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Helen Shaver Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (8)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Birth NameHelen Jane Shaver
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Helen Shaver has built a lasting legacy, both behind and in front of the camera. She has directed hundreds of hours of television ranging from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) to Castle (2009), from The Unit (2006) to The Outer Limits (1995). Her film, Summer's End (1999), a Showtime feature starring James Earl Jones, won multiple Emmy awards for Outstanding Children's Special, Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special and Helen was nominated for her direction. Her producing credits include Judging Amy (1999) for CBS, Showtime's Due East (2002) starring Cybill Shepherd and Robert Forster and the independent feature We All Fall Down (2000), for which she also received a Best Supporting Actress award.

It was Martin Scorsese who first suggested Helen direct. Working with him and other such greats as Steven Spielberg, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Peckinpah, Brian De Palma, Helen amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in the collaborative world of cinematic storytelling.

Helen first appeared on the silver screen at 22 years old, starring in a series of award-winning Canadian films; Best Supporting Actress for Who Has Seen The Wind and Best Actress for In Praise of Older Women (1978). Hollywood took note and in 1977 she co-starred in The Amityville Horror (1979) directed by Stuart Rosenberg. Larry Gelbart's United States (1980), Martin Scorsese's, The Color of Money (1986), John Schlesinger's The Believers (1987), Donna Deitch's Desert Hearts (1985), Andrew Fleming's The Craft (1996), and a trip to China with Donald Sutherland to realize Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990) broadened her education.

MAWD (Mother Actress Wife Director), Helen's production company, has three theatrical features in development, as well as a feature-length documentary. MAWD continues to expand becoming an umbrella for young filmmakers who Helen has mentored.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Helen Shaver

This Canadian actress started acting as a late teen in theatre, receiving critical acclaim in her homeland over the years. Hollywood has not been as generous. Although she has worked alongside some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy in Best Defense (1984), Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in The Color of Money (1986), Martin Sheen in The Believers (1987), and Peter Boyle in Born to Be Wild (1995), it has been her gutsy, more potent portrayals back home that have reaped the trophies and respect. So far, she has won bookend Genie Awards for both "Best Actress" in In Praise of Older Women (1978) and "Supporting Actress" in We All Fall Down (2000). Helen has always courted controversy, none more so than for her sexually-charged role in the afore-mentioned film, In Praise of Older Women (1978), and for her later performance in Desert Hearts (1985), which featured a torrid lesbian love scene that is still considered one of the most erotic in movie history. Helen eventually stepped behind the camera, directing television segments of The Outer Limits (1995), Judging Amy (1999) and Joan of Arcadia (2003), among many others. Raised in a small city in Ontario, about 120 miles southwest of Toronto, Ontario with her five sisters, Helen suffered from rheumatic fever as a child and was forced to spend six months of each year in bed. She says this triggered her imagination and desire to become an actress. In 1992, Helen received a Theatre World Award for her Broadway stage role in "Jake's Women". Her third husband is key grip Steve Smith and they have one son.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

Steve Smith (9 October 1988 - present) ( 1 child)
Steven Reuther (29 October 1979 - 21 July 1982) ( divorced)
Rankin Smith (? - ?) ( divorced)

Trivia (8)

Her direction of James Earl Jones in Summer's End (1999) led to a "Best Picture" award at the 1999 Chicago International Children's Film Festival and a Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Children's Special".
In Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996), her character, Kate 'White' Reilly, is supposed to be a former Playboy centerfold model for October 1974. The actual Playmate for October 1974 was Ester Cordet, a dark-skinned black-haired Panamanian whose appearance is very much different from the blonde Ms. Shaver's.
Received a phone call from legend Greta Garbo after the release of the film Desert Hearts (1985). Garbo praised Helen's performance.
Met husband Steve Smith during the filming of Desert Hearts (1985). She was the lead actress and he was the key grip.
Provided the uncredited voice of actress Deborah Shelton's character in Body Double (1984).
Auditioned for the role of Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager (1995), which went to Kate Mulgrew.
Plays the piano and is a proficient downhill skier.
Received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario in 2004.

Personal Quotes (4)

[on acting] "It's a willingness to be naked, whether you have your clothes on or not, to strip away those parts of you that stand in the way of the truth of any individual - fascinating!"
Every human being grows beneath a woman's heart. I am a woman. Literally, a human being has grown under my heart. And I am an artist. Ibsen said there is a truth shared by women, children and artists that men will never know.
[on the death of former husband Steven Reuther] In the course of his last year alive, I was in L.A. a lot and saw him a fair amount. I really got to see how hard it is to die, how much energy it takes to die, how singular an experience it is - that you can only die by yourself, and no one can die with you. You stand on the porch, and the threshold is there, and that final step you do by yourself. And the distraction of others trying to keep you alive, or trying to make them feel okay about your dying, takes the energy away from the one last thing you have to do in your life.
[on her role as the director of Down River (2013)] I invite, I seduce, I cajole. I get my actors to give me everything, and they do - mostly because I'm patient. It was interesting to see if I could still do it.

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