Robert Forster

Actor Robert Forster attends a gala presentation screening of "The Descendants" during the 49th Annual New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert Forster, the handsome and omnipresent character actor who got a career resurgence and Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry in "Jackie Brown," died Friday. He was 78.

Publicist Kathie Berlin said Forster died of brain cancer following a brief illness. He was at home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, including his four children and partner Denise Grayson.

Condolences poured in Friday night on social media.

Bryan Cranston called Forster a "lovely man and a consummate actor" in a tweet. The two met on the 1980 film "Alligator" and then worked together again on the television show "Breaking Bad" and its spinoff film, "El Camino," which launched Friday on Netflix.

"I never forgot how kind and generous he was to a young kid just starting out in Hollywood," Cranston wrote.

His "Jackie Brown" co-star Samuel L. Jackson tweeted that Forster was "truly a class act/Actor!!"

A native of Rochester, New York, Forster quite literally stumbled into acting when in college, intending to be a lawyer, he followed a fellow female student he was trying to talk to into an auditorium where "Bye Bye Birdie" auditions were being held. He would be cast in that show, that fellow student would become his wife with whom he had three daughters, and it would start him on a new trajectory as an actor.

A fortuitous role in the 1965 Broadway production "Mrs. Dally Has a Lover" put him on the radar of Darryl Zanuck, who signed him to a studio contract. He would soon make his film debut in the 1967 John Huston film "Reflections in a Golden Eye," which starred Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.

Forster would go on to star in Haskell Wexler's documentary-style Chicago classic "Medium Cool" and the detective television series "Banyon." It was an early high point that he would later say was the beginning of a "27-year slump."