Alberta Watson

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Alberta Watson
Alberta Watson on 24.jpg
Alberta Watson on 24
Faith Susan Alberta Watson

(1955-03-06)March 6, 1955
DiedMarch 23, 2015(2015-03-23) (aged 60)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Years active1975–2012

Faith Susan Alberta Watson (March 6, 1955 – March 21, 2015), better known as Alberta Watson, was a Canadian film and television actress. [1]

Canadians citizens of Canada

Canadians are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, several of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Canadian.

Film sequence of images that give the impression of movement

A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed in rapid succession. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by means of CGI and computer animation, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques, and other visual effects.

Television telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images

Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.


Early life

Watson was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1955. [2] She grew up in Toronto with her mother Grace, a factory worker, and her brother. She began performing with a local Toronto theater group, T.H.O.G. (Theater House of God), [3] of the Bathurst Street United Church at age 15. [4]

Toronto Provincial capital city in Ontario, Canada

Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), of which the majority is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), held a population of 5,928,040, making it Canada's most populous CMA. Toronto is the anchor of an urban agglomeration, known as the Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A global city, Toronto is a centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Watson took a workshop for the Hair musical. [5] While doing this workshop she did Hamlet, which was directed by René Bonnière [6] who later directed her in La Femme Nikita . [7]

<i>Hair</i> (musical) Musical about the Vietnam war

Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of "rock musical", using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-In" finale.

René Gabriel Bonnière is a French Canadian film director and editor. He has had a prolific career, working in television and film in both French and English productions.

Acting career

Watson got her first role at age 19 in a CBC movie called Honor Thy Father. [3] [8] Early in her career she portrayed the role of Mitzi in George Kaczender's [9] In Praise of Older Women (1978), for which she received a Genie nomination. A year later she received the Best Actress award at the Yorkton Film Festival for "Exposure". [4] She moved to Los Angeles, California, and later to New York City. [10]

George Kaczender was a Hungarian-born Canadian film director. He directed 26 films between 1963 and 2001.

In Praise of Older Women is George Kaczender’s twelfth feature film. It was written by Stephen Vizinczey (novel), Paul Gottlieb and Barrie Wexler. The story happens in Hungary during and after World War II but the movie was shot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The film was premiered at the Toronto Festival of Festivals on September 14, 1978.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Watson lived in New Jersey for eight years [11] with her husband until they divorced. [7] She then returned to Toronto and focused on finding roles in independent films. She worked with director Colleen Murphy on the film Shoemaker (1996), for which she received a second Genie nomination for Best Actress. [4]

New Jersey State of the United States of America

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Northeastern United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, particularly along the extent of the length of New York City on its western edge; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, and the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states; its biggest city is Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia and was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

Colleen Murphy is a Canadian screenwriter, film director and playwright. She is best known for works including her plays The December Man, which won the Governor General's Award for English-language drama at the 2007 Governor General's Awards, and Beating Heart Cadaver, which was a shortlisted nominee for the same award at the 1999 Governor General's Awards, and the film Termini Station, for which she garnered a Genie Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 11th Genie Awards.

Shoemaker is a 1996 Canadian drama film. It was directed by Colleen Murphy, written by Jaan Kolk and produced by Elizabeth Yake by Subjective Eye and the Canadian Film Centre.

Among her well-known film roles are the bed-ridden mother Susan Aibelli in the 1994 American independent film Spanking the Monkey , Lauren Murphy (the mother of Jonny Lee Miller's character Dade, aka "Crash Override"/"Zero Cool") in the 1995 cult film Hackers , and Risa in the 1997 Academy Award nominated Canadian film The Sweet Hereafter , directed by Atom Egoyan. [4]

<i>Spanking the Monkey</i> 1994 film by David O. Russell

Spanking the Monkey is a 1994 American black comedy film written and directed by David O. Russell. The title is a slang phrase for masturbation and is used in the film by one of the teenage characters. It was filmed in Pawling, New York.

<i>Hackers</i> (film) 1995 American crime film

Hackers is a 1995 American crime film directed by Iain Softley and starring Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Renoly Santiago, Laurence Mason, Matthew Lillard, Jesse Bradford, Lorraine Bracco, and Fisher Stevens. The film follows a group of high school hackers and their involvement in a corporate extortion conspiracy. Made in the 1990s when the Internet was unfamiliar to the general public, it reflects the ideals laid out in the Hacker Manifesto quoted in the film: "This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch [...] We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. [...] Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity." Hackers has achieved cult classic status.

<i>The Sweet Hereafter</i> (film) 1997 film by Atom Egoyan

The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian drama film written and directed by Atom Egoyan, starring Ian Holm, Sarah Polley and Bruce Greenwood and adapted from the novel of the same name by Russell Banks. The film tells the story of a school bus accident in a small town that results in the deaths of numerous children. A class-action lawsuit ensues, proving divisive in the community and becoming tied with personal and family issues.

In Spanking the Monkey, Watson plays her favorite character, [12] a mother who has an incestuous relationship with her son. The role was turned down by several actresses such as Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and others. [2] Watson said: [7]

She played the role of Madeline in La Femme Nikita for four seasons from 1997 to 2001 (with guest appearances in the short fifth season). During the show's second season (in 1998), Watson was diagnosed with lymphoma, for which she had to undergo chemotherapy treatment which caused her to lose her hair. [12] [13] Producers at La Femme Nikita worked around her treatment and limited her appearances. [13] Watson wore wigs in the show when she lost her hair. [13] When her hair started to regrow, she sported the short haircut in her role as Madeline in the show's third season. [13]

Watson's first name inspired the character Alberta Green in the first season of 24 .[ citation needed ] In 2005, Watson joined the cast of 24, playing CTU Director Erin Driscoll for 12 episodes of the show's fourth season.

During 2007 and 2008, Watson played a supporting role in the Canadian television series The Border as the Minister of Public Safety.

In 2010, Watson guest-starred in Heartland , a series on CBC Television, and she won a 2011 Gemini Award for her portrayal of Sarah Craven.

In a nod to her La Femme Nikita role, Alberta played recurring character Madeline Pierce in Nikita, the CW's 2010-2013 reboot of the film and TV series.


Watson died on March 21, 2015, due to complications from cancer at Kensington Hospice in Toronto fifteen days after her 60th birthday. [14]



1978 Power Play Donna
1978 In Praise of Older Women Mitzi
1979ExposureBarbaraShort film
1979 Stone Cold Dead Olivia Page
1980 Virus LithaAKA, Day of Resurrection
1981 Dirty Tricks Tony
1981Black MirrorTina
1982 The Soldier Susan Goodman
1983 The Keep Eva Cuza
1984 Best Revenge Dinah
1987 White of the Eye Ann Mason
1989Destiny to OrderThalia / Marla / Nicole
1991 The Hitman Christine De Vera
1992 Zebrahead Phyliss
1994 Spanking the Monkey Susan Aibelli
1995What's His FaceWomanShort film
1995 Hackers Lauren Murphy
1996 Shoemaker Anna
1996 Sweet Angel Mine Megan
1997 The Sweet Hereafter Risa
1998Seeds of DoubtJennifer Kingsley
1999 The Life Before This Nita
2000 Desire Simone
2000 Deeply Fiona
2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Hansel's Mom
2001Chasing CainDenise McGoogan
2001 Tart Lily Storm
2001 The Art of Woo Caterin
2002 The Wild Dogs Natalie
2004 The Prince and Me Amy Morgan
2004My Brother's KeeperHelen Woods
2004Vendetta: No Conscience, No MercyAnne Phelan
2004Some Things That StayLiz Anderson
2006 Citizen Duane Bonnie Balfour
2006 Away from Her Dr. Fischer
2006A Lobster TaleMartha Brewer
2007 The Lookout Barbara Pratt
2008Growing OpMarilla
2009 Helen Dr. Sherman
2009The SpineMary RutherfordShort film


1980 King of Kensington MitziEpisode: "War and Peace"
1980War BridesNormaTV film
1983 I Am a Hotel SuzanneTV short
1984 Hill Street Blues ProstituteEpisode: "Fuched Again"
1984Deadly NightmaresJill FriedlanderEpisode: "Remembering Melody"
1985 Murder in Space Dominica MastrelliTV film
1985 The Equalizer Carla HoldenEpisode: "The Distant Fire"
1985 Kane & Abel Zofia RosnovskiTV miniseries
1986 Fortune Dane Amy SteinerTV series
1986 Women of Valor Lt. Helen PrescottTV film
1987 Street Legal Mercedes PuentesEpisode: "Tango Bellarosa"
1987–1988 Buck James Dr. Rebecca MeyerMain role (19 episodes)
1989 The Equalizer Taffy GouldEpisode: "The Caper"
1989 Shannon's Deal Terry LomaxTV film
1989 Street Legal Maria LopezEpisode: "Partners and Other Strangers"
1990 Island Son Nina DelaneyEpisode: "Separations"
1990 Grand AndreaEpisode: "The Return of Yale Pinhaus"
1991 Law & Order Miss HanleyEpisode: "His Hour Upon the Stage"
1992 Law & Order Angela BrandtEpisode: "Skin Deep"
1993Relentless: Mind of a KillerEllen GiancolaTV film
1993 Matrix Marie SandsEpisode: "Conviction of His Courage"
1994Jonathan Stone: Threat of InnocenceDeborah Walsh BradfordTV film
1995 The Outer Limits Lynda TillmanEpisode: "If These Walls Could Talk"
1995A Child Is MissingAgent Lynette GrahamTV film
1996 Giant Mine Peggy WitteTV film
1996 Gotti Victoria Gotti TV film
1997–2001 La Femme Nikita Madeline Main role (89 episodes)
Nominated - Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series [15]
1998The Girl Next DoorMary BradleyTV film
2000 Soul Food Judge Olivia DelaneyEpisode: "The More Things Stay the Same"
2001After the HarvestAmelia GareTV film
2002Guilt by AssociationAngieTV film
2002Chasing Cain: FaceDet. Denise McGooganTV film
2003The RisenAmanda KnowlesTV film
2003Penguins Behind BarsBabs (voice)TV film
2003 Missing Mrs. MastrianiEpisode: "Pilot"
2003Choice: The Henry Morgentaler StoryChava Rosenfarb-MorgentalerTV film
2004 Puppets Who Kill JudgeEpisode: "Bill Sues"
2004 The Newsroom SusanRecurring role (4 episodes)
2004 Show Me Yours Toni BaneRecurring role (8 episodes)
2004–2005 24 Erin Driscoll Regular role (13 episodes)
2005Million Dollar MurderTed's LawyerTV film
2006 At the Hotel CamilleRecurring role (4 episodes)
2006 Angela's Eyes Lydia AndersonRecurring role (6 episodes)
2008 The Border Minister Suzanne FleischerRecurring role (10 episodes)
2010 Heartland Sarah CravenEpisode: "Where the Truth Lies"
2011–2012 Nikita Senator Madeline PierceRecurring role (9 episodes)


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  1. Alberta Watson profile,; accessed March 23, 2015.
  2. 1 2 Rita Zekas. "Alberta's Feeling At Home On Deranged", Toronto Star, August 5, 1994.
  3. 1 2 Neil Morton. "In Praise of Alberta Watson", Elm Street Magazine; accessed March 23, 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Alberta Watson on IMDb
  5. Bruce Blackadar. "Young Actress Is Behind Bars -- For A Movie", Toronto Star, August 7, 1980.
  6. Profile of René Bonnière; accessed March 23, 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 Jim Bawden. Toronto Star, Nikita's Iciest Femme Fatale,, July 18, 1999.
  8. Liz Braun. "Happy In Her Work",, December 29, 1995.
  9. George Kaczender profile,; accessed March 23, 2015.
  10. "Three Hours On A Plane Is All She Can Stand: Great Escapes - Alberta Watson", Interview with Fulton King, February 19, 2000.
  11. "She Wasn't Afraid of 'Spanking'", San Francisco Examiner, August 23, 1994.
  12. 1 2 Profile TVGuide/Yahoo Chat, January 7, 1999.
  13. 1 2 3 4 Michelle Erica Green. "Alberta Watson: The Toughest Woman on Television",; accessed March 23, 2015.
  14. "'24' actress Alberta Watson dies at 60". Fox News. March 23, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
  15. "awards database". Archived from the original on 2016-11-25. Retrieved 25 November 2016.