Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
March 15, 1946
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Barnard College (BA)|
Columbia University (MA)
(m. 1965; div. 1977)
(m. 1977; div. 2009)
Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal (née Achs; born March 15, 1946) is an American screenwriter and director. She is the mother of actor and actress Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Foner was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the daughter of doctors Ruth (née Silbowitz; 1920–1968) and Samuel Achs (1919–2014). Her parents were both of Jewish ancestry. Her aunt was Freda (Silbowitz) Hertz (1915–2013), a lawyer. She was raised in a family of "high-achieving New York Jews." Her Ashkenazi Jewish grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe (Latvia and Poland).
She attended Barnard College in New York City, graduating with a BA degree in English. She later earned an MA degree in developmental psychology from Columbia University.
She has written the screenplays for several feature films, including Running on Empty (for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay and won a Golden Globe Award for the same category), Losing Isaiah, and most recently Bee Season. She was the Naomi referenced in the line "...what about Naomi?" at the end of each Love of Chair segment of The Electric Company, where she was an associate producer for two seasons.
In 2013, she made her directorial debut with Very Good Girls, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival before attaining online and theatrical distribution in the U.S. with Tribeca Film. She collaborated on a script for an American-Chinese co-production titled Moon Flower of Flying Tigers, which was to be co-produced by Ann An and Paula Wagner and based upon the book by Gao Demin.
Naomi Foner's first husband was Eric Foner, a historian and Columbia University professor, whom she married in 1965 and divorced in 1977. Her second marriage, 1977–2009, was to film director Stephen Gyllenhaal. They have collaborated professionally and have two children together, actors Maggie Gyllenhaal (b. 1977) and Jake Gyllenhaal (b. 1980).
Naomi Foner: "I certainly think of myself as Jewish and I tried to bring up my children think of themselves as Jews."