Dec. 15th, 1963
Bethpage, New York, USA
Helen Slater's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Helen Slater (born December 15, 1963) is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She appeared as Superman's cousin Kryptonian superheroine in TriStar's 1984 film Supergirl. In the following years, she starred in several successful comedy-drama films such as Ruthless People, The Secret of My Success, and City Slickers. She additionally found work as an actress in television, and stage projects, including guest appearances on the series Smallville. As of 2011, she currently co-stars as Kristin Mercer on ABC Family series The Lying Game.
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; the two 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 was graduated in 1982. She is not related to actor Christian Slater.
Slater appearing in many shows as a child, having made her acting debut in the after-school special Amy & the Angel (1982), co-starring with 'James Earl Jones' and 'Matthew Modine' the only film in which she appeared as a brunette - Helen took her career very seriously. Within months of her graduation, she attended auditions for the upcoming spin-off of the famous Superman (1978) franchise, Supergirl (1984). It was to be shot in England at Pinewood Studios, where the first Superman movies were filmed. Slater even spoke to 'Christopher Reeve' about playing a superhero to assure herself she could do it. After being the first to present herself for audition, she was cast as the lead in the film and her career took off.
Although Supergirl (1984) received mixed reviews, most critics were impressed with Helen's abilities. In fact, the critics' consensus was that she did a better job at keeping a secret identity (a mousy schoolgirl) than Reeve did as Clark Kent. In her next film, she was cast as a modern-day Joan of Arc in The Legend of Billie Jean (1985) with 'Yeardley Smith' and 'Peter Coyote'. The film, though not particularly successful, has managed to attract a somewhat cult following. She next appeared in one of her best-received roles, that of the female half of the bumbling husband-and-wife team that kidnaps 'Bette Midler' in the comic blockbuster Ruthless People (1986), and scored again in the hit The Secret of My Success (1987). Both roles helped to cement her status as an actress of note. Next, she and her friend 'Melanie Mayron' starred in the feminist comedy Sticky Fingers (1988), a critical but not financial success. It was in this film and her next, Happy Together (1989), that she was able to prove that she could do comedy as well as drama. She went on to do more feature films such as City Slickers (1991), A House in the Hills (1993) and Lassie (1994), before making regular appearances on television.
Her regional stage credits include appearances in such plays as "Grease" and "Shakespeare and Friends". On Broadway, she starred in "Responsible Parties" and "Almost Romance". She also attended classes at both NYU and UCLA, trying to broaden her acting abilities. On television, she has appeared in Caroline in the City (1995), as well as many others. She also became a spokeswoman for Preference by L'Oreal in both TV and print ads. She is an accomplished pianist and now has an album out called "One of These Days". She co-founded the New York theater group The Naked Angels with her friend 'Gina Gershon'.
In 1990, she married award-winning editor 'Robert Watzke' and they have a daughter, born in 1995. She stepped out of the limelight for a couple of years, appearing mainly in the occasional TV show, but came back strong in 2003, showing moviegoers and TV audiences how great an entertainer she really is.
- Wrote a musical called "Ugly Duckling." Though a take on the original story, it is written for adults and centers around human characters, and she is trying to get it published.
- Was a member of the Actor's Movement Studio.
- Spoke to 'Christopher Reeve' (qv) about portraying a superhero. They spent all day on the streets of New York with Reeve giving advice on being a super-heroine.
- Ranked # 70 on VH1's "!00 Greatest Teen Stars".
- Gained over twenty pounds for the role in _Supergirl (1984)_ (qv).
- To add to her pianist accomplishments, she is also a classically trained singer. She released her first album, titled "One of these Days", in 2003.
- Best friend is 'Helen Hunt (I)' (qv).
- Performed some of her own stunts in _Supergirl (1984)_ (qv).