The Baron ITC for ATV / ITV

American actor Steve Forrest, best known in the UK for ITV series The Baron, in which he played the lead role, has died at his home in America aged 87.

He was lured to the UK in 1964 by ATV boss Lord Lew Grade to star as John Mannering, an antiques dealer and sometime undercover agent working in an informal capacity for the head of the fictional British Diplomatic Intelligence. Produced by ITV by ATV’s sister company ITC – which produced big budget dramas on film – it became the first full colour series to be made for the network. (Previously series had only partly been made in colour or were puppet programming such as Thunderbirds)

Back in America Forrest also became well known for his lead role in a short-lived ABC TV drama S.W.A.T in the mid-1970s where  he played Lieutenant Hondo Harrelson. The series should have been a hit, coming from the successful producer Aaron Spelling who later had big hits with Charlie’s Angels and Dynasty. He made a cameo appearance in the 2003 film version of S.W.A.T and is also remembered for his roles in Dallas, Bonanza and Ironside.

Before television he had also appeared in a number of movies including co-starring with the likes of Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley and Barbara Eden.

He was born in Huntsville, Texas. The youngest of 13 children. He leaves a wife and three sons.

Steve Forrest, September 25th, 1925 – May 18th 2013

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