Michelle Renee Forbes Guajardo, born January 8, 1965 in Austin, Texas, and known professionally as Michelle Forbes, is an American actress who plays the Maryann Forrester on the HBO original series True Blood. Making her debut on the episode "I Don't Wanna Know" in the series' first season, Michelle plays the role of a Maenad. Donning a bull's head helmet, Michelle was a mysterious and powerful immortal being who worshiped the god Dionysus. Possessing the power to transform into a clawed bull-like monster and manipulate human beings, Michelle plays a recurring role through the series' first and second seasons. Meeting an untimely demise on the episode "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'", at the end of the series' second season, Michelle is a guest starring actress who was seen once more, in a flashback on the episode "In the Beginning", in the series' fifth season.
Michelle has built a career of work in television and independent film and has acted in productions in both the United States and in the United Kingdom. Forbes first gained attention from her dual role in daytime soap opera Guiding Light, for which she received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination.
Although she has appeared in significant roles in movies such as Escape From LA, Kalifornia and Swimming with Sharks, Forbes is perhaps best known for her recurring appearances on genre and drama shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Homicide: Life on the Street during the 1990s, while building her career with roles throughout the 2000s in Battlestar Galactica, 24, In Treatment and True Blood.
Born in Austin, Texas, Forbes hoped to become a ballet dancer. She began receiving formal acting training at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. While on vacation in New York City at the age of 16, she found herself auditioning for a film; although she was not selected, she signed with the William Morris Agency and began her professional acting career. In 1987, at age 22, she landed the dual roles of Solita Carrera and Sonni Carrera Lewis on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light. She performed on the show for two years, receiving a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her performance in 1990.
After this role, she continued in theater, which was an early love of hers, and began appearing in small guest roles on television to raise her profile. She went on to make guest appearances on a few other TV shows (including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Father Dowling Mysteries) before landing the recurring role of Ro Laren on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Her portrayal of disgraced Bajoran Starfleet officer Ensign Ro won her many fans among the genre community, and her character quickly became a favorite despite appearing in just eight episodes.
Rather than reprise the role of Ro for spin-off Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Forbes declined the offer for a primary role in that series and decided to focus on a career in films. She received praise, as well as a Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, for her performance as the photographer Carrie Laughlin in the 1993 thriller Kalifornia. This was followed with the lead female role in the acclaimed 1994 black comedy Swimming with Sharks, as well as supporting roles in such films as The Road Killers, Just Looking and John Carpenter's 1996 science fiction/action sequel Escape from L.A. She continued performing on television during this period, with guest spots on Seinfeld, The Outer Limits, as well as returning to Star Trek: The Next Generation to tie up the Ro Laren storyline in the series' penultimate episode.
In 1996, Forbes joined the cast of NBC's popular police drama Homicide: Life on the Street, playing chief medical examiner Julianna Cox. She remained with the show for two years, then was let go as part of a major cast overhaul (the series would be canceled after one more season). However, she would reprise the role in the 2000 TV special Homicide: The Movie. That same year, Forbes became a regular on Wonderland, an ABC series, but it was pulled from the air after only two episodes. Forbes was next seen in a recurring role on the police drama The District.
She was subsequently given roles in films such as 2001's Perfume and 2002's American Girl, as well as the 2001 British TV movie Messiah (for which she studied British sign language for a week) and its sequel installments: Messiah 2: Vengeance is Mine in 2002 and Messiah III in 2003. During the 2002-2003 TV season, Forbes played the recurring character of Lynne Kresge, the aide to the President of the United States, on the second season of the action series 24.
Actor Dennis Haysbert, who played President Palmer, reportedly was a big Star Trek fan and excited to work with her given her history with the show. She followed her role on 24 with a guest spot on Alias, then went on to play Admiral Helena Cain in three episodes of the re-imagining of the classic sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica, as well as starring in the TV movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor. She followed this up with a recurring role as Agent Samantha Brinker on the drama Prison Break and guest starred on Boston Legal and Lost.
Forbes starred as the lead in comic-book adaptation Global Frequency, the single produced episode of which infamously leaked online the following year, eight months after the series failed to be picked up by Warner Bros networks. This was the first instance of an unaired pilot episode leaking via P2P and BitTorrent clients.
Forbes returned to British television screens with guest roles in both Holby City and as a Mossad agent in Waking The Dead. In 2008, Forbes starred in two HBO drama series; In Treatment, portraying the wife of the central character, and in True Blood as a Maenad named Maryann. She reprised her semi-regular roles in both series in their respective second seasons in 2009, as well as joining the cast of the Canadian psychological drama series Durham County for its second season as Dr. Penelope Verity. In 2011, Michelle is working with fellow True Blood star Deborah Ann Woll, on the film Highland Park.
- Highland Park (2011)
- The Killing (2011)
- True Blood (2008-2009)
- Prison Break (2005-2006)
- 24 (2002-2003)
- Homicide: Life on the Street (1996-1998)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991-1994)
- Named Entertainment Weekly's Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Season 2)
|Season one appearances|
|"Strange Love"||"The First Taste"||"Mine"||"Escape from Dragon House"|
|"Sparks Fly Out"||"Cold Ground"||"Burning House of Love"||"Fourth Man in the Fire"|
|"Plaisir D'Amour"||"I Don't Wanna Know"||"To Love Is to Bury"||"You'll Be the Death of Me"|
|Season two appearances|
|"Nothing but the Blood"||"Keep This Party Going"||"Scratches"||"Shake and Fingerpop"|
|"Never Let Me Go"||"Hard-Hearted Hannah"||"Release Me"||"Timebomb"|
|"I Will Rise Up"||"New World in My View"||"Frenzy"||"Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"|
|Season five appearances|
|"Turn! Turn! Turn!"||"Authority Always Wins"||"Whatever I Am, You Made Me"||"We’ll Meet Again"|
|"Let's Boot and Rally"||"Hopeless"||"In the Beginning"||"Somebody That I Used to Know"|
|"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"||"Gone, Gone, Gone"||"Finally"||"Save Yourself"|
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