Actor John Forsythe Antiques at Auction

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George III ladder back chairsBonhams & Butterfields have announced its September 25, 2011 Sunset Estate Auction will feature select property from the Estate of award-winning stage, television and film actor John Forsythe.

A harlequin set of eight Late George III ladder back chairs early 19th century. With rush seats, comprising two armchairs and six side chairs. height of armchair 42 1/4in; width 22 1/2in; depth 18 1/2in. Est. $2,000-3,000. Photo: Bonhams & Butterfields.

Forsythe was best known for his roles in three television series, spanning four decades and three genres: in the 1950s sitcom Bachelor Father, as single playboy father Bentley Gregg; as Charles “Charlie” Townsend, the unseen millionaire on the 1970s crime drama Charlie’s Angels and as Blake Carrington, patriarch on the 1980s soap opera Dynasty.

Forsythe was born the eldest of three children in Penns Grove, N.J., to Blanche Materson and Samuel Jeremiah Freund. He was primarily raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., where his father worked on Wall Street during the Great Depression.

At the age of 16, Forsythe graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1936, he took a job with the Brooklyn Dodgers as the public address announcer for games at Ebbets Field.

Forsythe began acting at the suggestion of his father, despite showing initial reluctance. As a player for Warner Brothers, he appeared in several small roles. As a result, he was given a small part in Destination Tokyo (1943).

Forsythe left his film career to serve in World War II, where he appeared in the U.S. Army Air Force’s play and film Winged Victory. After returning from WWII, Forsythe joined the first class of the soon-to-be prestigious Actors Studio in 1947. In 1955, Forsythe was cast in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film The Trouble with Harry.

During the 1950s, Forsythe appeared in the new medium of television regularly on all the networks, especially as a guest star. It was during this period that Forsythe notably appeared in the popular anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

In 1957, he took a leading role as Bentley Gregg, a playboy lawyer who has to become a father to his niece Kelly, upon the death of her biological parents in the CBS sitcom Batchelor Father. The show was an immediate ratings hit. It moved to NBC the following season and to ABC in the fall of 1961.

By the early 1960s, Forsythe had returned to acting in films including Kitten with a Whip (1964) and In Cold Blood (1967). In 1964, he starred in the made for television movie See How they Run, which is notable for being one of the first films, made for television.

In 1976, Forsythe was cast in the role of mysterious unseen millionaire, private investigator Charles “Charlie” Townsend in the crime drama Charlie’s Angeles that led to Forsythe’s 13-year association with Aaron Spelling.

Nearing the end of Charlie’s Angels in 1981, Forsythe was selected for the role of patriarch Blake Carrington in Dynasty. An Aaron Spelling production, Dynasty was ABC’s answer to the highly successful Dallas series on a competing network.

Additional notable career highlights for Forsythe included The Powers That Be (1992) on NBC, the film version of Charlie’s Angeles (2000), its sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003) and a one-hour reunion special of Dynasty (2006) aired on CBS, among others.

During his career, Forsythe was nominated six times for a Golden Globe award, and he won twice. In addition, he was nominated five times for the Soap Opera Digest Awards, which he won twice.

Highlights from the Estate of John Forsythe include a Steinway mahogany baby grand piano (est. $6,000-8,000), a harlequin set of late George III ladder back chairs (est. $2,000-3,000), a George I style carved walnut armchair (est. $500-700) and a Regency faux rosewood and parcel gilt stool (est. $700-1,000), among others. Additional items of note from the Forsythe Estate will be featured during Bonhams & Butterfields’ Wine Auction on September 24, 2011 and the Entertainment Memorabilia auction in December of 2011.

Preview: September 23-24, 2011, Los Angeles
Auction: September 25, 2011, Los Angeles

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