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"Dynasty" actor John Forsythe dies, 92


John Forsythe is seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout
John Forsythe is seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Dynasty" star John Forsythe, whose acting career spanned seven decades on stage, film and television, has died at age 92 after a year-long battle with cancer, his family said on Friday.

Forsythe died on Thursday in Santa Ynez, California, northwest of Los Angeles, near Santa Barbara, after contracting pneumonia.

"Thankfully, he died as he lived his life ... with dignity and grace," the family said in a statement.

The U.S. actor's career began in New York where he was among the original members of Lee Strasburg's The Actors Studio.

In Hollywood he lent his voice to the character of "Charlie" in the 1970s detective show "Charlie's Angels," and his association with producer Aaron Spelling led to his role as oil baron Blake Carrington in TV drama "Dynasty."

"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 wife, Candy, said in a statement.

Born John Lincoln Freund on January 29, 1918, in Penn's Grove, New Jersey, Forsythe was the son of a Wall Street businessman. He attended the University of North Carolina and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War Two.

Forsythe spent time as a field announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team before joining Strasburg's method acting group that would also prove instrumental for actors such as James Dean, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

On Broadway he performed in Moss Hart's musical, "Winged Victory," and went on to starring roles in plays such as "Mr. Roberts," Pulitzer Prize winner "Teahouse of the August Moon" and Gore Vidal's "Weekend."

In the 1940s and 1950s, the handsome, broad-shouldered actor worked on live TV in teleplays such as those on the popular "Studio One" programs, and he played drama critic Al Manheim in "What Makes Sammy Run?", the award-winning tale of Hollywood treachery.

CHARLIE AND BLAKE

He worked in films such as "It Happens Every Thursday" with Loretta Young and Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood." But it was on TV where the deep-voiced Forsythe saw his star rise.

From 1957 to 1962, he portrayed bachelor attorney Bentley Gregg who has to raise his young niece after her parents die in an accident. By 1965, he was starring in "The John Forsythe Show," portraying a retired U.S. Air Force officer who inherits an exclusive girls school in San Francisco.

His long-time association with Hollywood producer Aaron Spelling led to Forsythe becoming the voice of the mysterious "Charles Townsend" who employed three gorgeous women as private detectives in 1970s TV series "Charlie's Angels."

That hit show spurred the careers for Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. It led to two feature films, "Charlie's Angels" (2000) and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003) in which Forsythe also voiced the role of Charlie. It would be his last work for a Hollywood production.

His most notable fame came in the role of ruthless oil baron Blake Carrington in "Dynasty," for which he won two Golden Globe best actor awards and numerous nominations for U.S. TV's top honor, the Emmy.

In his personal life, Forsythe was interested in ecology and served as spokesperson and sponsor of the World Wildlife Fund.

Forsythe was married to Parker McCormick for two years, then to Julie Warren from 1943 until her death in 1994.

He married Nicole Carter-Forsythe in 2002 and is survived by her, a son and two daughters, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His family said there would be no public memorial and asked that any donations be made to the American Cancer Society.

(Additional reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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