Alberta Watson

Active - 1978 - 2009  |   Born - Mar 6, 1955 in Toronto, Ontario  |   Died - Mar 21, 2015   |   Genres - Action, Drama, Thriller, Crime

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Biography by Lucia Bozzola

Prolific Canadian actress Alberta Watson is best known for her work in off-center independent films and the syndicated TV series La Femme Nikita. Born and raised in Toronto, Watson began performing in local theater productions as a teenager. After garnering a Genie nomination for one of her first films, the steamy In Praise of Older Women (1978), Watson earned parts in several Canadian features, including Stone Cold Dead (1980) and a starring role in Black Mirror (1981). Moving to the U.S. in the early '80s, Watson continued to work regularly, scoring co-starring roles with Scott Glen in Michael Mann's stylish World War II horror movie The Keep (1983); Susan Sarandon in the TV movie Women of Valor (1986); and in cult director Donald Cammel's second-to-last feature White of the Eye (1987). Watson found 1990s indie film success as the incestuous mother to Jeremy Davies' put-upon teen in neophyte director David O. Russell's unusual black comedy (and Sundance prize winner) Spanking the Monkey (1994). After playing a more conventional mother in Hackers (1995), Watson returned to Canada, appearing in the romantic drama Sweet Angel Mine (1996) and earning another Genie nomination for Shoemaker (1996). Watson marked her greatest artistic success the following year as a mourning mother and adulterous wife in Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter (1997). Her role as tough anti-terrorist strategist Madeline in the TV version of the female assassin drama La Femme Nikita brought her more attention and critical approbation. Following her 1997-2000 stint on the show, Watson added another Sundance Film Festival prizewinner to her credit (and another notable maternal role) with her performance as the title character's mother in the transgender rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). In 2004, she joined the fourth season of 24 as the new director of CTU in Los Angeles. When La Femme Nikita was revamped as the CW series Nikita, Watson joined the cast in a recurring role, playing a senator. Watson died in 2015, at age 60.

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