Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows (born March 14, 1968) is a Canadian/American actress, best known to international audiences for her roles as Anne Shirley in the 1985 Canadian television miniseries Anne of Green Gables and two of its sequels and as Catherine de' Medici in the television series Reign.
Follows was born in Toronto, Ontario, the youngest of four children, in an acting family. Her father is Canadian theatre actor and director Ted Follows, and her mother is Canadian actress Dawn Greenhalgh; her parents later divorced. Her three siblings are all in the entertainment industry. Her elder sister Edwina is a writer, while her brother Laurence and sister Samantha Follows (who is married to American actor Sean O'Bryan) are also actors.
Her first acting job came at the age of nine, when she landed a spot in a commercial for Bell Canada. She was directed to make an impudent gesture out of a school bus window – like sticking out her tongue - but ended up making a rather obscene and adult gesture instead. She found steady work in Canada, appearing in a few TV series such as Matt and Jenny, The Baxters and The Littlest Hobo, in which she guest-starred with her entire family in a two-part episode. She also starred in the short film "Boys and Girls" (1983), which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.
Anne of Green Gables
Follows' breakthrough occurred when she was cast as Anne Shirley in the miniseries Anne of Green Gables (as well as its two sequels). The part of "Anne" was a coveted role that she won over 3,000 other young girls when director, producer and writer Kevin Sullivan chose her despite early worries during the audition process that she might be too old for the part. The miniseries, wholly produced in Canada, became successful around the world and remains to this day the highest-rated drama in Canadian television history. Follows gained a substantial fan-following for her portrayal of the popular literary character. Her performances earned her two Gemini awards as best actress for the first two miniseries, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel, and a Gemini nomination for the third Anne installment, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. She did not reprise the role for the fourth film, Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning, and Barbara Hershey took over the role of Anne.
Follows has made a number of appearances on both Canadian and American television. In 1995, Follows (as Megan Porter Follows, as she was then married) starred in The Outer Limits episode "The Choice", along with Thora Birch. In Canada, she appeared in a popular made-for-TV movie, Hockey Night, around the time she appeared in Anne of Green Gables. She played Cathy, a young girl who played hockey on a previously all-male team. Other Canadian television appearances include leading roles in the period drama Under the Piano and police drama Major Crime.
In 2005, she guest-starred in the Canadian ensemble drama Robson Arms as one of the tenants of the Robson Arms apartment complex. She also appeared in the hospital drama Open Heart as a nurse fighting a physician of malpractice, and in Shania: A Life in Eight Albums, as the mother of famous Canadian singer Shania Twain. Most recently, she starred as Booky's mother in the three movie adaptations of Bernice Thurman Hunter's "Booky" series: Booky Makes Her Mark, Booky and the Secret Santa and Booky's Crush.
Among the earliest American television appearances were roles in The Facts of Life (as a cousin of Jo Polniaczek in an episode that was intended as a backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off) in 1982, and in the short-lived series Domestic Life as Martin Mull's TV daughter in 1984. She appeared in two TV movies, Sin of Innocence and Shattered ... If Your Kid's On Drugs (both 1986). In 1993-94, she was part of the ensemble in a short-lived CBS television series Second Chances. Since 2000, she has appeared on Law & Order, ER, The X Files, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Cold Case, and Lie to Me, among others. She appeared in the Canadian television series, Heartland, for three consecutive episodes.
In 2004, Follows was part of the ensemble cast of the Hallmark movie Plainsong, which included Aidan Quinn, Rachel Griffiths and America Ferrera. In 2009, she made a guest appearance on Brothers and Sisters. In 2011, she had a guest role on House. In 2012, she played Beth in Hollywood Heights. In 2013, Follows was cast as Catherine de' Medici on Reign, a historical drama series on The CW, based on the early life of Mary, Queen of Scots. The series was renewed for a second third.
Follows has appeared in a number of feature films. She co-starred with Corey Haim and Gary Busey in the 1985 film adaptation of Stephen King's novella, Silver Bullet. Her most recent film credits include Christmas Child, A Foreign Affair (2003; released on DVD as Two Brothers and a Bride), and a cameo in Laurie Lynd's Breakfast with Scot.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (April 2014)|
Even though the career of Follows' parents was anchored in the theatre, she did not appear in many stage productions until the 2000s. Her first stage credit was in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, in which she starred alongside her mother, Dawn, and her sister, Samantha, in 1988 in Toronto. In 1992, she was offered the role of Juliet in the Stratford Festival's production of Romeo and Juliet, which she reprised the following year in Los Angeles. Other notable stage credits include A Doll's House (Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater), Othello (Edmonton's Citadel Theatre and Ottawa's National Arts Centre), Uncle Vanya (Atlantic Theatre Festival), and Noël Coward's Hay Fever, in which she appeared with her siblings, and which was directed by her father.
Recent years have seen the return of Follows on stage as a regular of the Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre Company. In 2005, she had the leading role of May in their production of Fool for Love by Sam Shepard. The following year, she took on the role of Annie in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing which ran at Ottawa's National Arts Centre as a coproduction between Soulpepper and NAC English Theatre. Following this run, the play also made its way to Toronto as part of Soulpepper's 2006 season at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. In 2007, she played the role of Marlene in the summer production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, again with the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Following this, she starred in Soulpepper's 2007 production of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters.
Soulpepper's 2008 season, marking the company's 10-year anniversary, signaled the continuation of Megan's prolific theatre career. Just like the past season, she appeared in two productions. The first was Marsha Norman's 'night, Mother, in which she co-starred opposite her real-life mother, actress Dawn Greenhalgh. The second was Soulpepper's remount of its critically acclaimed 2007 production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls. She returned to the stage in 2010 in Mirvish Productions's revival of Churchill's Cloud 9. In 2011, she returned to the stage to star in the Canadian premiere of Melissa James Gibson's This at the Vancouver Playhouse directed by Amiel Gladstone and, in 2012, she starred in the lead role of "Penelope" at the Nightwood Theatre's production of The Penelopiad.
In 1991, Follows married Christopher Porter, a gaffer and photographer she met on the set of Deep Sleep. The couple divorced in 1996. They have two children, Lyla Anne Porter (born 1991) and Russell Porter (born 1994).
Follows has served as a spokeswoman for the relief organization World Vision Canada. She traveled to both Rwanda and Tanzania as a spokeswoman and a photographer. She also participated in the 2005 benefit concert Canada for Asia held to support the relief efforts for Asia after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
She travelled to Cambodia in 2007 with director Heather Connell to film Small Voices: Stories of Cambodia's Children, a documentary about how the children of Cambodia living on the street and garbage dumps face their living conditions amidst poverty and abuse and how they view their own future.
|1980||Clare's Wish||Short film|
|1981||Olden Days Coat, TheThe Olden Days Coat||Sal||Short film|
|1983||Boys and Girls||Margaret||Short film|
|1985||Silver Bullet||Jane Coslaw|
|1988||Time of Destiny, AA Time of Destiny||Irene|
|1989||Termini Station||Micheline Dushane|
|1990||Nutcracker Prince, TheThe Nutcracker Prince||Clara (voice)|
|1993||When Pigs Fly||Kathleen|
|2002||Someone Was Watching||Kate||Video|
|2003||Foreign Affair, AA Foreign Affair||Lena|
|2004||Christmas Child||Meg Davenport|
|2007||Breakfast with Scot||Barbara Warren|
|2011||I Am Number Four||Supermarket Cashier|
|2012||Where Are the Dolls||Elizabeth||Short film|
|2013||Bar None||Tess Lavoir||Short film|
|2014||Hard Drive||Barbara||In post-production|
|1979–80||Matt and Jenny||Jenny Tanner||Main role (26 episodes)|
|1980–81||Baxters, TheThe Baxters||Lucy Baxter||Series|
|1980||Great Detective, TheThe Great Detective||Charity||Episode: "A Family Business"|
|1980||Mating Season, TheThe Mating Season||Laura McLain||Movie|
|1981||Littlest Hobo, TheThe Littlest Hobo||Rose||Episode: "Hidden Room"|
|1982||Facts of Life, TheThe Facts of Life||Terry Largo||Episode: "Jo's Cousin"|
|1982||Hangin' In||Cassie||Episodes: "I'm Okay, We're All Okay", "Fun with Herb and Gloria"|
|1982||Littlest Hobo, TheThe Littlest Hobo||Marti Kendall||Episodes: "The Spirit of Thunder Rock: Parts 1-3"|
|1984||Sons and Daughters||Margaret||Movie|
|1984||Domestic Life||Didi Crane||Regular role (10 episodes)|
|1984||Hockey Night||Cathy Yarrow||Movie|
|1985||Anne of Green Gables||Anne Shirley||TV film|
|1986||Sin of Innocence||Jenny Colleran||Movie|
|1986||Comedy Factory||Tina Jackson||Episode: "The Faculty"|
|1986||Shattered If Your Kid's on Drugs||Kim Wilson||Movie|
|1987||American Playhouse||Anna Mae Morgan||Episode: "Stacking"|
|1987||Anne of Avonlea||Anne Shirley||Movie|
|1987||ABC Afterschool Special||Dana Sherman||Episode: "Seasonal Differences"|
|1988||Inherit the Wind||Rachel Brown||Movie|
|1989||Champagne Charlie||Louise Heidsick||Movie|
|1989||Ray Bradbury Theater, TheThe Ray Bradbury Theater||Aimee||Episode: "The Dwarf"|
|1990||Back to Hannibal: The Return of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn||Becky||Movie|
|1991||Chase, TheThe Chase||Gloria Whipple||Movie|
|1991||Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann||Peggy Ann Bradnick||TV film|
|1993||Hidden Room, TheThe Hidden Room||Deanna Matthews||Episode: "Happily Ever After"|
|1993||Romeo & Juliet||Juliet||Movie|
|1993–94||Second Chances||Kate Benedict||Recurring role (6 episodes)|
|1995||Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits||Karen Ross||Episode: "The Choice"|
|1995||Murder, She Wrote||Lila Nolan||Episode: "Home Care"|
|1996||Under the Piano||Rosetta Basilio||Movie|
|1997||Major Crime||Joanie Wells||Movie|
|1999||Big Wolf on Campus||Violet Thorne||Episode: "Interview with a Werewolf"|
|2000||Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story||Anne Shirley Blythe||Movie|
|2000||Law & Order||Megan Parnell||Episode: "Endurance"|
|2000||Made in Canada||Mandy Forward/Adele of Beaver Creek||Episode: "Beaver Creek: The Movie"|
|2000||The Fugitive||Paula Bennett||Episode: "Miles to Go"|
|2000||Family Law||Nancy Quinn||Episode: "Generations"|
|2001||ER||Christy Larkin||Episode: "A Walk in the Woods"|
|2001||X-Files, TheThe X-Files||Kath McCready||Episode: "Per Manum"|
|2001||Division, TheThe Division||Science Teacher||Episode: "Hero"|
|2001||Mentors||Annie Oakley||Episode: "Anything You Can Do"|
|2002||That's Life||Stella||Episode: "Gutterball"|
|2002||Stork Derby, TheThe Stork Derby||Kate Harrington||Movie|
|2002||Strong Medicine||Dana's Doctor||Episodes: "Postiive", "Stages", "Heartbeat"|
|2002||Live to Air||Narrator||Movie|
|2003||Threat Matrix||Denise||Episode: "Veteran's Day"|
|2004||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Beth Darian||Episode: "Bad to the Bone"|
|2004||What Katy Did||Cousin Helen||Movie|
|2004||Open Heart||Sherry Cardinal||Movie|
|2005||CSI: Miami||Chloe Grand||Episode: "Whacked"|
|2005||Robson Arms||Janice Keneally||Recurring role (4 episodes)|
|2005||Shania: A Life in Eight Albums||Sharon Twain||Movie|
|2005||Cold Case||Maura||Episode: "A Perfect Day"|
|2006||Crossing Jordan||Beth||Episode: "Code of Ethics"|
|2006||Booky Makes Her Mark||Francie Thomson||Movie|
|2006||Great Polar Bear Adventure, TheThe Great Polar Bear Adventure||Narrator/Cassie (voice)||Movie|
|2007||Booky and the Secret Santa||Francie Thomson||Movie|
|2008||Border, TheThe Border||Moira Davis||Episode: "Good Intentions"|
|2009||Booky's Crush||Francie Thomson||Movie|
|2009||Lie to Me||Lorraine Burch||Episode: "Do No Harm"|
|2009||Brothers & Sisters||Maggie Stephens||Episode: "Missing"|
|2009||Heartland||Lily Borden||Episodes: "The Starting Gate", "The Fix"|
|2009||Raising the Bar||Reanne Chrisman||Episode: "No Child's Left Behind"|
|2011||House||Jennifer Williams||Episode: "Changes"|
|2012||Heartland||Lily Borden||Episode: "Fool's Gold"|
|2012||Longmire||Alice Stewart||Episode: "A Damn Shame"|
|2012||Hollywood Heights||Beth||Episodes: "Nora Visits Max", "Eddie's Inspired"|
|2012||World Without End||Maud||Miniseries|
|2013–present||Reign||Catherine de' Medici||Main role|
|2014||Republic of Doyle||Warden Barton||Episode: "Dirty Deeds"|
Awards and nominations
|1986||Gemini||Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Single Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Anne of Green Gables||Won|
|1988||Gemini||Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Anne of Avonlea||Won|
|1989||Aftonbladet TV Prize, Sweden||Best Foreign TV Personality – Female||Won|
|1990||Genie||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role||Termini Station||Nominated|
|2000||Gemini||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story||Nominated|
|2004||Gemini||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Open Heart||Nominated|
|2006||Gemini||Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Shania: A Life in Eight Albums||Nominated|
|2007||Gemini||Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Booky Makes Her Mark||Nominated|
|2008||Gemini||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries||Booky & the Secret Santa||Nominated|
- Megan Follows profile, filmreference.com; accessed 10 April 2014.
- CBC Profile; accessed April 10, 2014.
- "Interesting facts about Anne of Green Gables", ctv.ca; accessed April 10, 2014.
- CBC TV Open Heart: interview with Megan Follows, cbc.ca; accessed April 10, 2014.
- Megan Follows at the Internet Movie Database
- Kondolojy, Amanda (February 13, 2014). "'Reign', 'Arrow', 'Supernatural', 'The Originals' & 'The Vampire Diaries' Renewed by The CW". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- "Talent, Hosts, Radio and Television Stations Still Signing up to be Part of Benefit Event Canada for Asia", channelcanada.com; accessed April 10, 2014.