American actress Helen Slater was trained at New York's High School for the Performing Arts. In 1984 she was signed for the leading role in Supergirl, perhaps hoping that this modest special-effects fest would do for her what Superman did for another unknown, Christopher Reeve. Alas, Supergirl was a failure, not so much due to Slater's spunky but antiseptic performance as to an uninvolving script and lackluster direction. Since Supergirl, Slater has been seen to best advantage in supporting parts, notably the sweet-tempered kidnapper in Ruthless People (1986) and cattle-drive novice Bonnie Rayburn in City Slickers (1991). In 1990, Slater played cub reporter Anne McKenna on the three-week TV series Capital News.