Helen Shaver

Helen Shaver (born February 24, 1951) is a Canadian actress[1] and film and television director. She has received Emmy and Saturn Award nominations, among other honours.

Helen Shaver
Born (1951-02-24) February 24, 1951
OccupationActress, director
Years active1972–present
Steven Reuther
(m. 1979; div. 1982)

Steve Smith (m. 1988)

Early life

Shaver was born and raised, with five sisters, in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, a small city located near London, Ontario. As a child, she suffered from chronic rheumatic fever and, between the ages of five and twelve, was forced to spend six months of each year in bed or in hospitals, which she said fostered her introspective side. She attended the Banff School of Fine Arts as a teenager and studied acting at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.


After roles in such Canadian features as Outrageous! (1977), Starship Invasions (1977), Who Has Seen the Wind (1977) and High Ballin' (1978), Shaver won a Canadian Film Award as Best Lead Actress opposite Tom Berenger (for her performance as "Ann MacDonald") in In Praise of Older Women (1978).

Shaver was one of the stars of director Sam Peckinpah's final film, 1983's The Osterman Weekend. In 1985, Shaver starred in Desert Hearts as a 1950s university professor who falls in love with another woman.[1] Her performance, with co-star Patricia Charbonneau, drew critical praise and Shaver won the Bronze Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival. Another prominent film performance during that time came in 1986 as the love interest of Paul Newman in his Oscar-winning portrayal of "Fast" Eddie Felson in Scorsese's The Color of Money, a sequel to 1961's The Hustler.

In 1980, Shaver starred with Beau Bridges in the short-lived NBC TV series United States developed by Larry Gelbart. A year later she starred in the short-lived drama series Jessica Novak. She subsequently appeared on such television shows as Hill Street Blues and T. J. Hooker. In 1990, she guest-starred as the murderer in Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo, and later that year co-starred on the short-lived series WIOU, playing a television journalist (as she also did on Jessica Novak). From 1996-1999, Shaver co-starred on the TV series Poltergeist: The Legacy, playing Dr. Rachel Corrigan, a widowed psychiatrist with an eight-year-old daughter who is helped by the Legacy in the pilot episode; her performance earned a Saturn Award nomination. In 2000, she won a Genie Award for her portrayal of a drug-addicted prostitute in the independent feature We All Fall Down.

Shaver made her feature-length directorial debut in 1999 with Summer's End, which won an Emmy and earned her a directorial nomination. Shaver has also directed a number of television shows and cable movies, including The Outer Limits, Judging Amy, Joan of Arcadia, Medium, The OC, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The L Word, Jericho, Journeyman, Private Practice, The Unit, Crusoe, Orphan Black and 13 Reasons Why. In 2003 she won a Gemini award for Best Direction in a Dramatic Series for the Just Cause television series episode "Death's Details".

In 2004, Shaver was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.[2]

Personal life

Shaver dated screenwriter Stephen C. Peters, and is now married to Steve Smith, the key grip she met during the filming of Desert Hearts. They have a son, Mackenzie.



Year Title Role Notes
1976 The Supreme Kid Girl Hitch-hiker Make-up
1976 Shoot Paula
1977 Outrageous! Jo
1977 Starship Invasions Betty Duncan
1977 Who Has Seen the Wind Ruth Thompson
1978 High-Ballin' Pickup
1978 In Praise of Older Women Ann MacDonald
1979 The Amityville Horror Carolyn
1980 Coming Out Alive Isobel
1981 Gas Rhonda
1982 Harry Tracy, Desperado Catherine Tuttle
1983 The Osterman Weekend Virginia Tremayne
1984 Best Defense Clair Lewis
1985 Desert Hearts Vivian Bell
1985 The War Boy Maria
1986 Lost! Linda
1986 The Men's Club Sarah
1986 The Color of Money Janelle
1987 The Believers Jessica Halliday
1988 The Land Before Time Littlefoot's mother
1989 Tree of Hands Benet Archdale
1990 Bethune: The Making of a Hero Mrs. Dowd
1991 A Smile in the Dark The Devil
1992 Zebrahead Diane
1992 That Night Ann O'Connor
1993 Morning Glory Lula Peak
1995 Open Season Rachel Rowen
1995 Born to Be Wild Margaret Heller
1996 The Craft Grace Downs
1996 Rowing Through Slim
1996 Tremors 2: Aftershocks Kate 'White' Reilly Video
1996 Egg Salad Gladys Short
1999 The Wishing Tree Wallis
2000 Bear with Me Sara Bradley
2000 We All Fall Down Sherry
2004 The Keeper Ruthie
2007 Numb Audrey Milbank
2013 Birthday Cake Judith Ferguson
2013 Down River Pearl


Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Beachcombers "Affairs of the Heart"
1974 Police Surgeon Gloria "The Killer"
1975 Police Surgeon Bonnie "Web of Guilt"
1977 Search and Rescue: The Alpha Team Dr. Liz Warren TV film
1978 Lovey: A Circle of Children, Part II Patty TV film
1979 Overlanders Mrs. O'Mara TV film
1980 United States Libby Chapin Main role
1981 Jessica Novak Jessica Novak Main role
1982 Between Two Brothers Susan Frazer TV film
1982 Off Your Rocker Miss Beecher TV film
1982 Hill Street Blues Teresa Hyler 4
1983 T. J. Hooker Lisa Jericho "The Shadow of Truth"
1984 Countdown to Looking Glass Dorian Waldorf TV film
1985 The Park Is Mine Valery TV film
1986 Amazing Stories Karen "Mirror, Mirror"
1986 Philip Marlowe, Private Eye Belle Delaguerra "Spanish Blood"
1986 The Edison Twins Phyllis Dayton "The Case of the Friendly Fugitive", "Gems and Jelly Beans", "The Maharajah of Weston"
1986 Many Happy Returns Sally Robinson TV film
1988 The Ray Bradbury Theater Miss Haight "The Emissary"
1988 No Blame Amy Donaldson TV film
1989 B.L. Stryker Diane Decker "The Dancer's Touch"
1989 Mothers, Daughters and Lovers Claire Nichols TV film
1990 Pair of Aces Rose TV film
1990 Columbo Vivian Dimitri "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo"
1990-91 WIOU Kelby Robinson Main role
1992 E.N.G. Sandra Brady "Child's Play"
1992 Fatal Memories Elaine Tipton TV film
1993 Survive the Night Stacy TV film
1993 Poisoned by Love: The Kern County Murders Edie Ballew TV film
1993 Trial & Error Katherine Woodfield TV film
1994 The Forget-Me-Not Murders Monique TV film
1994 Ride with the Wind Katherine Barnes TV film
1994 Without Consent Nora Fields TV film
1994 Janek: The Silent Betrayal Monique Dessier TV film
1995 Falling for You Mary TV film
1995 The Outer Limits Cathy Kress "The Sandkings"
1996-99 Poltergeist: The Legacy Dr. Rachel Corrigan Main role
1997 Dead Man's Gun Dianna McKinney "Next of Kin"
1998 The Sweetest Gift Mrs. Martin TV film
1999 The First Gentleman Marjorie Litchfield TV Film
2000 Common Ground Janet TV film
2001-02 The Education of Max Bickford Erica Bettis Main role
2003 The Risen Lynn Todd TV film
2003 D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear Sandy Moose TV film
2004 The L Word Faye Buckley "Luck, Next Time", "Liberally"
2004 The 4400 Barbara Yates "Becoming", "Trial by Fire"
2008 A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride Rose TV film


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