Alberta Watson on 24
|Born||Faith Susan Alberta Watson
March 6, 1955
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||March 21, 2015
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Cause of death||Complications from cancer|
Watson was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1955. She grew up in Toronto with her mother Grace, a factory worker, and her brother. She began performing with a local Toronto theater group, T.H.O.G. (Theater House of God), of the Bathurst Street United Church at age 15.
Watson got her first role at age 19 in a CBC movie called Honor Thy Father. Early in her career she portrayed the role of Mitzi in George Kaczender's In Praise of Older Women (1978), for which she received a Genie nomination. A year later she received the Best Actress award at the Yorkton Film Festival for "Exposure". She moved to Los Angeles, California and later to New York City.
Watson lived in New Jersey for eight years with her husband until they divorced. She then returned to Toronto and focused on finding roles in independent films. She worked with director Colleen Murphy on the film Shoemaker (1996), for which she received a second Genie nomination for Best Actress.
Among her well-known film roles are the bed-ridden mother Susan Aibelli in the 1994 American independent film Spanking the Monkey, Lauren Murphy (the mother of Jonny Lee Miller's character Dade, aka "Crash Override"/"Zero Cool") in the 1995 cult film Hackers, and Risa in the 1997 Academy Award nominated Canadian film The Sweet Hereafter, directed by Atom Egoyan.
In Spanking the Monkey, Watson plays her favorite character, a mother who has an incestuous relationship with her son. The role was turned down by several actresses such as Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and others. Watson said:
|“||I took it because it was a heck of a challenge. And I'm not a name with an image to protect. The subject was incest. It didn't scare me at all. I seized the character and made her something. She was a deeply disturbed woman with a roller coaster of emotions. Her son visits for the summer and she's laid up in a cast with a broken leg and things get out of hand.||”|
She played the role of Madeline in La Femme Nikita for four seasons from 1997 to 2001 (with guest appearances in the short fifth season). During the show's second season (in 1998), Watson was diagnosed with lymphoma, for which she had to undergo chemotherapy treatment which caused her to lose her hair. Producers at La Femme Nikita worked around her treatment and limited her appearances. Watson wore wigs in the show when she lost her hair. When her hair started to regrow, she sported the short haircut in her role as Madeline in the show's third season.
Watson's first name inspired the character Alberta Green in the first season of 24. In 2005, Watson joined the cast of 24, playing CTU Director Erin Driscoll for 12 episodes of the show's fourth season.
During 2007 and 2008, Watson played a supporting role in the Canadian television series The Border as the Minister of Public Safety.
In 2010, Watson guest-starred in Heartland, a series on CBC Television, and she won a 2011 Gemini Award for her portrayal of Sarah Craven.
In the first season of Nikita, the 2010 CW series based on the Luc Besson film rather than 1997 series, she played the role of the Senator, one of the many public figures to privately fund the secret anti-terrorist organization known as Division. During Season 2, she guest-stars playing this character, whose name is Madeline Pierce (a nod from the Nikita producers to her iconic character, Madeline, in the 1997 series).
Watson died on March 21, 2015, due to complications from cancer at Kensington Hospice in Toronto; she was 60 years old.
|1978||In Praise of Older Women||Mitzi|
|1979||Stone Cold Dead||Olivia Page|
|1980||Virus||Litha||AKA, Day of Resurrection|
|1982||Soldier, TheThe Soldier||Susan Goodman|
|1983||Keep, TheThe Keep||Eva Cuza|
|1987||White of the Eye||Ann Mason|
|1989||Destiny to Order||Thalia / Marla / Nicole|
|1991||Hitman, TheThe Hitman||Christine De Vera|
|1994||Spanking the Monkey||Susan Aibelli|
|1995||What's His Face||Woman||Short film|
|1996||Sweet Angel Mine||Megan|
|1997||Sweet Hereafter, TheThe Sweet Hereafter||Risa|
|1998||Seeds of Doubt||Jennifer Kingsley|
|1999||Life Before This, TheThe Life Before This||Nita|
|2001||Hedwig and the Angry Inch||Hansel's Mom|
|2001||Chasing Cain||Denise McGoogan|
|2001||Art of Woo, TheThe Art of Woo||Caterin|
|2002||Wild Dogs, TheThe Wild Dogs||Natalie|
|2004||Prince and Me, TheThe Prince and Me||Amy Morgan|
|2004||My Brother's Keeper||Helen Woods|
|2004||Vendetta: No Conscience, No Mercy||Anne Phelan|
|2004||Some Things That Stay||Liz Anderson|
|2006||Citizen Duane||Bonnie Balfour|
|2006||Away from Her||Dr. Fischer|
|2006||Lobster Tale, AA Lobster Tale||Martha Brewer|
|2007||Lookout, TheThe Lookout||Barbara Pratt|
|2009||Spine, TheThe Spine||Mary Rutherford||Short film|
|1980||King of Kensington||Mitzi||Episode: "War and Peace"|
|1980||War Brides||Norma||TV film|
|1983||I Am a Hotel||Suzanne||TV short|
|1984||Hill Street Blues||Prostitute||Episode: "Fuched Again"|
|1984||Deadly Nightmares||Jill Friedlander||Episode: "Remembering Melody"|
|1985||Murder in Space||Dominica Mastrelli||TV film|
|1985||Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer||Carla Holden||Episode: "The Distant Fire"|
|1985||Kane & Abel||Zofia Rosnovski||TV miniseries|
|1986||Fortune Dane||Amy Steiner||TV series|
|1986||Women of Valor||Lt. Helen Prescott||TV film|
|1987||Street Legal||Mercedes Puentes||Episode: "Tango Bellarosa"|
|1987–1988||Buck James||Dr. Rebecca Meyer||Main role (19 episodes)|
|1989||Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer||Taffy Gould||Episode: "The Caper"|
|1989||Shannon's Deal||Terry Lomax||TV film|
|1989||Street Legal||Maria Lopez||Episode: "Partners and Other Strangers"|
|1990||Island Son||Nina Delaney||Episode: "Separations"|
|1990||Grand||Andrea||Episode: "The Return of Yale Pinhaus"|
|1991||Law & Order||Miss Hanley||Episode: "His Hour Upon the Stage"|
|1992||Law & Order||Angela Brandt||Episode: "Skin Deep"|
|1993||Relentless: Mind of a Killer||Ellen Giancola||TV film|
|1993||Matrix||Marie Sands||Episode: "Conviction of His Courage"|
|1994||Jonathan Stone: Threat of Innocence||Deborah Walsh Bradford||TV film|
|1995||Outer Limits, TheThe Outer Limits||Lynda Tillman||Episode: "If These Walls Could Talk"|
|1995||Child Is Missing, AA Child Is Missing||Agent Lynette Graham||TV film|
|1996||Giant Mine||Peggy Witte||TV film|
|1996||Gotti||Victoria Gotti||TV film|
|1997–2001||La Femme Nikita||Madeline||Main role (89 episodes)|
|1998||Girl Next Door, TheThe Girl Next Door||Mary Bradley||TV film|
|2000||Soul Food||Judge Olivia Delaney||Episode: "The More Things Stay the Same"|
|2001||After the Harvest||Amelia Gare||TV film|
|2002||Guilt by Association||Angie||TV film|
|2002||Chasing Cain: Face||Det. Denise McGoogan||TV film|
|2003||Risen, TheThe Risen||Amanda Knowles||TV film|
|2003||Penguins Behind Bars||Babs (voice)||TV film|
|2003||Missing||Mrs. Mastriani||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2003||Choice: The Henry Morgentaler Story||Chava Rosenfarb-Morgentaler||TV film|
|2004||Puppets Who Kill||Judge||Episode: "Bill Sues"|
|2004||Newsroom, TheThe Newsroom||Susan||Recurring role (4 episodes)|
|2004||Show Me Yours||Toni Bane||Recurring role (8 episodes)|
|2004–2005||24||Erin Driscoll||Regular role (13 episodes)|
|2005||Million Dollar Murder||Ted's Lawyer||TV film|
|2006||At the Hotel||Camille||Recurring role (4 episodes)|
|2006||Angela's Eyes||Lydia Anderson||Recurring role (6 episodes)|
|2008||Border, TheThe Border||Minister Suzanne Fleischer||Recurring role (10 episodes)|
|2010||Heartland||Sarah Craven||Episode: "Where the Truth Lies"|
|2011–2012||Nikita||Senator Madeline Pierce||Recurring role (9 episodes)|
- Heyn, Christopher. "A Conversation with Alberta Watson". Inside Section One: Creating and Producing TV's La Femme Nikita. Introduction by Peta Wilson. Los Angeles: Persistence of Vision Press, 2006. pp. 88–93. ISBN 0-9787625-0-9. In-depth conversation with Alberta Watson about her role as Madeline on La Femme Nikita, as well as her more recent acting experiences.
- Alberta Watson profile, filmreference.com; accessed March 23, 2015.
- Rita Zekas. "Alberta's Feeling At Home On Deranged", Toronto Star, August 5, 1994.
- Neil Morton. "In Praise of Alberta Watson", Elm Street Magazine; accessed March 23, 2015.
- Alberta Watson at the Internet Movie Database
- Bruce Blackadar. "Young Actress Is Behind Bars -- For A Movie", Toronto Star, August 7, 1980.
- Profile of René Bonnière; accessed March 23, 2015.
- Jim Bawden. Toronto Star, Nikita's Iciest Femme Fatale, albertawatson.net, July 18, 1999.
- Liz Braun. "Happy In Her Work", albertawatson.net, December 29, 1995.
- George Kaczender profile, imdb.com; accessed March 23, 2015.
- "Three Hours On A Plane Is All She Can Stand: Great Escapes - Alberta Watson", Interview with Fulton King, February 19, 2000.
- "She Wasn't Afraid of 'Spanking'", San Francisco Examiner, August 23, 1994.
- Profile TVGuide/Yahoo Chat, January 7, 1999.
- Michelle Erica Green. "Alberta Watson: The Toughest Woman on Television", TheLittleReview.com; accessed March 23, 2015.
- "'24' actress Alberta Watson dies at 60". Fox News. March 23, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015.