British actor John Forgeham played rough, morally ambiguous men on numerous series, including popular runs on "Crossroads" (ITV, 1964-1988, 2001-03) and "Footballers' Wives" (ITV, 2002-06). Born John Henry George Forgham in the Worcestershire parish of Kidderminster, England, on May 14, 1941, he was the son of working-class parents who raised him in the Birmingham suburb of Erdington. He was introduced to acting through a local dramatic society, which led to training at the Birmingham School of Acting and a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 18. After adding an "e" to his surname in response to frequent mispronunciation, Forgeham honed his craft at repertory theaters throughout the United Kingdom and in guest appearances on episodic television series like "The Avengers" (ITV, 1961-69). In 1965, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), which formed the backbone of his acting career, though there were occasional turns on television and in features, most notably as the radio operator Frank in Peter Collinson's "The Italian Job" (1969). That same year, he left the RSC during a stop in Australia during a world tour with the company, and became artistic director of St. Martin's Theater in Melbourne and later co-founded the Globe Shakespeare Company in Sydney. Upon returning to England in 1972, Forgeham continued to work in television and features; in the latter medium, he took an uncredited turn as an Imperial officer in "Star Wars" (1977), but the former provided him with a star-making turn as a philandering car mechanic on the vastly popular soap opera "Crossroads." The small screen provided him with steady work throughout the 1980s, including turns as a series regular on the sitcoms "L for Lester" (BBC, 1982) and "Making Out" (BBC One, 1989-1991) and as a detective whose death resulted in Helen Mirren's Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison taking over a murder investigation in the first series run of "Prime Suspect" (ITV, 1991). In 2001, Forgeham's career received a boost through supporting turns in two high-profile movies - as a murderous pimp in the Jet Li action vehicle "Kiss of the Dragon" (2001) and as a prison boss in "Mean Machine" (2001) opposite footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones. This led to a three-season turn as Frank Laslett, the socially ambitious chairman of a sports club on "Footballers' Wives." Following the character's death - seduced to death by scheming spouse Zoe Lucker - Forgeham's career and health went into decline. Depression and other physical and mental issues led to a stint in a mental hospital and the loss of his home, but he recovered enough to find sporadic work on television. His last role was a a guest appearance on a 2012 episode of the "Doctors" (BBC One, 2000- ) before he suffered a fall in his home on March 8, 2017. Hospitalized for a broken collarbone, Forgeham died suddenly from massive internal bleeding on March 10, 2017 at the age of 75.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Cast as radio operator Frank in "The Italian Job"
Landed breakout role as mechanic Jim Baines on "Crossroads"
Starred as football club owner Frank Laslett on "Footballers' Wives"