April 2, 2010, - 4:16 pm

John Forsythe, RIP: Great Actor Was Also American Patriot

By Debbie Schlussel

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.

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18 Responses

A gentleman of the old school and a very gifted man. Quite a range as an actor. We shall not look upon his likes again.

May John Forsyth’s memory be for a blessing!

NormanF on April 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I will light, figuratively, a Yarzeit for an actor and person I’ve loved since I was 5. He was my fantasy father, as he was The Bachelor Father.

Malkah on April 2, 2010 at 6:08 pm

My mom loved Dynasty when it was on. But to me John Forsythe will be Charlie. Now I guess he and Farrah Fawcett can now converse face to face.

He died with dignity. The vibe he gave off in his acting sure reflects that.

Bob Porrazzo on April 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

He’s been around a very long time may he rest in peace. We’re losing many of the greats and being left with garbage. Karl Malden also one of my favorites

ARISHEM on April 2, 2010 at 7:29 pm

they don’t make them in Hollywood like that anymore

Noah David Simon on April 2, 2010 at 8:30 pm

“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.”


This is one of the truly great things I love about you and your site, Debbie. I rarely if ever see these types of stories except on your site. Thank you so very much for bringing up the backgrounds of people of honor.

R.I.P. Mr. John Forsythe

Jeff W. on April 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I often wonder when the likes of Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and all the rest pass away will they also be remembered with tenderness and reverence. My instinct is to think “not so much”. RIP Mr. Forsythe.

kenny komodo on April 3, 2010 at 12:07 am

Mr. Forsythe, you will be missed. RIP.

Jon on April 3, 2010 at 12:41 am

I guess with Sean Penn it runs in the family. His father Leo Penn was Hollywood Communist who supported the Stalin-Hitler pact, and refused to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee in helping to identify enemies of our country.

Little Al on April 3, 2010 at 7:15 am

We should compare the actors of yesterday to today’s Blame America for Everything squad.

Rocky on April 3, 2010 at 7:40 am

John was a fine example of that generation which is nearly gone. My father is 90, veteran, last of his family still
on this earth, and can’t believe we voted in a lefty like
Obambam. My generation and the next one are the ones who
voted him in. I guess we deserve actors like Sean Penn,
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, and
the like. They kind of mirror our generation, don’t they?

Daniel K on April 3, 2010 at 9:53 am

A gentleman in the old school tradition. Amen

#1 Vato on April 3, 2010 at 10:07 am

I’m not so sure. I seem to recall his politicis were rather Liberal.I also seem to recal him ripping Reagan a few times.

Phineas on April 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

Thank you for your lovely remembrance of Mr. Forsythe. God bless him.

Mack Hall on April 3, 2010 at 1:48 pm


Whenever I see a report like this on your web site, I ask myself, What happened to this country?

There was a time when many of the people in Hollywood were proud,honorable, patriotic Americans, but now it’s the norm to assume that any Hollywood “type” is an immature, uneducated, self-centered, anti-American leftist.

When you think back to Bob Hope, and Jimmy Stewart, Irving Berlin and so many other great, patriotic men in the film industry; and then you see the superficial, “boys” that pass for men in Hollywood today, it makes me sick.

Even when they try to be “hyper-masculine,” they don’t do it with real male values; no, they inject steroids and end up as muscle-bound little boys like Christain Bale yelling obscenities as some poor stagehand trying to just do his job.

I’ll take Bogart over Bale any day of the week.

Louis Villaescusa on April 4, 2010 at 11:44 am

I had no idea John Forsythe was jewish. I remember him as very dignified and classy man. We’ll certainly miss him.

Richard on April 4, 2010 at 9:24 pm

John Forsythe was one of my favorites, and he died just weeks after another favorite, Peter Graves. They’ll be missed. When I heard of Forsythe’s passing, we watched “The Trouble with Harry” and “Kitten With a Whip” in his honor — two of his best.

Robert Jones on April 6, 2010 at 3:19 am

I love him in Dynasty and he was such a handsome man with a wonderful voice.

Gloria Vazquez on April 10, 2010 at 8:30 am

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