Birthday: February 12, 1919
Died At Age: 67
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Forrest Meredith Tucker
Born Country: United States
Born in: Plainfield, Indiana, United States
Famous as: Actor
Height: 6'4" (193 cm), 6'4" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Sheila Forbes (m. 1986), Marilyn Fisk (m. 1961 - div. 1985), Marilyn Johnson (m. 1951 - her death. 1960), Sandra Jolley (m. 1940 - div. 1950)
father: Forrest A. Tucker
mother: Doris Heringlake
Died on: October 25, 1986
place of death: Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
U.S. State: Indiana
Who was Forrest Tucker?
Forrest Tucker was an American actor and singer. Over the course of his 5-decade-long career, he worked in over a hundred film and TV productions. A native of Indiana, he served as a vaudeville “straight man” when he was 15 years old. A wealthy mentor sponsored his journey to Los Angeles, where he caught the attention of Cobina Wright. It was through her that he met Wesley Ruggles, who offered him a screen test on Cobina’s request. With his photogenic good looks, thick blonde hair, and his sturdy frame of 6 feet 5 inches, Tucker was definitely a handsome young man. However, at the time, there was a prevalent perception in Hollywood that blonde men were not photogenic. Despite this, his film career began smoothly. He normally required only one take for his scenes. After mostly acting in Westerns and action films for 2 decades, Tucker went back to doing comedies and stage musicals. His most memorable TV performance was as ‘Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke’ in ‘F Troop.’ In the latter half of his career, his professional life suffered due to his excessive drinking.
Childhood & Early Life
Forrest Meredith Tucker was born on February 12, 1919, in Plainfield, Indiana, US, to Forrest A. Tucker and Doris Heringlake. He started his career as a performer when he was 14 years old, at the 1933 ‘Chicago World's Fair.’ His job was to push the big wicker tourist chairs, by day, while at night, he sang ‘Throw Money.’ Later, his family relocated to Washington, D.C., where he was employed at the ‘Old Gaiety Burlesque Theater,’ as the ‘Master of Ceremonies.’
Tucker was fired after his superior learned his real age. He attended the ‘Washington-Lee High School,’ in Arlington, Virginia, from where he graduated in 1938. He briefly served at ‘Fort Myer’ in Arlington County, Virginia, as a member of the ‘US Cavalry,’ but they handed him his discharge papers after they found out that he was still underage. He returned to his hometown, and after turning 18, he went back to his job at the ‘Old Gaiety.’
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Career & Later Life
After Tucker moved to California and successfully took the screen test, he started auditioning for film roles. He made his screen debut in 1940, as an imposing farmer in ‘The Westerner.’ He then played a supporting role in ‘The Great Awakening’ (1941). That year, he also debuted as a leading star in ‘PRC's ‘Emergency Landing’ (1941). Tucker subsequently joined ‘Columbia Pictures,’ where he was part of the cast of the ‘Lone Wolf’ series, ‘Counter Espionage’ (1942), and ‘Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood’ (1942).
Like many of his colleagues in Hollywood, Tucker joined the US army at the advent of World War II and was made a second lieutenant. After the war ended, he returned to acting. ‘Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’ leased him for the classic coming-of-age drama ‘The Yearling’ (1946). The same year, the Warners leased him to portray Errol Flynn's romantic rival, alongside Eleanor Parker, in ‘Never Say Goodbye.’ He also worked with Randolph Scott in ‘Columbia’s ‘Coroner Creek’ (1948).
In 1948, Tucker quit ‘Columbia’ for ‘Republic Pictures’ and subsequently starred in films such as ‘Hellfire’ (1949), ‘The Last Bandit’ (1949), ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ (1949), ‘California Passage’ (1950), and ‘Rock Island Trail’ (1950). He worked with British actor Margaret Lockwood in 'Laughing Anne' (1953) and ‘Trouble in the Glen’ (1954).
He essayed the role of a charter-boat captain in the Bahamas in the TV series ‘Crunch and Des’ (1955–1956). In 1958, he starred in ‘Auntie Mame,’ the most commercially successful film of that year. In 1964, he performed in a ‘Broadway’ production of ‘Fair Game for Lovers.’
He portrayed‘Professor Harold Hill’ in the national touring production of ‘The Music Man’ in 1958. He continued to play the role for over 2,000 times over the next 5 years.
In his later years, Tucker decided to go back to his roots and do films such as the musical ‘The Night They Raided Minsky's’ (1969), the comedy ‘Cancel My Reservation (1972)’, and the drama ‘The Wild McCullochs (1975).’ The final project of his career was the telefilm ‘Timestalkers,’ which was released posthumously, in 1987.
The ‘ABC’ sitcom ‘F Troop’ (1965–1967) featured Tucker as ‘Sergeant Morgan Sylvester O'Rourke,’ a resourceful, scheming veteran and the most competent soldier in the ‘F Troop.’ Despite originally airing for only two seasons, the show has been part of regular syndication ever since. This has allowed the show to achieve cult status.
Family & Personal Life
Tucker married four times in his life. His first wife, Sandra Jolley, was the daughter of actor I. Stanford Jolley. They were married from September 26, 1940, to February 3, 1950, and had one daughter, Pamela “Brooke” Tucker (born on August 20, 1944). He got married to actor Marilyn Johnson on March 28, 1950 (or 1951). She passed away on July 19, 1960.
Tucker then got married to Marilyn Fisk, his third wife, on October 23, 1961. They had a son, Forrest Sean Tucker, and a daughter, Cindy Tucker. The couple divorced on December 12, 1985. He got married to his fourth and final wife, Sheila Forbes, on April 15, 1986.
Death & Legacy
After battling lung cancer for over a year, Tucker passed away at age 67, on October 25, 1986, at the ‘Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital.’ He was entombed at the ‘Forest Lawn–Hollywood Hills Cemetery’ in the Hollywood Hills.
Tucker received his ‘Motion Picture Star’ on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ on August 21, 1986.