Megan Follows

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Megan Follows
Follows at Comic-Con International, 2014
Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows

(1968-03-14) March 14, 1968 (age 56)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Actress
  • director
Years active1977–present
Known forAnne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel
Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story
Booky Makes Her Mark
Booky and the Secret Santa
Booky's Crush
Christopher Porter
(m. 1991⁠–⁠1996)
PartnerStuart Hughes (1996-2010)
RelativesSean O'Bryan (brother-in-law)

Megan Elizabeth Laura Diana Follows (/ˈmɡən/; born March 14, 1968)[1] is a Canadian-American actress and director. She is known for her role as Anne Shirley in the 1985 Canadian television miniseries Anne of Green Gables and its two sequels. From 2013 to 2017, she starred as Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France, in the television drama series Reign.

Early life[edit]

Follows was born in Toronto, Ontario, the youngest of four children, in an acting family. Her father was Canadian theatre actor and director Ted Follows (1926–2016) and her mother is Canadian actress Dawn Greenhalgh (born 1933). Her parents later divorced.[2]

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.[3]



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.[4] 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 films The Olden Days Coat (1981) and Boys and Girls (1983), the latter of which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.[5]

Anne of Green Gables[edit]

Follows' breakthrough occurred when she was cast as Anne Shirley in the 1985 miniseries Anne of Green Gables (as well as its two sequels).[6] 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.

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.[7] She did not reprise the role for the fourth film, Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning, and Barbara Hershey took over the role.[6]

In 2023, Follows directed an audiobook dramatisation. She said, "I loved the idea of going back and deeply immersing myself in the text, in the writing of Lucy Maud Montgomery."[8]


Follows has made a number of appearances on both Canadian and U.S. television. In 1989, she starred in an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater, "The Dwarf". In 1991 she starred with actors David Soul and David Morse in the made-for-television movie Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann in the titular role. The plot is based on the true story of the abduction of Peggy Ann Bradnick by an ex-convict and ex-mental patient William Diller Hollenbaugh which took place in Shade Gap, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1966. It aired on NBC on May 6, 1991. In 1995, as Megan Porter Follows (as she was then known, by her married name) starred in The Outer Limits episode "The Choice", along with Thora Birch and as the nurse in the 1995 “Home Nurse” episode of Murder She Wrote with Angela Lansbury. 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[6] and police drama Major Crime.[9]

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[10] as a nurse fighting a physician of malpractice, and in Shania: A Life in Eight Albums, as the mother of 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.[11]

Among her earliest American television appearances were roles in The Facts of Life (as a cousin of Jo Polniaczek in Episode 23 of Season 3 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 character's 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 the CBS television series Second Chances. Since 2000, she has appeared on Law & Order, ER,[6] The X-Files, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Cold Case, and Lie to Me, among others. She has appeared in the Canadian television series, Heartland, for several episodes as Ty Borden's mother.[6][12] She has also regularly directed Heartland.[12]

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 appeared as Alice Stewart in one episode of Longmire, and in the Starz series World Without End, playing Lady Maud. In 2013, Follows was cast as Catherine de' Medici on Reign,[6] a historical drama series on The CW, based on the early life of Mary, Queen of Scots. The series ran for four seasons.[13]

In 2018, it was announced that Follows would be the lead director on Held, a psychological web series produced by marblemedia.[14] She also has a recurring role as the mother of the titular character on Wynonna Earp.

In 2020, it was announced that Follows will direct the psychological thriller film Maternal, her debut as a film director. The film is slated to star Amybeth McNulty.[15]


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.[16] In 1990, she was the voice of Clara from the cartoon Christmas film The Nutcracker Prince.[6] Her later 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.[6] She also had a brief uncredited cameo as a grocery store clerk in the movie I Am Number Four (2011).[citation needed]


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.[17]

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.[4] 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.[citation needed]

Soulpepper's 2008 season, marking the company's ten 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, Canadian actress Dawn Greenhalgh.[18] The second was Soulpepper's remount of its critically acclaimed 2007 production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls.[19]

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.[20]

Personal life[edit]

In 1991, Follows married Christopher David Porter, a Canadian gaffer and photographer she met on the set of Deep Sleep. They have two children, Lyla Anne Porter (born 1991) and Russell Porter (born 1994).[21] The couple divorced in 1996. Follows was subsequently in a long-term relationship with actor Stuart Hughes; they broke up around 2010.[22]

Humanitarian work[edit]

Follows has served as a spokeswoman for the relief organization World Vision Canada. She travelled 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.[23]

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.[24]

Follows is also a member of the Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.[25]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1985 Silver Bullet Jane Coslaw [16]
1990 The Nutcracker Prince Clara Stahlbaum [6]
2007 Breakfast with Scot Barbara Warren Cameo [6]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1985 Anne of Green Gables Anne Shirley TV movie [26][6]
1987 Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel TV movie [6]
1995 Under the Piano Rosetta Brasilio TV movie [6]
2000 Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story Anne Shirley Blythe TV movie [6]
2001 ER Christy Larkin Episode: A Walk in the Woods [6]
2004 CSI Beth Darian Episode: Bad To The Bone [27]
2009 Lie To Me Lorraine Burch [28]
2009-21 Heartland Lily Borden 9 episodes [6][12]
2012 World Without End Maud 3 episodes [6]
2013-17 Reign Catherine de'Medici Main, 78 episodes [6]
2017 Murdoch Mysteries Megan Byrne Episode: Home for the Holidays [6]
2023 Hudson & Rex Detective Sidney Scott Episode: Northern Rexposure & Due North [6]

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
2015 Canadian Screen Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series Reign
2017 Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role


  1. ^ Hubbard, Linda S.; Steen, Sara; O'Donnell, Owen (1989). Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. Gale. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-8103-2070-3. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "Megan Follows Biography (1968–)". Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "Megan Follows profile". Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Scott, Alec (July 12, 2005). "Anne Who?". Archived from the original on April 23, 2007. Retrieved March 6, 2007.
  5. ^ "Boys and Girls (1983) profile". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2011. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Anne Shirley". Anne of Green Gables. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  7. ^ "Interesting facts about Anne of Green Gables"[dead link],; accessed April 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Kevin Yarr (December 3, 2023). "Anne of Green Gables audiobook 'a whole new world,' says Megan Follows". CBC News. Retrieved December 22, 2023. director Megan Follows describes it as an entirely different kind of approach to the novel. This is a return to the story for Follows, who played red-haired orphan Anne Shirley in a 1985 CBC-TV miniseries adaptation that is almost as beloved as the book itself.
  9. ^ "Reign Cast: Megan Follows". Archived from the original on July 8, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  10. ^ CBC TV Open Heart: interview with Megan Follows,; accessed April 10, 2014.
  11. ^ "Booky's World Full Cast". Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c "Megan Follows wins DGC award for her work on Heartland". CBC Television. October 29, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  13. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (February 13, 2014). "'Reign', 'Arrow', 'Supernatural', 'The Originals' & 'The Vampire Diaries' Renewed by The CW". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "Marblemedia teams up with Megan Follows for new web series".
  15. ^ Victoria Ahearn, "2 Anne Shirleys come together for psychedelic thriller". CBC News, February 5, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Vincent Canby (October 11, 1985). "Screen: 'Silver Bullet'". The New York Times. p. 18. Retrieved December 21, 2023. First he must convince his plucky older sister, Jane (Megan Follows)
  17. ^ Whitlock, Nathan (January 23, 2012). "The Conversation: Arsinée Khanjian and Megan Follows on collaborating with loved ones". Toronto Life. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  18. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (May 11, 2008). "Mother and child reunion". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Coulbourn, John (July 5, 2007). "'Top Girls' is top-notch". Showbiz Theatre Reviews. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  20. ^ Taylor, Kate (January 15, 2013). "Megan Follows on playing Atwood's Penelope, being manipulative, and motherhood". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "Cast: Then and Now". Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  22. ^ "From Anne to Penelope: Green Gables star is inspired choice for Atwood's Penelopiad". Toronto Star, January 12, 2013.
  23. ^ "Talent, Hosts, Radio and Television Stations Still Signing up to be Part of Benefit Event Canada for Asia" Archived February 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed April 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Small Voices Crew". Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  25. ^ "Artists - Artists Against Racism".
  26. ^ Emma Brockes (February 16, 2017). "Can Anne of Green Gables overcome 30 years of nostalgia?". The Guardian. Retrieved December 7, 2023. The performances of the leads – Megan Follows as Anne
  27. ^ "Megan Follows Movie and Shows". Apple TV.
  28. ^ "Do No Harm - Lie to Me (Series 1, Episode 6)". Apple TV. June 18, 2009.

External links[edit]