Helen Shaver is a popular Hollywood actress, producer and director, who is famous for the hundreds of projects she’s participated in. Among them are the outstanding series “Vikings”, and numerous other series, and such movies as “Desert Hearts” and “That Night”. Let’s find out more about her current activities, her net worth, personal life, etc.

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Early life and family

Helen Jane Shaver was born on 24 February 1951, in St. Thomas, Ontario Canada, under the sign of Pisces and holding Canadian nationality. She grew up in the family with five siblings, all of them sisters. It is known that when she was five years old, she started suffering from chronic rheumatic fever, which nobody could do anything about.

She had to spend up to six months in her bed or in hospital, taking painkillers and antipyretics just to feel better. She considers those periods of her long-term isolation from her friends and society contributed to her introverted side. The fever stopped re-appearing when she was twelve years old, and Helen hasn’t experienced the disease ever again.

Educational background

Helen matriculated from her local high school in St. Thomas in 1969, and while she was a teen attended the Banff School of Fine Arts. Later she decided to study acting at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, becoming a professional actress after graduating in 1973.


Acting career

Helen started her acting career in the TV series “Dr. Simon Locke – Police Surgeon” (1971 – 1975) in which Helen played Bonnie. She also appeared in such movies as “Starship Invasions” (1977) and “Who Has Seen the Wind” (1978). For her performance in the movie “In Praise of Older Women” in which she got the role of Ann McDonald and shared the screen with a famous actor Tom Berenger, Helen received the Canadian Film Award as Best Lead Actress.

Later she starred in such movies as “Desert Hearts” (1985), “The Color of Money” (1986) and got the voice-over role of Littlefoot’s Mother in the cartoon “The Land Before Time”.

Helen Shaver

She also appeared in the TV series “Columbo” in 1990, in which she played the role of Vivian Dimitri, Her latest acting works were “Numb” (2007), in which she played the role of Audrey Milbank, “A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride” (2008), in which she got the role of Rose, and “Birthday Cake” (2013), in which she performed as Judith Ferguson.

She is also well-known for her appearances in numerous series, and many of them were hits. The list of her acting works goes beyond 85; among the most notable are such series as “Hill Street Blues” (1981 – 1987), “E.N.G.” (1989 – 1994), “The L Word” (2004 – 2009) and “The 4400” (2004 – 2007).

Directing career

By the end of ‘90s Helen had started working as a director and producer, slowly moving her focus from her acting career to her directing career. She successfully directed several episodes of the series entitled “The Outer Limits” (1995 – 2002), and understood she had a lot to do in the field of directing. She filmed more episodes for such series as “Poltergeist: The Legacy” (1996 – 1999) also being the writer for several episodes of the show, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999 – present), “The Net” (1998 – 1999) and “Beggars and Choosers” (1999 – 2001).

Later Helen enriched her list of works as a director and filmed more episodes for such popular series as “Joan of Arcadia” (2003 – 2005), “Castle” (2009 – 2016), “Make It or Break It” (2009 – 2012) and “Person of Interest” (2011 – 2016).

One of the most successful series Helen had a chance to work in as a producer and a director is “Vikings” (2013 – present). The series has very high ratings and attracts millions of viewers, featuring such talented actors as Gustaf Skarsgård, Katheryn Winnick and Alexander Ludwig.

MAWD founder

Helen is the founder and co-creator of MAWD (Mother Actress Wife Director), a production company which has three theater plays in development, and a documentary. MAWD’s main mission is to help young filmmakers to start their career, and to develop their skills. Helen knows herself how hard it is to start a directing career even though you’ve been in the industry for a long time as an actress, as she faced some prejudice about being a female director who used to be an actress. Many people thought that even though she had acting talent, she could fail to become a good director, but Helen managed to show her skills and now helps other young specialists to start their way.

Posted by Helen Shaver on Sunday, January 6, 2019


Along with the Canadian Film Award in the category “Best Lead Actress” for her role of Ann MacDonald in “The Praise of Older Women”, Helen also made it to the Walk of Fame of Canada in 2004.

Personal life, husband Steve Smith

First husband Steven Reuther

Helen met her first husband, Steven Reuther in 1978. The couple dated for several months, got engaged, and eventually married on 29 October 1979. Steven was a production manager and a producer, who worked on such movies and series as “Pretty Woman” (1990), “Face/Off” (1997), “Collateral Damage” (2002) and “Striking Distance” (1993).

However, their marriage lasted for only three years, and the couple divorced on 21 July 1982, but Helen and Steven remained good friends until his death in 2010. Helen used to visit Los Angeles where Steven lived, many times during that period of time when he felt worse, and saw him quite often. She was deeply impressed by seeing him dying, as she shared in one of her interviews after his death: ‘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’.

Second husband Steve Smith

Helen met her second husband Steve Smith at the beginning of 1985, and the couple instantly felt they were destined to be together. They both worked on the set of the movie entitled “Desert Hearts”; Helen was playing the role of Vivian Bell, while Steve Smith was the key grip. They married on 9 October 1988, and live together to the present moment, sharing their mutual photos on their wedding anniversaries on Helen’s Instagram account. They welcomed one son named Mackenzie, though Helen never shared his photos on her social media accounts.

Helen Shaver

Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts

One of the most interesting facts about Helen’s acting career was that after the movie “Desert Hearts” was launched in 1985, Helen got a phone call from the legendary Greta Garbo who reached out to Helen to praise her performance, and to thank her for supporting traditional Hollywood acting style.

Helen likes photography; she also plays the piano and enjoys skiing. Her favorite alcohol drink is dry red wine.

Social media presence

Helen is quite active on Instagram and Twitter. She often shares photos from the set of the series she films, and her account on Instagram is followed by over 1,500 people. Her Twitter is read by almost 4,000 users.

Appearance, clothing style

Helen has middle length blonde hair which during the years has become totally grey, and she doesn’t dye it anymore, enjoying her natural beauty; she has blue eyes. Helen is 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall and weighs around 138lbs (63kgs). Her vital statistics are not available, but one can see she keeps fit and takes care of her slender figure. As to her clothing style, she prefers casual looks, while she also enjoys fashionable and exclusive handmade accessories.

Net worth and salary

According to authoritative sources, Helen’s current net worth is estimated to be around $10 million. Her wealth enriched considerably after she decided to become a director, complementing her acting career with another role in the entertainment industry. As Helen keeps working on multiple successful projects, movies and series, her net worth is only going to grow in future.

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