Arthur Forrest grew up as a first-generation American in New York City in the 1930’s and ‘40’s. His first television job was as a janitor at the Dumont Network after they began broadcasting in the late 1940's. He quickly rose to page and soon after camera operator, where his work was featured on the POV-detective series The Plainclothesman, and he worked with Jackie Gleason on his first show, Cavalcade of Stars. After being promoted to a Staff Director at DuMont, Forrest worked on dozens of shows with varied formats like talk shows, sporting events and children’s programming. After DuMont’s collapse, Forrest stayed with the reformed network that eventually became Metromedia, continuing to direct shows of different formats.
While directing a talk show in the 1960’s, Forrest came to meet Jerry Lewis at the height of his movie stardom, and their relationship lead to Forrest taking on the direction of Lewis’s Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Forrest directed and eventually produced the telethon as the program grew from a small 2.5 hour production to the 24 hour show it was famous for, and Forrest helped arrange the telethon’s most famous moment, the only on-screen appearance of Lewis with Dean Martin after the comedy duo’s breakup.
Forrest’s wide range of credits include live events like The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, The Tournament of Roses Parade, and The NAACP Image Awards, talk shows like The Mike Douglas Show, The Dick Cavett Show, Leeza, and The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Variety shows like Donny & Marie, That’s Incredible!, and Whose Line Is It Anyway?
For his directorial achievements, Forrest has won three Daytime Emmy Awards, for Leeza, and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1996, and The Rosie O’Donnell Show in 1999, and has been nominated a total of 12 times. He was nominated for a DGA Award in 1998 for Outstanding Achievement in Musical/Variety for The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Forrest served on the DGA’s Eastern Directors Council from 1974-1976 and was a member of the 1987 Negotiating Committee.