April 2, 2010, - 4:16 pm
Those in my generation knew John Forsythe, who died yesterday (at the age of 92), as the suave and debonaire silver-haired actor who played the voice of Charlie on TV’s “Charlie’s Angels” and as Blake Carrington on the prime time soap opera, “Dynasty.” But those roles were actually “chopped liver” compared to his long and fruitful acting career on the stage, big screen and TV, which spanned decades.
But, to me, this classy actor’s life is best exemplified by the fact that he left a burgeoning, lucrative movie career to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. That’s the sacrifice of a true patriot. Even though he was deemed unable to fly planes, he participated in the war effort in other ways:
World War II intervened in his career, but only briefly, as the U.S. Army Air Corps deemed Forsythe’s vision subpar for flying planes, as he had hoped to do. Instead, his thespian background forwarded him into a major propaganda project. The corps produced renowned playwright Moss Hart’s “Winged Victory,” an ensemble tale of American soldiers and their wartime sacrifices, and Forsythe found himself cast with fellow luminaries-in-uniform Red Buttons, Mario Lanza, Gary Merrill and Karl Malden.
And, even after that, Forsythe worked as a sort of volunteer speech pathologist with injured American World War II soldiers who had war injury-related speech impediments. A truly great American.
Yesterday, we had great men and American patriots, like Forsythe, who were also good actors. Today, we have decent actors, like Sean Penn, who are horrible men and patriots to our enemies.
I’m also proud to say that Forsythe–born John Freund–was, indeed, a Jewish-American and quite apparently a mensch.
John Forsythe, Blessed Be His Memory.
Tags: actor, American patriot, Charlie's Angels, Dynasty, Jewish, John Forsythe, John Freund, John Lincoln Freund, mensch, patriot, RIP, U.S. Armed Forces, Winged Victory, World War II