Helen Slater

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Helen Slater
Helen Slater 2016.jpg
Slater at the MagicCity ComicCon, January 16, 2016
Born Helen Rachel Slater
(1963-12-15) December 15, 1963 (age 52)
Bethpage, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer-songwriter
Years active 1982–present
Spouse(s) Robert Watzke (m. 1989)
Children 1
Website www.helenslater.com

Helen Rachel Slater (born December 15, 1963) is an American actress and singer, and songwriter. She appeared as the Kryptonian superheroine in the 1984 film Supergirl.[1] In the following years, she starred in several successful comedy-drama films such as Ruthless People (1986), The Secret of My Success (1987), and City Slickers (1991). She additionally found work as an actress in television, and stage projects, including three guest appearances on the series Smallville (2007–2010).[2] She was a series regular for the two-season run (2011–2013) on the ABC Family series The Lying Game.

In the 2000s, Slater recorded five albums, singing her own compositions and playing the piano.

Early life[edit]

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;[3] they divorced in 1974.[4] She has a brother, David, who is a lawyer in New York City. Her family is Jewish.[5] Slater attended Great Neck South High School and then transferred to the High School of Performing Arts from which she was graduated in 1982.[citation needed] Despite common misconception, she is not related to actor Christian Slater, who played her brother in The Legend of Billie Jean.[6]

Film and television work[edit]

Slater made her acting debut in the ABC Afterschool Special Amy & the Angel, aired in 1982, alongside James Earl Jones, Meg Ryan, and Matthew Modine. This was also the only film she appeared in exclusively as a brunette. In 1984, she played the title character, versus Faye Dunaway as Selena, in the TriStar film Supergirl. The film, directed by Jeannot Szwarc and including big name actors like Mia Farrow and Peter O'Toole, received mixed reviews, and was not a box-office success. The film was cited as a reason for publisher DC killing off the original comics character (Supergirl (Kara Zor-El)) in 1985, though a new "Supergirl" soon appeared. Slater's performance was not generally blamed. The film eventually gained a cult following.

In her next film, Slater was cast alongside Christian Slater and Yeardley Smith as Billie Jean Davy, a folk hero who styles herself as a modern-day Joan of Arc, in the film The Legend of Billie Jean (1985). Next, she appeared in two high-profile comedies, Ruthless People (1986) and The Secret of My Success (1987). More high-profile roles followed when she appeared in the cult classic independent comedy Sticky Fingers (1988) with longtime friend Melanie Mayron, City Slickers (1991) with Billy Crystal, the steamy A House in the Hills (1993) with Michael Madsen, and the action-crime drama No Way Back opposite Russell Crowe (1996). Other noteworthy performances were seen in films including 12:01 (1993), Betrayal of the Dove, and opposite Andy Richter in Seeing Other People (2004).

Slater has appeared on episodes of various television series, including The New Adventures of Old Christine, Supernatural, four episodes as the voice of Talia in Batman: The Animated Series, and others. She was a series regular on the half-season run of the 1990 ABC newsroom drama Capital News and the 2011–2013 two season run of the ABC Family series The Lying Game.

During her career, Slater has revisited her 1984 role of Supergirl. She made a brief guest appearance on Seinfeld as a love interest of Jerry Seinfeld, who in reality is a huge fan of Superman. Slater was seen in a recurring role as Clark Kent's biological mother, Lara, on the TV series Smallville and as Supergirl's adoptive mother in the recent TV series Supergirl.

Slater was a spokeswoman for Preference by L'Oréal in both television and print ads.

Stage work[edit]

Slater co-founded the New York theater group, The Naked Angels, with Gina Gershon. Her stage credits include appearances in Grease and Shakespeare and Friends. Off-Broadway, she starred in Responsible Parties and Almost Romance. She also attended classes at both N.Y.U. and U.C.L.A., to broaden her acting abilities.

Musical career[edit]

Slater has stated that she pursued musical efforts even before doing movies. In the 1989 Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy Happy Together, she sang a medley of Broadway songs as well other songs. In the 1994 movie Lassie, she also sang. For the soundtrack of the film Nowhere In Sight (2000), she contributed the song "The Detour".

In 2003, she released a CD, One of These Days, consisting of her original songs. Notably, the tracks were real-time recordings with Slater singing and playing piano, plus six other musicians total; no multitracking, editing, or dubbing were employed. In 2005, she released a second CD, Crossword, using the same recording approach as the first CD. Both albums were produced by Phil Swann. In 2008 Cortes Alexander recorded Slater's "Any Day Now" and "Love'll Come & Do Just That" on his album Swell.[7] Her third album, Shine, was released in late 2010.


In 1985, DC Comics named Slater as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for her work on the Supergirl film.[8]


Slater wrote a day in the life of Supergirl tale entitled "A Hero's Journey" which appeared in the 50th issue of the Supergirl comic book.[9]

Personal life[edit]

She married filmmaker Robert Watzke in September 1989. Their daughter, Hannah Nika, was born August 28, 1995.


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Supergirl Kara Zor-El / Linda Lee / Supergirl
1985 The Legend of Billie Jean Billie Jean Davy
1986 Ruthless People Sandy Kessler
1987 The Secret of My Success Christy Wills
1988 Sticky Fingers Hattie
1989 Happy Together Alexandra Page
1991 City Slickers Bonnie Rayburn
1992 Betrayal of the Dove Ellie West
1993 A House In The Hills Alex Weaver
1993 12:01 Lisa Fredericks TV movie
1993 Chantilly Lace Hannah TV movie
1994 Couples Nina TV movie
1994 Parallel Lives Elsa Freedman TV movie
1994 Lassie Laura Turner
1995 The Steal Kim
1995 No Way Back Mary
1997 The Long Way Home Herself Voice role
1997 Toothless Mrs. Lewis TV movie
1998 Best Friends for Life Pammy Cahill TV movie
1999 Carlo's Wake Lisa Torello TV movie
2000 American Adventure Kathy TV movie
2001 Nowhere in Sight Carly Bauers TV movie
2004 Seeing Other People Penelope
2010 Rock the House Diane Petersen TV movie
2011 Beautiful Wave Nicole's Mother
2012 Model Minority Mrs. Ambrose
2013 The Good Mother Cheryl Jordan TV movie
2014 Echo Park Julia
2015 A Remarkable Life Iris


Year Title Role Notes
1982 ABC Afterschool Special Amy Watson Episode “Amy & the Angel”
1988 Improv Tonite Herself Guest host
1990 The Great Air Race Jacqui Cochrane TV miniseries
1990 Capital News Anne McKenna TV series
1991 The Hidden Room Lauren Episode: “Wasting Away”
1992 Seinfeld Becky Gelke Episode: “The Good Samaritan”
1992 Dream On Sarah Episode: "Theory of Relativity"
1992–1994 The Adventures of Batman & Robin Talia al Ghul (voice) 4 episodes
1997 Caroline in the City Cassandra Thompson Episode: "Caroline and the Monkeys"
1997–1998 Michael Hayes Julie Siegel 3 episodes
2001 Will & Grace Peggy Truman Episode: “Moveable Feast”
2003 Boston Public Mrs. McNeal Episode: "Chapter Seventy-Four"
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Susan Coyle Episode: “Families”
2005 Grey's Anatomy Nadia Shelton Episode: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
2006 Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall Stella Andre TV movie
2006 The New Adventures of Old Christine Liz Episode: “Teach Your Children Well”
2007 Crossing Jordan Elaine Tallridge Episode: “Seven Feet Under”
2007–2010 Smallville Lara-El 3 episodes
2009 Supernatural Susan Carter Episode: “Family Remains”
2009 Eleventh Hour Susan Wynne Episode: “Medea”
2009 Greek Dr. Magda Stephanopoulos Episode: “Guilty Treasures”
2010 CSI: NY Elizabeth Harris Episode: “Do Not Pass Go”
2010–2011 Gigantic Jennifer Brooks 10 episodes
2011 Private Practice Erin Episode: “Two Steps Back”
2011 Drop Dead Diva Penny Brecker Episode: “Hit and Run”
2011– 2013 The Lying Game Kristin Mercer Series regular
2014 The Young and the Restless Dr. Chiverton 4 episodes
2015 Mad Men Sheila Episode: "Person to Person"
2015 Supergirl Eliza Danvers 4 episodes
2016 DC Super Hero Girls Martha Kent (voice) TV special


  • One of These Days (2003)
  • Crossword (2005)
  • Shine (2010)
  • Myths of Ancient Greece (2013)
  • The Ugly Duckling (2015)


  1. ^ Pantozzi, Jill (2009-12-07). "Helen Slater is Still "Super"". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  2. ^ "60 SECONDS: Helen Slater". Metro. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  3. ^ Helen Slater Biography (1963–)
  4. ^ Helen Slater Biography – Yahoo! Movies
  5. ^ Helen Slater
  6. ^ Hunter, Rob (August 7, 2014). "28 Things We Learned from 'The Legend of Billie Jean' Commentary". Filmschoolrejects.com. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ Saporito, Joseph R., Cortés Alexander, Thou ‘Swell’, qmetropolis.com, March 18, 2009
  8. ^ Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Helen Slater Supergirl Comes to Film" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 51 (1985), DC Comics
  9. ^ Supergirl #50 at the Grand Comics Database

External links[edit]