Helen Shaver started acting professionally on stage at the age of 18 and has worked in theatre, film and TV. Shaver has worked with some of Hollywood's best, including Martin Scorsese, The Colour of Money; John Schlesinger, The Believers; Sam Peckinpah, The Osterman Weekend; Robert Rodriguez, Roadracers; Steven Spielberg, Amazing Stories and Land Before Time; Neil Simon, Jake's Women and Donna Deitch, Desert Hearts.
As an actress, her performances have brought critical accolades and awards. Shaver has received a Theatreworld Award for her role in Jake's Woman; a Genie for Best Actress for In Praise of Older Women; a Genie for Best Supporting Actress for Who has seen the Wind and We All Fall Down and a Cable Ace nomination for her role in the Outer Limits "Sand Kings".
Never one to shy away from controversial films and powerful roles, Shaver's performance in In Praise of Older Women helped contribute to a near riot at the Toronto International Film Festival when the showing was oversold. By contrast, her later performance in Desert Hearts was viewed by hushed mesmerized audiences and her lesbian scene is still regarded by many as one of the most erotic in movie history.
After 23 years in front of the camera, Helen Shaver stepped behind to make her directorial debut, creating some compelling hours of television. Helen began her television directing career with The Outer Limits. This led to Soul Food, Beggars and Choosers, Judging Amy, The OC, Dead Like Me, Joan of Arcadia, Just Cause and a The District/The Agency crossover episode.
Shaver made her long form directing debut with the Emmy Award-winning Showtime feature film Summer's End staring James Earl Jones, named Best Picture at the 1999 Chicago Film Festival. She directed Outer Limits episodes "What Will The Neighbors Think", starring Jane Adams, "Phobos Rising" staring Joan Chen and Adam Baldwin, as well as earning a Leo nomination for Best Director for Lithia staring Julie Harris and David Keith. In 2001, Shaver directed Due East, with a cast including Robert Forster, Cybil Shepherd, and Kate Capshaw and in 2003 Shaver picked up a Gemini Award for Just Cause.
As a child, she suffered from chronic rheumatic fever and between the ages of five and 12 was forced to spend six months of each year in bed or in hospitals, which she said fostered her introspective side. She attended the Banff School of Fine Arts as a teenager and studied acting at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.