Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Steve Forrest, movie actor, Lt. Hondo Harrelson on TV's S.W.A.T., and dependable Dana Andrews' real-life kid brother, is dead.
For years I couldn't see the Forrest for the Andrews. (It must have had something to do with countless childhood viewings of Hot Rods to Hell.) Then it suddenly hit me and halfway through Mommie Dearest the family resemblance took hold of my brain. This was at a time before Wikipedia made the answers to all life's trivia a click of the mouse away. I had to wait until after 9pm when the rates went down (it was also before cell phone bundling plans became the vogue) to call a friend in SoCal and have my findings confirmed.
Fortunately for Forrest, the booze gene skipped a generation. Unlike br'er Dana, whose every line of dialog spoken after 1960 was accented with a pronounced slur, Forrest showed up on set clean, sober, and ready to roll. (If you haven't already, crack open a six-pack and study Dana's fractured delivery in HRTH.)
He began life as William Forrest Andrews and after a few bit roles in pictures adopted his stage name (possibly to avoid accusations of nepotism). His career spanned over 50 years. Forrest appeared in several favorites (a cameo in The Band Wagon and bigger parts in It Happened to Jane and Heller in Pink Tights.) He was awarded a New Star of the Year Golden Globe for his work in So Big (1953), but never came close to touching his brother's popularity.
There were occasional parts in feature films (Rascal, North Dallas Forty, Mommie Dearest) but by 1965 Forrest had turned his attention almost exclusively to television. His small screen credits include appearances in The Six Million Dollar Man, Fantasy Island, and Dallas.
The actor's last role was a cameo as a truck driver in the big screen version of S.W.A.T. Forrest died last Saturday in Thousand Oaks, California. He is survived by Christine Carilas, his wife of 65 years, and three sons. Steve Forrest was 87.
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