Forrest Lewis - Rotten Tomatoes

Forrest Lewis

Highest Rated:   93% All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Lowest Rated:   60% Red Line 7000 (1965)
Birthplace:   Not Available
With his crotchety persona, wrinkled visage, and nervous manner, Forrest Lewis is best remembered by most viewers for the neurotic and comical old man roles that he played in dozens of movies and television shows in the 1950s and '60s -- he was somewhere between Harry Carey Sr. and Strother Martin in his characterizations for over two decades. In reality, he'd been playing old men since the age of 20, in 1919. Born in Knightstown, IN, in 1899, Lewis was a linear descendant of Meriwether Lewis, the explorer immortalized by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Forrest Lewis was drawn to performing as a boy, and made his first appearance on a theatrical stage as a singer, at age 12. He made his professional acting debut at 20, with the Emerson Stock Company, portraying an 80-year-old man. Over the next decade, he toured the United States in vaudeville and stock companies, before landing on Broadway in Lulu Belle, starring Lenore Ulric. Radio began its boom years in the late '20s, and Lewis made his debut in the commercial broadcast medium in 1929. He had some small roles until fate took a hand; he inadvertently received a call for an audition that had been intended for another actor, and won the part. There was no looking back for Lewis, who was busy from then on, playing numerous key supporting roles, including Harry Freeman on the radio series Scattergood Baines and (with Van McCune) one half of the comedy team of Buck and Wheat, on the Aunt Jemima radio show. Lewis resisted offers to appear in movies until the mid-'40s, when he began playing character roles -- mostly far older (or acting far older) than his 44 years -- in movies such as Gildersleeve on Broadway (1943) and I'll Tell the World (1945). Lewis' career remained focused on radio, however, until that medium began retrenching in the early '50s. He jumped to television on Amos 'n' Andy and Dragnet, and also became downright ubiquitous on the big screen during the first half of the 1950s, playing a succession of doctors, judges, nit-picking public officials, police officers, and crotchety old men. Westerns predominated as a genre in his film career, but he also played in a few Disney movies (The Shaggy Dog, Son of Flubber) and even two minor B-horror classics, The Thing That Couldn't Die (1958) and The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959), the latter offering Lewis one of the biggest parts of his career, as the town constable faced with a series of grisly murders. And Howard Hawks used him in Man's Favorite Sport? (1964) and Red Line 7000 (1965). By the time of Riot on Sunset Strip (1967), in which he played a senior citizen seen in the movie's opening who expresses his anger over the behavior of the teenagers on the renowned stretch of Los Angeles real estate, Lewis had aged into the role. He died in 1977 of a heart attack at age 77, four years after his last television appearance.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Skin Game
  • Actor
No Score Yet A Dangerous Friend
  • Actor
No Score Yet Riot on Sunset Strip
  • Aynsley
60% Red Line 7000
  • Jenkins
64% Man's Favorite Sport?
  • Skaggs
86% Son of Flubber
  • Officer Kelly
No Score Yet Tammy and the Doctor
  • Dr. Crandall
No Score Yet Posse from Hell
  • Dr. Welles
81% The Absent-Minded Professor
  • Officer Kelly
67% The Shaggy Dog
  • Officer Kelly
No Score Yet The Thing That Couldn't Die
  • Ash
No Score Yet The Monster of Piedras Blancas
  • Sheriff Matson
No Score Yet Man in the Shadow
  • Jake Kelley
No Score Yet The Spoilers
  • Banty Jones
93% All That Heaven Allows
  • Mr. Weeks
No Score Yet Escape From Fort Bravo
  • Dr. Miller
No Score Yet Gun Fury
  • Weatherby
No Score Yet The Clown
  • Pawnbroker
No Score Yet The Lawless Breed
  • Zeke Jenkins
No Score Yet Take Me to Town
  • Ed Higgins
No Score Yet Francis Covers the Big Town
  • Judge Stanley
No Score Yet It Grows on Trees
  • Dr. Harold Burrows
No Score Yet Has Anybody Seen My Gal?
  • Martin Quinn
No Score Yet Week-End with Father
  • Innkeeper

Quotes from Forrest Lewis' Characters

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