With a name like Marlene Forte, one can only expect to meet a woman of great strength and determination. And that she is!
Feisty and armed with a wicked sense of humor this talented actress is blessed with that certain fiery Latina charisma.
From Cuba to Union City to Hollywood … maybe not the conventional route, but that suits Marlene Forte just fine. After Decades in the industry, Forte is one of those familiar faces to which you’d have trouble putting the name. Yet she’s certainly played them all. She stands as a successful character actor who has been consistently making her marks on both the small and big screens with a slew of roles running the gamut of genres. She has worked with the likes of Tyler Perry, Marlon Wayans, Paul Haggis, and JJ Abrams to name a few!
The story that lies behind Marlene Forte’s Hollywood success unfolds like a rags-to-riches movie script, it is a story that not only anyone can relate to, but also feel inspired from.
When Marlene turned 30, she decided to become an actress; her life-long dream. That’s a late start for most occupations; in Hollywood it’s nearly unheard of. But for this Cuban born girl named for one of Tinsel-Town’s brightest stars (Marlene Dietrich) perhaps the journey was predestined.
Starting in Havana, Cuba, she migrated to NYC at the age of 9 months with her parents; who later moved the family to a small Cuban enclave across the Hudson River called Union City, New Jersey. She went to high school in West New York, and started a small business in North Bergen. Moving on up the Hudson, she studied English Literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, and did some graduate work at Montclair State University to become a teacher – a true Jersey girl!
Forte opened and ran a video store for six years right out of college, shortly after her divorce from her high school sweetheart. Running her own business would surely leave her time to be an actor! Archway Video became an “intense film education” but left no time to follow her dream. Approaching 30, a single mom, and about to get bullied out by Blockbuster, she got out of the video business and began taking acting classes at The Lee Strasberg School in NYC. Soon after, she snagged a spot has the first official adjunct at LAByrinth Theater Company where she shadowed such actors as John Ortiz, Sam Rockwell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Judy Reyes, Paul Calderon, Gary Perez, Stephen Adly Guirgis, David Zayas, Liza-Colon Zayas and all the rest of her adopted LAB familia! She credits her acting chops to Labyrinth and the amazing artists she has been blessed to work along side with!
The theater is her first love, and having married playwright, Oliver Mayer it was easy for her to step into the co-artistic directing shoes of Company Of Angels (CoA). In her 3-year-term, she helped celebrated the company’s 50th birthday, secure it’s transitional home at the Alexandria Hotel on 5th and Spring Street and she co-directed FABRIC by Henry Ong about human trafficking and modern day slavery in Los Angeles; keeping CoA current and a vital part of the theater scene, and earning several commendations from the City of Los Angeles for the company.
Today, Forte continues to work in all mediums. She works on web projects with friends mostly, and adds that this new platform has “changed the playing field. It’s the wild, wild west out there!” She makes her home in Los Angeles with her husband, dog and cats. In 2014 Ms Forte’s one and only daughter Giselle Marlene Rodriguez-Forte graduated from USC with her Masters in Professional Writing and to day is an Emmy Award winning producer for Conde Nast. Her daughter is her “best production to date!”