Helen Shaver (born February 24, 1951 or 1952) is a Canadian actress and film and television director.
Shaver was born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and grew up in a small town near Toronto, Ontario with her five sisters. As a child, she suffered from rheumatic fever and was forced to spend six months of each year in bed. She dated screenplay writer Stephen C. Peters. Shaver is now married to top key grip Steve Smith (whom she met on the set of Desert Hearts); they have a son.
In 1985, she appeared in the film Desert Hearts as a 1950s university professor who falls in love with another woman, for which she won the Bronze Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival. Shaver's performance, as well as realistic love scenes with co-star Patricia Charbonneau, drew critical praise.
Her most prominent film appearance came in 1986 as the love interest opposite Paul Newman in his Oscar-winning portrayal of "Fast Eddie Felson" in The Color of Money, a sequel to 1961's The Hustler. In 1990 she guested as the murderer in Columbo: Rest In Peace, Mrs. Columbo. She also appeared on television programs such as Hill Street Blues, T. J. Hooker and as the title character of the short-lived series, Jessica Novak.
In 2000, she won a Genie Award for her portrayal of a drug-addicted prostitute in the independent feature We All Fall Down. In 2003 she won a Gemini award for best direction in a dramatic series for the Just Cause television series. In 2004, she was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.
Shaver has also carved out a career for herself as a director with a number of television shows and cable movies to her credit, including The Outer Limits, Judging Amy, Joan of Arcadia, Medium, The OC, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The L Word, Jericho, and Journeyman. She made her feature-length directorial debut in 1999 with Summer's End; the film went on to win an Emmy.
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