Naomi Foner

Naomi Foner

Highest Rated: 50% A Dangerous Woman (1993)

Lowest Rated: 19% Very Good Girls (2013)

Birthday: Mar 15, 1946

Birthplace: New York, New York, USA

The mother of Hollywood stars Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Naomi Foner began her behind-the-camera career with a ten-year stint at The Children's Television Workshop, before branching out into screenwriting, winning a Golden Globe for "Running On Empty" (1988), and then directing with coming-of-age tale "Very Good Girls" (2013). Born in New York City in 1946 to doctor parents, Foner cut her teeth in educational children's television, creating animated shorts for "Sesame Street" (PBS, 1970- ) and serving as associate producer on two seasons of "The Electric Company" (PBS, 1971-77) where she also made her on-screen debut as Naomi in the spoof soap opera segment, "Love of Chair." Foner then helped to create "The Best of Families" (PBS, 1977), a 19th Century drama based on three families of different social classes, and wrote one-off episodes of anthology series "Visions" (PBS, 1976-1980) and prime-time soap opera "Secrets of Midland Heights" (CBS, 1980-81) before achieving her first film screenwriting credit on "Violets Are Blue" (1986), a romantic drama in which a famous photographer reunites with her married high school sweetheart on her return to her hometown. Two years later, her talents were recognized by the Golden Globes when she picked up Best Original Screenplay for "Running On Empty" (1988), an intelligent drama in which River Phoenix's young pianist attempts to escape his fugitive lifestyle with his anti-war activist parents. Her next two ventures, in which she took on both writer and producer roles, were more of a family affair. "A Dangerous Woman" (1993), the melodramatic tale of a mentally-ill cleaner who becomes involved with a local handyman, and "Losing Isaiah" (1995), the story of a bitter custody battle between a young boy's natural and adopted mothers, were both directed by then-husband Stephen Gyllenhaal, while the former also saw her two children share the screen for the first time. Following production work on marijuana-based crime comedy "Homegrown" (1998), Foner took a break from the industry before returning to pen the screenplay for "Bee Season" (2005), the adaptation of Myla Goldberg's 2000 novel in which a controlling Religious Studies professor and his family embark on a spiritual quest via the world of competitive spelling. Drawing upon her own experiences, Foner then made her directorial debut with "Very Bad Girls" (2013), a coming-of-age tale based on two New York girls, whose friendship is tested when they both fall in love with the same street artist.



19% 33% Very Good Girls Director,
- 2013
43% 35% Bee Season Writer (Screenplay) $1.2M 2005
44% 50% Homegrown Executive Producer $271.4K 1998
45% 73% Losing Isaiah Producer,
$3.7M 1995
50% 31% A Dangerous Woman Producer,
$1.1M 1993


87% 90% Enlightened Naomi (Guest Star) 2011


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