But I thought the show was doing pretty good, and then they pulled the plug on it. I don't understand that. Once you start to get things semi-right, you'd think they'd let you stick around, especially when people seem to be watching. Go figure.
(2013, on Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) That's my knuckleball. You have to develop a few different pitches, and I love to fool 'em. In a million years, no one would've given me that part, but I set up a meeting, went in, and... it was only supposed to be a meeting, because I don't think anyone, including me, ever thought I was going to get it, so I just went nuts in the room, and I basically made them give me the part. I had a blast on that. But I love doing comedy. Rob Schneider and I had a funny work relationship, because my guy's, like, constantly yelling in his face. And I got to the point where, if I just barely moved, he'd react. He was like a kid who'd been getting cracked his whole life, flinching whenever you moved. But I liked Rob.
(2013, on Dick Tracy) Warren Beatty is a great director. I wish Warren would direct another film right now, because I'd love to do another film with Warren. I think that Dick Tracy is an outstanding film in its own right. I mean, I don't think it's Warren's greatest film, but I'm honored to have been chosen by him, because he went out of his way to get to know my work and to get to know me as much as he could, and he wanted me to do his film. And here I was-I had a poster of Bonnie And Clyde on my wall when I was a teenager. It was just one of those wonderful things that happens to you. It was great. Of course, then I had to wear the makeup for six months, which is its own world of madness and torture. But I loved it. It was a good experience, and I had a lot of fun when I made that movie.

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