• Helen Shaver is a popular Hollywood actress, producer, and director.
• She is famous for projects such as the series "Vikings" and the movie "Desert Hearts".
• She attended the Banff School of Fine Arts and the University of Victoria for acting.
• She founded MAWD, a production company, to help young filmmakers.
• Her current net worth is estimated to be around $10 million.

Known for movies

Short Info

FactIn 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.

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.

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.


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.


1[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.
2[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.
3Every 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.
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!"


1Received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario in 2004.
2Plays the piano and is a proficient downhill skier.
3Auditioned for the role of Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager (1995), which went to Kate Mulgrew.
4Provided the uncredited voice of actress Deborah Shelton's character in Body Double (1984).
5Met husband Steve Smith during the filming of Desert Hearts (1985). She was the lead actress and he was the key grip.
6Received a phone call from legend Greta Garbo after the release of the film Desert Hearts (1985). Garbo praised Helen's performance.
7In 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.
8Her 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".




The Supreme Kid1976Girl hitch-hiker
El hombre desnudo1976
King of Kensington1976TV Series
Police Surgeon1974-1975TV SeriesBonnie / Gloria
The Beachcombers1974TV Series
Down River2013Pearl
Birthday Cake2013Judith Ferguson
Iris Expanding2010TV MovieIris's Mom
A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride2008TV MovieRose
Numb2007/IAudrey Milbank
The Keeper2004Ruthie
The 44002004TV SeriesBarbara Yates
The L Word2004TV SeriesFaye Buckley
D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear2003TV MovieSandy Moose
The Risen2003TV MovieLynn Todd
The Education of Max Bickford2001-2002TV SeriesErica Bettis
We All Fall Down2000Sherry
Bear with Me2000Sara Bradley
Common Ground2000TV MovieJanet
The Wishing Tree1999Wallis
Poltergeist: The Legacy1996-1999TV SeriesRachel Corrigan, MD / Dr. Rachel Corrigan
The First Gentleman1999TV MovieMarjorie Litchfield
The Sweetest Gift1998TV MovieMrs. Martin
Dead Man's Gun1997TV SeriesDianna McKinney
Egg Salad1996ShortGladys
Rowing Through1996Slim
The Craft1996Grace Downs
Tremors II: Aftershocks1996VideoKate 'White' Reilly
Born to Be Wild1995Margaret Heller
The Outer Limits1995TV SeriesCathy Kress
Falling for You1995TV MovieMary
Open Season1995Rachel Rowen
Janek: The Silent Betrayal1994TV MovieMonique Dessier
Without Consent1994TV MovieNora Fields
Ride with the Wind1994TV MovieKatherine Barnes
The Forget-Me-Not Murders1994TV MovieMonique
Morning Glory1993Lula Peak
Trial & Error1993TV MovieKatherine Woodfield
Poisoned by Love: The Kern County Murders1993TV MovieEdie Ballew
Survive the Night1993TV MovieStacy
That Night1992Ann O'Connor
Fatal Memories1992TV MovieElaine Tipton
E.N.G.1992TV SeriesSandra Brady
A Smile in the Dark1991The Devil
WIOU1990-1991TV SeriesKelby Robinson
Bethune: The Making of a Hero1990Mrs. Dowd
Columbo1990TV SeriesVivian Dimitri
Pair of Aces1990TV MovieRose
Mothers, Daughters and Lovers1989TV MovieClaire Nichols
Innocent Victim1989Benet Archdale
B.L. Stryker1989TV SeriesDiane Decker
No Blame1988TV MovieAmy Donaldson
The Land Before Time1988Littlefoot's Mother (voice)
The Ray Bradbury Theater1988TV SeriesMiss Haight
The Believers1987Jessica Halliday
The Color of Money1986Janelle
Many Happy Returns1986TV MovieSally Robinson
The Men's Club1986Sarah (uncredited)
The Edison Twins1986TV SeriesPhyllis Dayton
Philip Marlowe, Private Eye1986TV SeriesBelle Delaguerra
Amazing Stories1986TV SeriesKaren
The War Boy1985Maria
The Park Is Mine1985TV MovieValery
Desert Hearts1985Vivian Bell
Countdown to Looking Glass1984TV MovieDorian Waldorf
Best Defense1984Clair Lewis
Access All Areas1984Short
T.J. Hooker1983TV SeriesLisa Jericho
The Osterman Weekend1983Virginia Tremayne
Harry Tracy: The Last of the Wild Bunch1982Catherine Tuttle
Hill Street Blues1982TV SeriesTeresa
Off Your Rocker1982TV MovieMiss Beecher
Between Two Brothers1982TV MovieSusan Frazer
Jessica Novak1981TV SeriesJessica Novak
Coming Out Alive1980Isobel
United States1980TV SeriesLibby Chapin
The Amityville Horror1979Carolyn
Overlanders1979TV MovieMrs. O'Mara
Lovey: A Circle of Children, Part II1978TV MoviePatty
In Praise of Older Women1978Ann MacDonald
Who Has Seen the Wind1977Ruth Thompson
Starship Invasions1977Betty Duncan
Search and Rescue: The Alpha Team1977TV SeriesDr. Liz Warren


Heartbeat2016TV Series 1 episode
Vikings2015-2016TV Series 4 episodes
Orphan Black2014-2015TV Series 2 episodes
Person of Interest2012-2015TV Series 3 episodes
Revolution2013-2014TV Series 3 episodes
Elementary2014TV Series 1 episode
Reign2014TV Series 1 episode
Republic of Doyle2013TV Series 1 episode
The Firm2012TV Series 5 episodes
Combat Hospital2011TV Series 2 episodes
Law & Order: LA2011TV Series 1 episode
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit2008-2011TV Series 9 episodes
SGU Stargate Universe2011TV Series 1 episode
Flashpoint2011TV Series 1 episode
Shattered2010TV Series 2 episodes
The Bridge2010TV Series 2 episodes
Make It or Break It2010TV Series 1 episode
Castle2009TV Series 1 episode
Private Practice2008-2009TV Series 2 episodes
Crusoe2008-2009TV Series 2 episodes
Journeyman2007TV Series 1 episode
The Unit2006-2007TV Series 3 episodes
Jericho2007TV Series 1 episode
Standoff2006TV Series 1 episode
Vanished2006TV Series 1 episode
Medium2006TV Series 1 episode
Ultra2006TV Movie
The Man Who Lost Himself2005TV Movie
Close to Home2005TV Series 1 episode
Judging Amy2001-2005TV Series 11 episodes
The 44002004TV Series 1 episode
The O.C.2004TV Series 1 episode
Joan of Arcadia2003TV Series 1 episode
Dead Like Me2003TV Series 1 episode
Just Cause2003TV Series 1 episode
Due East2002TV Movie
The District2002TV Series 1 episode
Soul Food2001TV Series 1 episode
The Associates2001TV Series
Beggars and Choosers2000-2001TV Series 2 episodes
The Outer Limits1997-2000TV Series 6 episodes
Poltergeist: The Legacy1996-1999TV Series 2 episodes
Summer's End1999TV Movie
The Net1998TV Series 1 episode
Dead Man's Gun1998TV Series 1 episode


Birthday Cake2013co-executive producer
The Firm2012TV Series co-executive producer - 18 episodes
Judging Amy2004-2005TV Series producer - 22 episodes
Due East2002TV Movie producer
We All Fall Down2000executive producer


Poltergeist: The Legacy1998TV Series story - 1 episode


The 16th Annual Leo Awards2014TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
The Citizen Cohl: Untold Story2008ShortHerself
The Outsider2006DocumentaryHerself
On Screen!2005TV Series documentaryHerself
The Genies at 252005TV Movie documentaryHerself
Alpha to Omega: Exposing 'The Osterman Weekend'2004Video documentaryHerself
The Making of 'We All Fall Down'2002Video documentary shortHerself
The 3rd Annual Leo Awards2001TV SpecialHerself - Presenter
To Love, Honour and Obey2001TV Movie documentaryHerself - Narrator
Terminal City1998TV SeriesHerself
M*A*S*H, Tootsie & God: A Tribute to Larry Gelbart1998TV Special documentaryHerself
Under Wraps1996DocumentaryNarrator (voice)
The 17th Annual CableACE Awards1995TV SpecialHerself
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno1993TV SeriesHerself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1979-1991TV SeriesHerself
Walking After Midnight1988DocumentaryHerself
Cinema 31988TV SeriesHerself
Strangers in a Strange Land: The Adventures of a Canadian Film Crew in China1988DocumentaryHerself
Calling the Shots1988DocumentaryHerself
The Grand Knockout Tournament1987TV SpecialHerself
The Alan Thicke Show1981TV SeriesHerself
The Alan Hamel Show1977-1979TV SeriesHerself

Archive Footage

Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema2006DocumentaryVivian Bell
Sex at 24 Frames Per Second2003Video documentaryVivian Bell (uncredited)


Won Awards

2015WIN AwardWomen's Image Network AwardsOutstanding Show Directed By a WomanVikings (2013)
2003GeminiGemini AwardsBest Direction in a Dramatic SeriesJust Cause (2001)
2001GenieGenie AwardsBest Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleWe All Fall Down (2000)
1999Children's Jury AwardChicago International Children's Film FestivalFeature Film and Video - Live-ActionSummer's End (1999)
1985Bronze LeopardLocarno International Film FestivalDesert Hearts (1985)
1978EtrogCanadian Film AwardsBest Performance by a Lead Actress (Feature)In Praise of Older Women (1978)

Nominated Awards

2016Canadian Screen AwardCanadian Screen Awards, CABest Direction in a Dramatic SeriesOrphan Black (2013)
2016Canadian Screen AwardCanadian Screen Awards, CABest Direction in a Dramatic SeriesVikings (2013)
2016DGC Team AwardDirectors Guild of CanadaOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic SeriesVikings (2013)
2015DGC Craft AwardDirectors Guild of CanadaDirection - Television SeriesOrphan Black (2013)
2014ACTRA Toronto AwardACTRA AwardsOutstanding Performance - FemaleDown River (2013)
2014LeoLeo AwardsBest Lead Performance by a Female in a Feature Length DramaDown River (2013)
2010DGC Team AwardDirectors Guild of CanadaOutstanding Team Achievement in a Television Series - DramaThe Bridge (2010)
2010DGC Craft AwardDirectors Guild of CanadaOutstanding Achievement in Direction - Television SeriesThe Bridge (2010)
2001GeminiGemini AwardsBest Direction in a Dramatic SeriesThe Outer Limits (1995)
2000Daytime EmmyDaytime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Directing in a Children's SpecialSummer's End (1999)
1999LeoLeo AwardsBest Direction in a Dramatic SeriesThe Outer Limits (1995)
1997Saturn AwardAcademy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USABest Genre TV ActressPoltergeist: The Legacy (1996)
1995CableACECableACE AwardsActress in a Dramatic SeriesThe Outer Limits (1995)
1989GeminiGemini AwardsBest Performance by a Lead Actress in a Dramatic Program or Mini-SeriesNo Blame (1988)
1987GenieGenie AwardsBest Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleLost! (1986)
1979Stinker AwardThe Stinkers Bad Movie AwardsWorst Supporting ActressThe Amityville Horror (1979)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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