Helen Slater

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Helen Slater
Slater at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, October 17, 2009.
BornHelen Rachel Slater
(1963-12-15) December 15, 1963 (age 51)
Bethpage, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer-songwriter
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Robert Watzke (m. 1989)
ChildrenHannah Nika (b. 1995)
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Helen Slater
Slater at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, October 17, 2009.
BornHelen Rachel Slater
(1963-12-15) December 15, 1963 (age 51)
Bethpage, New York, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer-songwriter
Years active1982–present
Spouse(s)Robert Watzke (m. 1989)
ChildrenHannah Nika (b. 1995)

Helen Slater (born December 15, 1963) is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She appeared as the Kryptonian superheroine in TriStar's 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 four 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] the two 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. She is not related to actor Christian Slater.

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 as a brunette. In 1984, she played the title character, versus Faye Dunaway as Selena, in the film Supergirl. The film, directed by Jeannot Szwarc, received mixed reviews, and was not a box-office success but has gained a cult following since its release.

In her next film, she was cast alongside Christian Slater (no relation) and Yeardley Smith as Billie Jean Davy, a folk hero that 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, 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 al Ghul 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 maintained direct and indirect ties to 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 the Superman universe. Slater made a return to the Superman franchise, as she was seen in a recurring role as Clark Kent's biological mother, Lara, on the Superman-themed TV series Smallville.

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 romcom 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.[6] 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.[7]


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.[8]

Personal life[edit]

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


1982ABC Afterschool SpecialAmy WatsonEpisode “Amy & the Angel”
1984SupergirlKara Zor-El / Linda Lee / Supergirl
1985The Legend of Billie JeanBillie Jean Davy
1986Ruthless PeopleSandy Kessler
1987The Secret of My SuccessChristy Wills
1988Sticky FingersHattie
Improv ToniteHerselfGuest host
1989Happy TogetherAlexandra Page
1990The Great Air RaceJacqui CochraneTV movie
Capital NewsAnne McKennaTV movie
1991City SlickersBonnie Rayburn
The Hidden RoomLaurenEpisode: “Wasting Away”
1992SeinfeldBecky GelkeEpisode: “The Good Samaritan”
Dream OnSarahEpisode: "Theory of Relativity"
Betrayal of the DoveEllie West
1992–1994The Adventures of Batman & RobinTalia al Ghul (voice role)4 episodes
199312:01Lisa FredericksTV movie
Chantilly LaceHannahTV movie
A House In The HillsAlex Weaver
1994CouplesNinaTV movie
LassieLaura Turner
Parallel LivesElsa FreedmanTV movie
1995The StealKim
No Way BackMary
1997The Long Way HomeHerselfVoice role
Caroline in the CityCassandra ThompsonCaroline and the Monkeys
ToothlessKatherine's MomTV movie
1997–1998Michael HayesJulie Siegel3 episodes
1998Best Friends for LifePammy CahillTV movie
2000American AdventureKathyTV movie
2001Nowhere in SightCarly Bauers
Will & GracePeggy TrumanEpisode: “Moveable Feast”
2003Boston PublicMrs. McNealEpisode: "Chapter Seventy-Four"
2004Law & Order: Special Victims UnitSusan CoyleEpisode: “Families”
Seeing Other PeoplePenelope
2005Grey's AnatomyNadia SheltonEpisode: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
2006Jane Doe: The Harder They FallStella AndreTV movie
The New Adventures of Old ChristineLizEpisode: “Teach Your Children Well”
2007Crossing JordanElaine TallridgeEpisode: “Seven Feet Under”
2007–2010SmallvilleLara-El3 episodes
2009SupernaturalSusan CarterEpisode: “Family Remains”
Eleventh HourSusan WynneEpisode: “Medea”
GreekDr. Magda StephanopoulosEpisode: “Guilty Treasures”
2010Rock the HouseDiane PetersenTV movie
CSI: NYElizabeth HarrisEpisode: “Do Not Pass Go”
2010–2011GiganticJennifer Brooks10 episodes
2011Private PracticeErinEpisode: “Two Steps Back”
Rock the HouseDiane PetersenTV movie
Drop Dead DivaPenny BreckerEpisode: “Hit and Run”
2011– 2013The Lying GameKristin MercerSeries regular
2013The Good MotherCheryl JordanTV movie
2014The Young and the RestlessDr. ChivertonDaytime drama



  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. ^ Saporito, Joseph R., Cortés Alexander, Thou ‘Swell’, qmetropolis.com, March 18, 2009
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Supergirl #50 at the Grand Comics Database

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