An intense, stage-trained leading lady of film and TV with striking blue eyes and a velvety voice, Meg Foster evolved from playing convincing hippies in the 1970s to competent career women in the 80s and 90s. Foster discovered acting while attending boarding school in Lowell, MA, and pursued this interest at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse. She appeared in a Cornell University Summer Theater production of "John Brown's Body" before making her off-Broadway debut in "The Empire Builders." Foster moved to L.A. and soon found work in film and TV, making her feature debut in the small role of the estranged girlfriend of Michael Douglas in "Adam at 6 A.M." (1970). She advanced to leads as a hitchhiker in "Thumb Tripping" (1972) and went on to a number of films of dubious quality where her performance was the most praised element. Among the latter were Laurence Harvey's final film, "Welcome to Arrow Beach/Tender Flesh" (1974), as a potential meal of a cannibalistic veteran, and the offensive romantic comedy "A Different Story" (1978), as a lesbian who gets romantically involved with a gay man. She fared better in a Genie-nominated performance in "A Ticket to Heaven" (1981), an acclaimed Canadian drama about cult religions. Foster's subsequent film credits have been primarily low-budget genre fodder with a few brighter spots including Sam Peckinpah's "The Osterman Weekend" (1983), John Boorman's "The Emerald Forest" (1985), as the mother of a boy raised by Amazonian Indians, and John Carpenter's "They Live" (1988).
Foster's first TV credit of note was "Sunshine" (CBS, 1973), a popular sentimental TV-movie about the family and friends of a cancer victim, which generated a short-lived sitcom (NBC, 1975) and a sequel, "Sunshine Christmas" (NBC, 1977). In all three, Foster played Nora, a helpful friend and neighbor of the widower protagonist. (Several episodes of the TV series were strung together and released theatrically overseas as "Sunshine Part II" in 1976.) Foster won attention for her portrayal of adulteress Hester Prynne in the PBS miniseries "The Scarlet Letter" (1979) and was Det. Chris Cagney to Tyne Daly's Det. Mary Beth Lacey in the first season of "Cagney and Lacey" (CBS, 1982). Deemed too hard-edged in the role, she was subsequently replaced by Sharon Gless. Her removal from the series slightly knocked the sails out of her TV career, with only sporadic employment for several seasons. She then was relegated to supporting parts, often cast as overly-aggressive females of authority, as in the 1996 Showtime TV-movie "Space Marines." Ironically, it was Sharon Gless and Barney Rosenzweig, the former "Cagney & Lacey" executive producer, who kicked in a good role: the recurring one of a district attorney alongside Gless in "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" (CBS, 1990-91). Foster has also made guest appearances on such hits as "Murder, She Wrote," "Miami Vice" and "ER." In 1997, she co-starred in "Deep Family Secrets" (CBS) and she has remained active on the L.A. stage.
Cast (Feature Film)
Casting (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Feature debut, "Adam at 6 A.M."
TV-movie debut, "The Death of Me Yet"
Had first film lead, "Thumb Tripping"
Played Nora in the popular TV-movie "Sunshine"
TV series debut, reprised the role of Nora in the sitcom sequel "Sunshine"
Reprised the role of Nora in the TV-movie sequel "Sunshine Christmas"
TV miniseries debut, "Washington: Behind Closed Doors" (ABC)
Appeared opposite Perry King in "A Different Story"
Starred as Hester Prynne in PBS miniseries adaptation of "The Scarlet Letter"
Co-starred as Detective Chris Cagney in the first seven episodes of "Cagney and Lacey" (succeeded by Sharon Gless)
Played Charlie Boorman's mother in "The Emerald Forest"
Had recurring role of D.A. Deb Grant on "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill"
Guest starred in a two-part episode of "Quantum Leap"