LatinoLA Interview: Marlene Forte Returns to Dallas TV Series
She’s a shining example of how women can “make it” in Hollywood on their own terms.
Marlene Forte is slated to return to “Dallas” as the popular TV drama series uncorks the second half of Season 3 on Monday, August 18 on TNT.
Forte plays series regular Carmen Ramos, the Ewing family’s longtime Mary Poppins-like superintendent and the matriarch of the Ramos clan & mother of Elena, played by Jordana Brewster.
Marlene Forte’s Hollywood success story 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. That’s a late start for most occupations; in Hollywood it’s nearly unheard of. But for Cuban-born girl named for one of Tinseltown’s brightest stars (Marlene Dietrich) perhaps the journey was predestined.
Forte has carved for herself a successful if unlikely career. She has done it all — she has experienced motherhood, owned a business — a video store — and lived a full life before setting foot on a stage. Now with an acting career spanning over three decades, Forte is enjoying a hell of ride carrying an acting dossier that may very well rival some of the most prominent Latinas in the industry.
After decades in the industry, Forte is one of those familiar faces to which you’d have trouble putting the name. Yet you’ve seen here everywhere simply because she’s played them all.
In fact, her work reads like the ultimate directory of television – from “Crossing Jordan”, “The George Lopez Show”, “The Mentalist”, “Law & Order”, “Bones”, “Daybreak”, “The West Wing”, “ER”, “Lost”, “Castle” to “House of Payne”, “24”, ” Community”, and “The Secret Life Of The American Teenager” among many others.
On the movie side, she played the transporter chief in the 2009 JJ Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot; Mrs. Glass in “Real Women Have Curves”; and the unforgettable Pilar Brown in “Our Song” opposite Kerry Washington (“Scandal”). She appeared recently in the Marlon Wayans’ parnormal’esque parody “A Haunted House”, and Tyler Perry’s “A Single Mom’s Club” (her second time working with the award-winning director). She will next be seen in the indie movie “Assassination of a Citizen” playing a female Walter White in gang-central East LA.
Of course, her recurring role in TNT’s relaunched “Dallas” playing Carmen Ramos has made her even more recognizable and admired.
As her star fast-steadily continues to rise, so are the accolades. Last year, The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) – the nation’s longest running active arts advocacy organization for Latino actors – honored her with a HOLA Award for “Excellence in Television”. Most recently she received a “Pioneer Award” at the 2014 Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival and an “Artist Award” from Union City.
Today Marlene Forte is still doing it all. She continues to do shorts and live theater, to work on web projects (notably the Imagen Award winner “Ysle” with Ruth Livier), to tackle indie films and big budget movies, and pop in some of TV’s high-profiled series and sitcoms, including the cult-classic international smash “Dallas”.
And as she is keeping that acting bug rolling and the roles coming, she most definitely provides a shining example of how women can “make it” in Hollywood on their own terms.