Maya Forbes

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Maya Forbes
Maya Forbes (right) at "Cinema Cafe" at the Sundance Festival, January 17, 2014
Maya C. Forbes

(1968-07-23) July 23, 1968 (age 55)
Alma materHarvard University
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, producer, director
Years active1995–present
(m. 2004)
RelativesChina Forbes (sister)

Maya Forbes (born July 23, 1968) is an American screenwriter and television producer. She made her debut as a film director with Infinitely Polar Bear (2014).[2][3] Her other writing credits include the screenplay of The Rocker (2008) and many episodes of The Larry Sanders Show. She was a co-executive producer of The Larry Sanders Show in its later seasons and executive producer of the sitcom The Naked Truth.

Forbes received Emmy and WGA Award nominations for her work on The Larry Sanders Show.

Life and career[edit]

Forbes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the daughter of Peggy (née Woodford) and Donald Cameron Forbes (1939–1998). Her father was of French/Scottish descent, and her mother is African American.

Forbes is married to Wally Wolodarsky,[4] who was co-screenwriter of The Rocker and a producer of Infinitely Polar Bear. China Forbes (lead singer of Pink Martini) is Maya Forbes's sister.[2] Both she and her sister attended Phillips Exeter Academy, as did their father, graduating in 1986, 1988, and 1957, respectively.[5] She attended Harvard, where she wrote for the Harvard Lampoon, graduating in 1990.[6] Both her sister and father also attended Harvard, graduating in 1992 and 1961, respectively. Part of the prominent Boston Brahmin elite Forbes family through her father's side, she is related to U.S. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry and his brother acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Cameron Forbes Kerry.

Forbes based Infinitely Polar Bear on her own experiences as a child in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when her father—who had bipolar disorder—was the primary caregiver for Forbes and her sister while their mother was studying for an MBA at Columbia Business School in New York City.[2] Her mother, upon graduating, went to work for Wall Street, first in the futures market at E. F. Hutton, and then for Merrill Lynch, where she remained for nearly a decade. Her mother was the first African American woman to start an investment management firm in growth equity management in the United States.[7]

Imogene Wolodarsky, Forbes's 12-year-old daughter, plays a fictionalized version of Forbes in Infinitely Polar Bear.[8] (The character's name is Amelia Stuart, but the film is described as autobiographical.)


  1. ^ Callaghan, Dylan. "Married to Their Work". Writers Guild of America, West. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c John Horn (2014-01-21). "Maya Forbes revisits her childhood in 'Infinitely Polar Bear'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  3. ^ Peter Debruge (2013-12-17). "10 Directors to Watch: Maya Forbes to Unleash 'Polar Bear' at Sundance". Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  4. ^ Dylan Callaghan (c. 2009). "Married to Their Work". Writers Guild of America, West. Archived from the original on 2014-10-18. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
  5. ^ Ewing, Bill. "China Forbes '88: Finding Her Own Voice". The Exeter Bulletin. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  6. ^ O'Falt, Chris (January 16, 2014). "Sundance Preview: Mark Ruffalo's Very Personal 'Infinitely Polar Bear'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Peggy Woodford Forbes: Executive Profile & Biography". Businessweek. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  8. ^ Claudia Puig (2014-01-23). "This year, Sundance films take family to a new level". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-10-10.

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