Michael Forest was born Gerald Michael
Charlebois in Harvey, North Dakota, moving to Seattle at a very
young age where he lived until his second year in college
(University of Washington).
He then made his way south to California attending San
Jose State where he graduated with a B.A. in English and Drama.
Michael came to Hollywood in 1955 and began acting on
television and on stage (Players Ring).
But his acting career really began in Washington when he
went to see a production at the Seattle Rep Playhouse where a
friend of his was performing.
He was totally entranced by the whole theatrical
experience and knew that’s where he wanted to be.
Actually, Michael, who has excelled in athletics since
his school years, was training to be a boxer when his coach
suggested he choose between boxing and acting, since he could
possibly have his face smashed in the ring, and that could end
any acting career to which he might be aspiring!
He made the right choice!
When Michael arrived in Los
Angeles, he began to study with veteran actor/acting teacher
Jeff Corey where he first met Roger Corman who asked him to be
in “The Saga of the Viking Women……….” (1957), a film
he was directing. His brother, Gene, then cast him to co-star in
“Beast from Haunted Cave,” followed by Roger’s “Ski
Troop Attack” (1959) and made-in-Greece “Atlas” (1960).
In between these hopefully soon-to-be forgotten flicks,
Forest continued as a stage actor in Shakespearean plays and
other legitimate productions.
For the next ten years, Michael juggled his theatre
career and his starring roles in hundreds of television shows.
He played “Othello” three times at the San Diego Old
Globe where he also appeared as Petruchio in “Taming of the
Shrew.” In fact,
when they were casting the part of ‘Apollo’ for that
now-famous episode of Star Trek (Original Series), there was a
call out for an actor who could handle Shakespeare’s dialogue
and had the stature necessary for the character.
At the time, Mike was appearing at the Globe Theatre and
was the one actor they recommended.
And of course, the rest is history!
Throughout the late ‘50s and
‘60s, Michael went from one television show to another – he
was under contract to Warner Brothers and Universal and it was
at the height of Westerns, cops and robbers and other episodics.
Michael starred or co-starred in most of them, all the while
appearing on stage in Regional theatres around the country.
“One of the shows that has given me the most attention
was the segment on Star Trek.
It was a good show to be on and I felt pretty good about
the work,” states Forest.
Some of his other favorites include his recurring role on
“The Alaskans” with Roger Moore, “Zorro” with Guy
Williams, the very watched Twilight Zone in which he played one
of three alien black leather jacketed motorcycle riders that
were terrorizing the neighbors, a wonderful episode of “The
Dick Van Dyke Show” (he played a priest) and “Doctor
Kildaire” in which he worked with Molly Picon. An interesting
note is that Michael played many Indian characters in tv and
film and through a genealogy search his niece was making
recently, he found that he, indeed, was an eighth Sioux and
From 1968 to 1978, Michael
lived in Rome, but made films throughout Spain, France and
England. He loved
living there – “I thought it was wonderful!
When you live in Europe, you begin to know its people.
You learn the language (he speaks fluent Italian) and you
get a feeling for their way of life, which is considerably
different from our way.” When he arrived, he was immediately cast in “100 Rifles,”
went on to make 26 films and dubbed over 500 films while he was
in Rome. His last
feature overseas was “Mohammed” (known also as “The
Messenger”) on which he worked for a year all over North
accomplished athlete, Mike did almost all of his own stunts over
there, horse-back riding, fencing, etc. In fact, he is still an
avid tennis player and works out at the gym every morning.
In 1979, just after Michael
returned to Los Angeles, he was asked to co-star in a film with
Franco Nero, “Shark Fighters,” which was made in Cozumel.
When he returned from location, Michael was contracted to
play a leading role on “As The World Turns.”
He relocated to New York City where he lived for the
length of his contract playing Nick Andropolous – and even
traveled to Greece to film segments of the Soap Opera.
The work was demanding, but he loved it! – While living
in New York, he even ended up in a Broadway Show “Breakfast
With Les and Bes” – back on stage – his first love. After a few years on another soap, “The Catlins,”
shooting in Atlanta, Michael returned to Los Angeles again where
he has worked on film, tv, stage and dubbing the voices on
hundred’s of films and cartoons.
He is a member of an Equity-Waiver theatre company,
Theatre 40, where he has appeared in many productions, and was
recently nominated for an award for Outstanding Male Actor in a
Drama for his performance in “Painting Churches.”
Since Michael was a teenager,
he has had a fascination with airplanes, in fact, he was
learning to fly seaplanes in Washington.
When he moved – all that was put on hold.
However, while he was living in New York, he started
flying Ultralights and that led to the realization of his
boyhood dream. Mike
now holds a pilot’s license and goes flying as often as he has
the time. In fact
– Mike plays a pilot in the new Tom Hanks film “Cast
Michael lives in Los
Angeles, is married to actress/publicist Diana Hale and is the
proud slave of a very beautiful cat named “Puffy.”