AMANDA TAPPING: Life & Work
Amanda Tapping is best known for her acting roles as Samantha Carter in the series Stargate: SG-1 and as Helen Magnus in Sanctuary, although, in the last few years, she has also made a name for herself as a successful director in several well-known television series such as Supernatural or The 100.
She was born in Essex on August 28th, 1965, and her family moved to Toronto when she was three, where she subsequently spent her childhood and adolescence. In 1997, after being selected for the role of Samantha Carter, she settled down in Vancouver and has been living there ever since. She is married to Alan Kovacs and has a daughter, Olivia B Kovacs, who was born on March 22, 2005. Riley joined the family in July 2018. Riley is a Bouvier/Mastiff/Rottweiler/Boxer mix.
I’ve been lucky in my career that I’ve generally been cast as smart strong women. Sam and Helen have both been gifts for me as an actress. So much depth and courage. Sam is a great role model for many reasons. She helped make Amanda a stronger person.
~ Amanda Tapping, Q&A at Joseph Malozzi’s Weblog, 2009 ~
Amanda had always wanted to become an actor, an interest that grew when she had the opportunity to play Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz in fifth grade and Oliver in Oliver in sixth grade. At 18, after graduating from high school, her father decided to take her to a theatre audition for the role of Alais Capet in the play The Lion in Winter thinking she would not get the part and that the experience of rejection would discourage her from pursuing that path. Amanda succeeded, however, and that audition became the definitive moment for her decision to pursue a career in acting.
After studying drama at the University of Windsor School of Dramatic Arts, she was involved with several stage productions and spent four more years studying theatre.
Amanda Tapping’s original plan had been to work in theatre only, on Broadway as well as London’s theatre district, but she found an agent who convinced her to audition for a Tim Hortons’ commercial. She got the role and the experience sparked her interest in television, so she then took a film acting course in order to learn about the differences between stage-acting and screen-acting. That Tim Hortons’ commercial would be the first of several commercials, followed by guest roles in series and movies like Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Disney’s Flash Foward and Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story. The income from the commercials helped her to finance a comedy troupe she co-founded together with two other women she had met through auditions. The title of the troupe, Random Acts, was inspired by the adage “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” and the troupe performed feminist-based political satire. They performed all over Toronto at Comedy Festivals in plays like On Becoming a Woman. The group disbanded after several years, as a result of its members moving to different places.
In 1997, she landed the role of Samantha Carter, an Air Force officer and scientist, in the series Stargate SG-1, a role that she continued to play for the next 12 years in the series as well as in spinoff series (Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe) and movies (Ark of Truth, Continuum). From 2008 on, she played the lead character, Dr. Helen Magnus, on the series Sanctuary, which ran for eight episodes on the web and four seasons on television. Since then, she has starred in movies such as Taken Back: Finding Haley and Random Acts of Romance, appeared in series such as Motive and Killjoys, and had recurring roles on the series Travelers and Supernatural.
Her acting work has been recognized with several nominations and six awards.
Podcast with Amanda Tapping at YVR Screen Scene, 2019
Bite the Bullet: Amanda Tapping for Self Worth and the MeToo Movement, 2019
Bite the Bullet: Amanda Tapping for Self Worth – Bonus Video, 2019
After Stargate at GateWorld, 2018
The unstoppable Amanda Tapping at YVR Screen Scene, 2017
Women Behind Canadian TV: Amanda Tapping at The TV Junkies, 2015
Convocation Speech at the University of Windsor: Spring Convocation Session 3, 2014
Meet Amanda Tapping, Director/Actor/Producer & Contest Mentor at Women in Film and Television Vancouver, 2014
Amanda Tapping on directing Continuum and Arctic Air at SciFi and TV talk, 2014
Interview about Sanctuary for Kids at Peace Fund Radio, 2013
Amanda Tapping finds Sanctuary at Myria, 2014
Amanda Tapping on coping with miscarriage at Westender, 2013
Tapping into Grace at Westender, 2013
Stargate’s Sam Carter Speaks at IGN, 2008
Interview with Amanda Tapping at IGN, 2004