Megan Follows

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Megan Follows
Megan Follows.jpg
Follows at CFC, March 2012
Born Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows
(1968-03-14) March 14, 1968 (age 47)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Actress
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Christopher Porter (m. 1991–96)
Children 2

Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows (born March 14, 1968)[1] is a Canadian 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.

Early life[edit]

Follows was born in Toronto, Ontario, the youngest of four children, in an acting family. Her father is Canadian theater actor and director Ted Follows, and her mother is Canadian actress Dawn Greenhalgh; her parents later divorced.[1] 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.[2]


Early start[edit]

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 adult gesture instead.[3] 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 three-part episode. She also starred in the short film "Boys and Girls" (1983), which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.[4]

Anne of Green Gables[edit]

Follows's 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.[5] 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 at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con International

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",[6] 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.[7]

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[8] 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.[9]

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. Also in 2012 she was cast as Alice Stewart in the series Longmire. 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 second and third seasons.[10]


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.


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.[11]

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.[3] 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 co-production 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.[12] The second was Soulpepper's remount of its critically acclaimed 2007 production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls.[13] 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.[14]

Personal life[edit]

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).[15]

Humanitarian work[edit]

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 and tsunami.[16]

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 amid poverty and abuse and how they view their own future.[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Clare's Wish Short film
1981 Olden Days Coat, TheThe Olden Days Coat Sal Short film
1982 Jen's Place Jennifer
1983 Boys and Girls Margaret Short film
1985 Silver Bullet Jane Coslaw
1988 Time of Destiny, AA Time of Destiny Irene
1989 Exposed Short film
1989 Termini Station Micheline Dushane
1990 Deep Sleep Shelley
1990 Nutcracker Prince, TheThe Nutcracker Prince Clara Voice role
1993 When Pigs Fly Kathleen
1998 Reluctant Angel Lisa/Cheryl
2002 Someone Was Watching Kate Video
2003 Foreign Affair, AA Foreign Affair Lena
2004 Christmas Child Meg Davenport
2007 Breakfast with Scot Barbara Warren
2010 Pooka Rosey Short film
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


Year Title Role Notes
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 2 episodes
1982 Littlest Hobo, TheThe Littlest Hobo Marti Kendall 3 episodes
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 Movie
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 Movie
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"
2003[18] 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 Plainsong Ella Guthrie Movie
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 the fake 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
Reign Catherine de' Medici Main role
2014 Republic of Doyle Warden Barton Episode: "Dirty Deeds"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1986 Gemini Awards Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Single Dramatic Program or Miniseries Anne of Green Gables Won
1990 Genie Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Termini Station Nominated


  1. ^ a b Megan Follows profile,; accessed 10 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Megan Follows". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b CBC Profile; accessed April 10, 2014.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Interesting facts about Anne of Green Gables",; accessed April 10, 2014.
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "Reign Cast: Megan Follows". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  8. ^ CBC TV Open Heart: interview with Megan Follows,; accessed April 10, 2014.
  9. ^ "Booky's World Full Cast". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Whitlock, Nathan (23 January 2012). "The Conversation: Arsinée Khanjian and Megan Follows on collaborating with loved ones". Toronto Life. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (11 May 2008). "Mother and child reunion". Toronto Star. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Coulbourn, John (5 July 2007). "'Top Girls' is top-notch". Showbiz Theatre Reviews. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  14. ^ Taylor, Kate (15 January 2013). "Megan Follows on playing Atwood's Penelope, being manipulative, and motherhood". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Cast: Then and Now". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Talent, Hosts, Radio and Television Stations Still Signing up to be Part of Benefit Event Canada for Asia",; accessed April 10, 2014.
  17. ^ "Small Voices Crew". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  18. ^ Mentors (TV series)#Season 3

External links[edit]