April '09

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adapted from original photo from LIFE magazine

Julie Forte is an ecta-cool, super-talented animator and storyboard artist.

And that picture of Fabian in her office?

Oh, that's just Dad.


FLIP: At what point, as a child, did you realize, "Holy shit, my Dad's Fabian!"

JULIE: I don't think I ever have, not really... the oddest moment of realization was definitely in high school, when a friend's mother, upon discovery, made a strange noise and informed us that she used to sleep with a photo of him under her pillow every night, and still knew where that photo was.

FLIP. When people learn who your Dad is, do they ever think you mean "Fabio"?

JULIE: Yes they did! Not so much now, as Fabio's fame-face is about my age, but in the eighties, forget it... I was constantly asked if I could believe that it was not butter. It was always funny. I didn't mind at all.

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FLIP. When you hear friends' "dad" stories, do you find them to be much different from growing up with a famous dad?

JULIEL Well. That's a good question. It's more that everyone thinks I wouldn't relate, or that my life must have been different, and I never understood that, because it wasn't. He's a great Dad. The best one I know, no lie.

FLIP. Were people surprised that you got into animation instead of music?

JULIE: No, not at all... I've never had any interest in the performing arts, the whole thing vaguely horrifies me, it's a most definite cringe-worthy turnoff for me. I was always drawing and writing anyway. As close to a stage as I'll ever be was when I was a high school cheerleader, and that was enough.

FLIP:: Do you listen to your Dad's music? Does he?

JULIE: We don't like, sit and listen, no- but I know it all. As kids, my brother and I would listen to the old 45's with the speed turned up high and dance like maniacs. Dad still does shows, but outside of that, no, I don't think so.

FLIP   What do you think when you see your Dad perform?

JULIE: I feel so much love, and so proud! He's awesome up there. It's really like just hanging out with your Dad in his office, though... I stay backstage and we chat, hang out while he shaves and all that, and then I'll run out to whatever table and watch his part of the show, and go back and forth from front to back like an eight year old.

FLIP:   Does he give you much professional advice?

JULIE : Yes! All of it. I turn to my Dad for advice about everything, from work to life to men, because it's the best. He will tell it to me straight, make me laugh, and be right all at the same time. He knows... everything.

FLIP:   Your dad was very young when he hit it big. Do you even associate the man in those photos and films with your present day father?

JULIE: I do, I see my Dad right there, it's totally him. I'm so grateful that I have so much of him on film, and recorded... I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to see and hear my Dad at all stages, it's a wonderful thing.

Daddy's girl with Mom, Katie Regan. (Photo property of Julie Forte.)

FLIP:. When your Dad is killed in "The Longest Day", does that freak you out? Do you have a personal favorite of his films?

JULIE: I've never thought about it... no, didn't bother me. I did get bothered once when in some movie, Dad backs over my brother on his bigwheel, that was alarming. Favorites, hmmm...he's done so many. I loved "Dear Brigitte", and "North to Alaska". "Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs" is festive too.

A pre-Julie duet with Dean Martin, 1960.

FLIP: How much of your Dad's Philly roots have been passed on to you? And please explain your love of baby broc on a sub.

JULIE: It's a pork and bitter broccoli hoagie and it's manna from heaven! Tony Luke's aside, I'd say all of his roots are passed on... half my family remains in South Philly and South Jersey, I've spent a huge amount of my childhood there... I don't know who I'd be without my south philly roots, from family to values to social roles to food. It's almost like growing up in Hollywood comes second to the family life back there in terms of influence and who I am. Which is a good thing. You didn't ask the big question, though, Pat's or Geno's - our answer, PAT'S!!!

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FLIP: How has your unique upbringing come to play in your creative work?

JULIE: I don't know if it has. Growing up so close to and seeing how difficult things could be around the creative industry, I think perhaps my parents' raising my brother and me so 'normally' counteracted the negativity I saw just enough for me to be able to pursue a creative career, but it hasn't been easy. I thank him for letting me know it was okay to go to CalArts, after three pretty unhappy years spent pretty uselessly at UCLA. If it wasn't for my my folks' support and agreement- especially Dad's, as it was art school - I would never have applied, let alone attended.

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