Helen Rachel Slater (born December 15, 1963) is an American actress and singer, and songwriter. She appeared as the Kryptonian superheroine in the 1984 film Supergirl. In the following years, she starred in several successful comedy-drama films such as Ruthless People (1986), The Secret of My Success (1987), and City Slickers (1991). She additionally found work as an actress in television, and stage projects, including three guest appearances on the series Smallville (2007–2010). She was a series regular for the two-season run (2011–2013) on the ABC Family series The Lying Game.
In the 2000s, Slater recorded five albums, singing her own compositions and playing the piano.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Slater was born in Bethpage, New York, the daughter of Alice Joan (née Citrin), a lawyer and nuclear disarmament peace activist based in New York City, and Gerald Slater, a television executive; they divorced in 1974. She has a brother, David, who is a lawyer in New York City. Her family is Jewish. Slater attended Great Neck South High School and then transferred to the High School of Performing Arts from which she graduated in 1982.Script error: No such module "Unsubst". Despite common misconception, she is not related to actor Christian Slater, who played her brother in The Legend of Billie Jean.
Film and television work[edit | edit source]
Slater made her acting debut in the ABC Afterschool Special Amy & the Angel, aired in 1982, alongside James Earl Jones, Meg Ryan, and Matthew Modine. This was also the only film she appeared in exclusively as a brunette. In 1984, she played the title character, versus Faye Dunaway as Selena, in the TriStar film Supergirl. The film, directed by Jeannot Szwarc and including big name actors like Mia Farrow and Peter O'Toole, received mixed reviews, and was not a box-office success. The film was cited as a reason for publisher DC killing off the original comics character (Supergirl (Kara Zor-El)) in 1985, though a new "Supergirl" soon appeared. Slater's performance was not generally blamed. The film eventually gained a cult following.
In her next film, Slater was cast alongside Christian Slater and Yeardley Smith as Billie Jean Davy, a folk hero who styles herself as a modern-day Joan of Arc, in the film The Legend of Billie Jean (1985). Next, she appeared in two high-profile comedies, Ruthless People (1986) and The Secret of My Success (1987). More high-profile roles followed when she appeared in the cult classic independent comedy Sticky Fingers (1988) with longtime friend Melanie Mayron, City Slickers (1991) with Billy Crystal, the steamy A House in the Hills (1993) with Michael Madsen, and the action-crime drama No Way Back opposite Russell Crowe (1996). Other noteworthy performances were seen in films including 12:01 (1993), Betrayal of the Dove, and opposite Andy Richter in Seeing Other People (2004).
Slater has appeared on episodes of various television series, including The New Adventures of Old Christine, Supernatural, four episodes as the voice of Talia in Batman: The Animated Series, and others. She was a series regular on the half-season run of the 1990 ABC newsroom drama Capital News and the 2011–2013 two season run of the ABC Family series The Lying Game.
During her career, Slater has revisited her 1984 role of Supergirl. She made a brief guest appearance on Seinfeld as a love interest of Jerry Seinfeld, who in reality is a huge fan of Superman. Slater was seen in a recurring role as Clark Kent's biological mother, Lara, on the TV series Smallville and as Supergirl's adoptive mother in the recent TV series Supergirl.
Slater was a spokeswoman for Preference by L'Oréal in both television and print ads.
Stage work[edit | edit source]
Slater co-founded the New York theater group, The Naked Angels, with Gina Gershon. Her stage credits include appearances in Grease and Shakespeare and Friends. Off-Broadway, she starred in Responsible Parties and Almost Romance. She also attended classes at both N.Y.U. and U.C.L.A., to broaden her acting abilities.
Musical career[edit | edit source]
Slater has stated that she pursued musical efforts even before doing movies. In the 1989 Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy Happy Together, she sang a medley of Broadway songs as well other songs. In the 1994 movie Lassie, she also sang. For the soundtrack of the film Nowhere In Sight (2000), she contributed the song "The Detour".
In 2003, she released a CD, One of These Days, consisting of her original songs. Notably, the tracks were real-time recordings with Slater singing and playing piano, plus six other musicians total; no multitracking, editing, or dubbing were employed. In 2005, she released a second CD, Crossword, using the same recording approach as the first CD. Both albums were produced by Phil Swann. In 2008 Cortes Alexander recorded Slater's "Any Day Now" and "Love'll Come & Do Just That" on his album Swell. Her third album, Shine, was released in late 2010.
Awards[edit | edit source]
Writing[edit | edit source]
Personal life[edit | edit source]
She married filmmaker Robert Watzke in September 1989. Their daughter, Hannah Nika, was born August 28, 1995.
Filmography[edit | edit source]
Film[edit | edit source]
|1984||Supergirl||Kara Zor-El / Linda Lee / Supergirl|
|1985||The Legend of Billie Jean||Billie Jean Davy|
|1986||Ruthless People||Sandy Kessler|
|1987||The Secret of My Success||Christy Wills|
|1989||Happy Together||Alexandra Page|
|1991||City Slickers||Bonnie Rayburn|
|1992||Betrayal of the Dove||Ellie West|
|1993||A House in the Hills||Alex Weaver|
|1995||No Way Back||Mary|
|1997||The Long Way Home||Herself (voice)||Documentary film|
|1999||Carlo's Wake||Lisa Torello|
|2001||Nowhere in Sight||Carly Bauers|
|2004||Seeing Other People||Penelope|
|2008||Sock Puppet Inferno!||Hansha||Short film|
|2011||Beautiful Wave||Jane Davenport|
|2012||Model Minority||Mrs. Ambrose|
|2015||The Curse of Downers Grove||Diane|
|2016||DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year||Martha Kent (voice)||Direct to video|
|2016||A Remarkable Life||Iris|
Television[edit | edit source]
|1982||ABC Afterschool Special||Amy Watson||Episode: "Amy & the Angel"|
|1988||Improv Tonite||Herself||Guest host|
|1990||The Great Air Race||Jacqui Cochrane||Television miniseries|
|1990||Capital News||Anne McKenna||Television film|
|1991||The Hidden Room||Lauren||Episode: "Wasting Away"|
|1992||Seinfeld||Becky Gelke||Uncredited; episode: "The Good Samaritan"|
|1992||Dream On||Sarah||Episode: "Theory of Relativity"|
|1992–1994||Batman: The Animated Series||Talia al Ghul (voice)||4 episodes|
|1993||12:01||Lisa Fredericks||Television film|
|1993||Chantilly Lace||Hannah||Television film|
|1994||Parallel Lives||Elsa Freedman||Television film|
|1997||Caroline in the City||Cassandra Thompson||Uncredited; episode: "Caroline and the Monkeys"|
|1997||Toothless||Mrs. Lewis||Television film|
|1997–1998||Michael Hayes||Julie Siegel||3 episodes|
|1998||Best Friends for Life||Pammy Cahill||Television film|
|2000||American Adventure||Kathy||Television film|
|2001||Will & Grace||Peggy Truman||Episode: "Moveable Feast"|
|2003||Boston Public||Mrs. McNeal||Episode: "Chapter Seventy-Four"|
|2004||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Susan Coyle||Episode: "Families'|
|2005||Grey's Anatomy||Nadia Shelton||Episode: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"|
|2006||Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall||Stella Andre||Television film|
|2006||The New Adventures of Old Christine||Liz||Episode: “Teach Your Children Well”|
|2007||Crossing Jordan||Elaine Tallridge||Episode: "Seven Feet Under"|
|2009||Supernatural||Susan Carter||Episode: "Family Remains"|
|2009||Eleventh Hour||Susan Wynne||Episode: "Medea"|
|2009||Greek||Dr. Magda Stephanopoulos||Episode: "Guilty Treasures"|
|2010–2011||Gigantic||Jennifer Brooks||10 episodes|
|2010||CSI: NY||Elizabeth Harris||Episode: "Do Not Pass Go"|
|2011||Private Practice||Erin||Episode: "Two Steps Back"|
|2011||Rock the House||Diane Petersen||Television film|
|2011||Drop Dead Diva||Penny Brecker||Episode: "Hit and Run"|
|2011–2013||The Lying Game||Kristin Mercer||Main cast|
|2013||The Good Mother||Cheryl Jordan||Television film|
|2014||Caper||Luke's Mom||Episode: "All Hands on Peltas"|
|2014||The Young and the Restless||Dr. Chiverton||4 episodes|
|2015||Mad Men||Sheila||Episode: "Person to Person"|
|2015–present||Supergirl||Eliza Danvers||5 episodes|
|2015||Agent X||Helen Eckhart||Episode: "Fidelity"|
|2016||DC Super Hero Girls: Super Hero High||Martha Kent (voice)||Television film|
Web[edit | edit source]
|2015||DC Super Hero Girls||Martha Kent (voice)||Web series, episode: "Welcome to Super Hero High"|
Discography[edit | edit source]
- One of These Days (2003)
- Crossword (2005)
- Shine (2010)
- Myths of Ancient Greece (2013)
- The Ugly Duckling (2015)
References[edit | edit source]
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- Helen Slater Biography (1963–)
- Helen Slater Biography – Yahoo! Movies
- Helen Slater
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- Saporito, Joseph R., Cortés Alexander, Thou ‘Swell’, qmetropolis.com, March 18, 2009
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- Supergirl #50 at the Grand Comics Database
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- "My Dinner with Supergirl", People magazine, December 3, 1984, Vol. 22 No. 23; interview with Helen Slater, on newsstands during Supergirl's U.S. release.
- Helen Slater Interactive Home Page defunct fan page through Archive  most recent archived version
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