Jan. 8th, 1965
Austin, Texas, USA
Michelle Forbes' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Born in Austin, Texas, Forbes – originally hoping to become a ballet dancer – 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 it did not pan out, she nevertheless signed with the William Morris Agency and began her professional acting career. In 1987, at the age of 22, she landed the dual roles of Solita Carrera and Sonni Carrera Lewis on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light. She remained with the show for two years, receiving a Daytime Emmy Award nomimation 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 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 did continue making occasional appearances 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 an ABC series called Wonderland, but this show was pulled from the air after only two episodes. Forbes was next seen in a recurring role on 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 critically-acclaimed 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 adaption 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.
- A Star Trek action figure was made in the likeness of Ensign Ro Laren, her character on the series.
- Moved to New York at the age of 16 to make it as an actress.
- Forbes' F.B.I. Agent Pratt character from "The Outer Limits" (1995) episode "A Stitch in Time" was originally named in the script Perrin.
- Prior to introducing the character of Ensign Ro Laren in episode 5.3, "Ensign Ro" of _"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)_ (qv), she appeared in a small part in episode 4.22, "Half A Life" as the daughter of Dr. Timicin, played by 'David Ogden Stiers' (qv).
- A Texan, spent some time in nearby Oklahoma in the 90s.
- After appearing in _"Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)_ (qv) as Ro Laren, she was approached to play the same character in a starring role on _"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993)_ (qv). When she turned down the part, because she didn't want to commit to a regular TV role at that point in her career, a new Bajoran character, Kira Nerys, was created and 'Nana Visitor' (qv) was cast in that part.
- In order to play the deaf character of Susan Metcalfe on the BBC series "Messiah", she learned British Sign Language within six days.