MICHELLE FORBES: Mysterious Maenad

August 29, 2009 by  


Photo Source: HBO, Inc.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Michelle Renee Forbes, always dreamed she would be a ballet dancer.  Even though, by her own admission, she was “dreadfully shy” as a child, she gravitated towards the arts and eventually attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston when she was 16.  While still in high school, she was signed to the legendary William Morris Agency and, upon graduation, moved to New York City to start her professional acting career.  There, Michelle honed her craft by performing in the theater until landing a juicy double role as memorable, mischief-maker “Sonni/Sonita Carrera” on the stalwart soap opera “The Guiding Light” for which Michelle garnered  Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest Award nominations.

After The Guiding Light, Michelle began to work in film, most notably as photographer, Carrie Laughlin in 1993’s “Kalifornia”, starring opposite David Duchoveny and Brad Pitt (for which she was nominated for a Saturn Award), and Dawn Lockard, the female lead in the 1994 black comedy Swimming with Sharks” with Kevin Spacey, just to name a few.

But episodic television seemed to beckon Michelle back to the small screen.  She went on to star in a myriad of memorable recurring roles on acclaimed television shows such as medical examiner, Dr. Julianna Cox on “Homicide: Life on the Street” and as Presidential Advisor, Lynne Kresgeon on  “24”  (SAG Award nomination for Best Ensemble).  Ms. Forbes also has the covetable distinction of being indoctrinated into Science Fiction history for her contributions as Admiral Helena Cain in “Battlestar Gallactica” and, of course, she is forever ingrained into the Star Trek universe for portraying disgraced Bajoran Star Fleet officer Ensign Ro Laren on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.   In addition, if you’re a gamer, you might also recognize her voice from video games like “Chronicles of Riddick” and the very popular “Half-Life 2”.

Of late, Ms. Forbes is being awarded high praise for her starring roles on two HBO hit shows:  “In Treatment” as repressed housewife Kate, of Gabriel Byrne’s therapist character, Paul, and as supernatural Maenad, Maryann Forrestor on “True Blood”. This year, Michelle also joined the cast of the Canadian psychological drama series, Durham County as forensic psychologist, Dr. Penelope Verity, which is set to air in the U.S. on The Movie Network and Movie Central sometime in 2010.

Ms. Forbes resides in London and Los Angeles, the latter where she just completed filming season two of “True Blood”.  Fans hope she will return for more midsummer mischief in season three.  Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, the future doesn’t look so good for ol’ Maryann, especially if Jason Stackhouse has anything to say about it!


True Blood …. Maryann Forrester (14 episodes, 2008-2009)

“Durham County” …. Dr. Pen Verrity (6 episodes, 2009)

“In Treatment” …. Kate (15 episodes, 2008-2009)

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (2009) (VG) (voice) …. Captain Gail Revas

“Wonderland” …. Dr. Lyla Garrity (8 episodes, 2000-2009)

Diplomacy (2009) …. U.S. Secretary of State

“Lost” …. Karen Decker (1 episode, 2008)

“Waking the Dead” …. Sarah (3 episodes, 2007-2008)

Half-Life 2: Episode Two (2007) (VG) (voice) …. Dr. Judith Mossman

Unthinkable (2007) (TV) …. Jamie McDowell

“Boston Legal” …. Juliette Monroe (1 episode, 2006)

Half-Life 2: Episode One (2006) (VG) (voice) …. Dr. Judith Mossman

“Prison Break” …. Samantha Brinker (7 episodes, 2005-2006)

“Holby City” …. Rhetta Slattery (1 episode, 2006)

“Battlestar Galactica” …. Admiral Helena Cain

“The Inside” …. Zoya Petikof (1 episode, 2005)

“Alias” …. Dr. Maggie Sinclair (1 episode, 2005)

Global Frequency (2005) (TV) …. Miranda Zero

“Love Is the Drug” …. Reena (3 episodes, 2004)

Half-Life 2 (2004) (VG) (voice) …. Dr. Judith Mossman

Al Roach: Private Insectigator (2004) …. Dede Dragonfly

Messiah: The Promise (2004) (TV) …. Susan Metcalfe

Dandelion (2004) …. Mrs. Voss

“24” …. Lynne Kresge (18 episodes, 2002-2003)

“Fastlane” …. Lena (1 episode, 2002)

American Girl (2002/I) …. Madge Grubb

Messiah 2: Vengeance Is Mine (2002) (TV)

Johnson County War (2002) (TV) …. Rory Hammett

“Strong Medicine” …. Assistant District Attorney Jill Sorenson

Messiah (2001) (TV) …. Susan Metcalfe

Perfume (2001) …. Francene

“The District” …. Helen York (7 episodes, 2000)

Bullfighter (2000) …. Mary

Homicide: The Movie (2000) (TV) …. Dr. Julianna Cox

“Brimstone” …. Assistant D.A. Julia Trent (1 episode, 1998)

“Homicide: Life on the Street” …. Dr. Julianna Cox (32 episodes, 1996-1998)

Dry Martini (1998) …. Valeria

The Prosecutors (1996) (TV) …. Dist. Atty. Rachel Simone

Escape from L.A. (1996) …. Brazen

“The Outer Limits” …. Jamie Pratt (1 episode, 1996)

Black Day Blue Night (1995) …. Rinda Woolley

The Chosen One (1995) …. The Mother

Just Looking (1995) …. Mary

“Seinfeld” …. Julie (1 episode, 1994)?    – The Big Salad

Swimming with Sharks (1994) …. Dawn Lockard

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” …. Ensign Ro Laren (9 episodes, 1991-1994)

The Road Killers (1994) …. Helen

Kalifornia (1993) …. Carrie Laughlin

Love Bites (1993) …. Nerissa

“Shannon’s Deal” (1 episode, 1991)

“Father Dowling Mysteries” …. Gym Instructor (1 episode, 1991)

“The Guiding Light” (1952) TV series …. Dr. Sonni Wells  Carrera (1987-1989)


  • Nadeen

    That was such a good article! I have watched Michelle Forbes since Star Trek to In Treatment, she is such a talented actress.

    She was the perfect choice for the Maenad; throughout the season I was OMG she is crazy and scary and funny….only Michelle Forbes could have pulled off all those emotions!

    Michelle Forbes’ Maenad is one of the best tv scifi/horror villians!

    • Thanks Nadeen!
      I really appreciate the comments! I whole-heartedly agree! She is the penultimate actress to play this role and she does it with such aplomb!
      Thanks for reading!