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Doing Dallas - Interview with Marlene Forte
by Armando Diaz

Recently I had the pleasure and opportunity to interview
Cuban-born actress and all around talent Marlene Forte.  
Marlene has an impressive and colorful acting resume,
along with an equally colorful and rich background leading
all the way up to her current success.  She’s impressive,
she’s poised and she has been providing a Latina face on
televison for quite some time now.  A seasoned veteran,
Marlene will be a series regular on TNT's revamped
Dallas. She will be playing Carmen Ramos, longtime
Ewing family housekeeper and mother to Elena (played by
Jordana Brewster).
  I’d like to also personally thank Marlene so much for
taking some time to answer a few questions for us today,   
It’s a total pleasure for us to get to know her better here at
Ambiente.

Marlene tell us a little bit about your childhood, where
did you grow up, who were your parents (what did they
do) and what were you like as a little girl?
I was born in Cuba and raised in Hudson County New
Jersey. I was extremely shy has a child. Didn't like to attract
any attention to myself. I am the oldest of 3 girls and the
only one of my sisters born in cuba. My parents both
worked. My dad worked for a british investment company
in NY.  He was a numbers guys and my mom did all sorts
of odd jobs. My dad named all his girls after actresses.
Although I'm not too sure he wanted us to be in the
business.  He kept us off the streets with piano and dance
lessons but I'm pretty sure he didn't want us to go into
show business. He wanted his daughter to be a lawyer.  
He was always supportive though.  I married my high
school sweet heart and had my daughter at a very young
age so I really needed their support.

When did you realize you wanted to be an actress?
I knew I wanted to be actress in 4th grade. I had a
wonderful music teacher who put me onstage and I still
remember looking at the audience from the stage and
knowing I belonged on stage. It took me a long time to
actually get to it.  By the age of 22 I was divorced and I had a daughter. So it took me a while to get on track.

Your sister is a journalist, your daughter is also an actress and you’re married to playwright Oliver Mayer.  Would you say creativity
and media are a family trait?  Tell us about your family.
No one in my family was in the business in the beginning but my dad is a character and I do believe he is the source. He loved American
movies and songs and he always took me to the movies with him. I would blame him! LOL. My daughter is my greatest inspiration. She is
my hero! I always say, " she is my best production to date!"

Food wise what is your greatest guilty pleasure and is there any ritual involved like: sitting in bed or late at night, early in the morning?
My greatest guilty pleasure is ice cream. I love a great gelato! Dulce de leche!

What sign are you and do you consider yourself a typical of that sign?
I was born on the 5th of July so that makes me a Cancer. I am pretty a typical! I love home.  I like to nest.

How did you get started in the business, your first big break tell us that story.
I would say my first break in the business was getting into LAByrinth.  I learned everything I k now about acting in this company. I got
extremely lucky to be a founding member and surrounded myself with very talented people!
Also knowing how to speak Spanish really helped because my first professional job was a Spanish language commercial. Alka Seltzer
Plus! I got into the union this way.

I always ask women this question so I’d like to know do you have a favorite pair of shoes, if so what are they and where do you like to
rock them?  They can be anything so don’t be shy.
I love boots! All kinds of boots! I would live in boots!

As a HUGE Star Trek fan, and I know that you were the transporter chief on the Enterprise! So I have to ask you what was it like to
work on that set and do you have any special memory from your work on Star Trek (2009)?
Star Trek was a real treat.  First it was an offer and that is always nice. I had worked on Lost and JJ just offered me the job right around
Xmas so I had a very nice Xmas that year.  The actual shoot was great. I had 4 different fittings.  Those costumes are custom made for
each actor! And the set was incredible! It was lots of fun!

If you could meet and have dinner with anyone in Hollywood, who would it be?
I would love have met Betty Davis!  Dinner with her would have been amazing!

Your film credits aside from Star Trek (2009), include Real Women Have Curves, Adrift in Manhattan and Deep Blue Breath among
many others.  For your role as Tatita in Little Girl Lost: The Delimar Vera Story, you received an Imagen Foundation Award nomination.  
Tell us about that experience and what did you learn or take with you after playing Tatita.
Little Girl Lost was a true joy for me because Judy and I are really good friends so it was very easy for me to play her sister.  It was also the
biggest role I played in a movie so it was important to track the character thru the movie. It was a great opportunity and people really liked it.  

Do you have an all time favorite movie, if so what is it and why?
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.  I love that movie.  I have seen
it like 50 times and it still creeps me out! Any Betty Davis movie will
do however! She is an acting lesson! I love her!

Marlene you have a simply incredible slew of roles you’ve played
on several TV shows...just for example: House of Payne,
Crossing Jordan, Day Break, Law & Order, ER, CSI, Lost... and I
could keep going.  Among all these do you have any favorite
experience you’d like to share of any of your co-stars?
My favorite co star is Taye Diggs.  I really liked working with him.  
He is a gentleman. And not bad to look at! He was awesome. I did
lots of dancing has a young person. I lived at Xenon every
Thursday night! I was there the day it closed!

What do you like to listen to when you tear it up (dance)?
Now I love Silvio Rodriguez. It's not dance music but I love his
music! He is a troubadour! Celia will always get me on the dance
floor!

Ok so now of course I’d like to ask you about the new reboot of
Dallas, a staple of primetime 80’s television, tell us about
becoming a part of the cast?
I was a fan in the old days.  I am a huge fan of Larry Hagman and I
was very excited to work with him. I loved him in I Dream Of
Jeannie.  He is a doll. Carmen is my mom! A loving and highly
opinionated lady! She loves all those kids and the Ewing family.

Is the show filmed in Texas?
Dallas is completely shot in Dallas.  

Tell us about Carmen Ramos. Who is she and what can we
expect?
Carmen is my mom! A loving and highly opinionated lady! She
loves all those kids and the Ewing family.  She runs that home!
LOL.

If someone came to you seeking advice about the business
what would you tell her?
I really don have much to offer a young actor these days.  Except,
"if you can see yourself doing anything else, then do it!". Acting is a
very tough choice to make if you don't love it! And definitely don't do it to be famous! This is America! There are many opportunity to be
famous! Acting shouldn't be one of them! But if you love it? If you must act, then don't let anyone tell you, you can't!
 

Lastly, what would you like the world to know about Marlene Forte?
What would I like the world to know about me? I am a truly happy person! I love my life and my family...I thank God everyday!



The two hour series premiere of Dallas airs Wednesday  June 13th @ 9p/8p Central.

Marlene’s younger sister is television journalist Lesley Ann Machado. Her daughter is actress Giselle Rodriguez. Shes married to
playwright Oliver Mayer and resides in Miami, FL.




RESOURCES
Marlene Forte Official Website
http://web.mac.com/marleneforte/Site/About_Me.html

DALLAS: The Official Website
http://www.tntdrama.com/series/dallas/

Marlene Forte - Memory Alpha - Star Trek Wiki
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Marlene_Forte



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