Clare Arnold, Tina Edison and Hildy Mulligan are just some of the extraordinary characters brought to life by the actress Kathleen Robertson over the years. Born on 8th July 1973, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Kathleen has worked in just about every aspect of the entertainment industry, proving herself to be a skilled showrunner, producer, actress, and writer.
The talented blonde studied at Sherwood Secondary School and Hillfield Strathallan College, taking acting classes from the age of ten, and making her theatre debut in a local production shortly afterwards.
Despite Kathleen making her acting debut in 1985 with a minor role in “Left Out”, it would take five years for her breakthrough performance, which came in the form of a starring role as Tina Edison in the Canadian sitcom “Maniac Mansion”. Tina, Dr. Fred Edison’s firstborn, was as brilliant as she was popular, having inherited the best qualities of both parents.
The series, which was known for its dry wit and cultural satire, aired for a total of three seasons between 1990 and 1993, during which time Kathleen was nominated for two Young Artist Awards. It wouldn’t take long for her to join the cast of “Beverly Hills, 90210” as Clare Arnold, and between projects, also making her big-screen debut with a minor role in the Corey Haim and Nicole Eggert thriller “Blown Away”.
Kathleen starred in “90210” during seasons four to seven, which aired between 1994 and 1997. Viewers first got to know her as a privileged, intelligent, and cultured young woman used to getting what she wanted by any means. However, Clare had also suffered a great loss after her mother passed away, which led to her and her father – a wealthy economic consultant – relocating to California.
As one of the most popular teen shows of its time, “90210” transformed Kathleen into a household name, so viewers were outraged when she was suddenly written out of the show in its seventh season, breaking up with her boyfriend Steve Sanders and leaving town with her father so that he wouldn’t be alone. Although Clare and Steven’s romance had been on the rocks for the greater part of season seven, fans of the series had hoped that the pair would end up getting married, and wondered why Clare didn’t get the happy ending they felt she deserved.
Decades later, Kathleen revealed in a “90210” podcast that she left the series because she felt ready to try something new. A similar fate befell Brandon Walsh (Clare’s on-screen boyfriend, played by Jason Priestley) when he abruptly moved to Washington, D.C., to work with the fictitious New York Chronicle.
After leaving “90210”, Kathleen was cast by her then-boyfriend Gregg Araki as Lucifer in the black comedy movie “Nowhere”, followed by a role in another late 1990s project of his entitled “Splendor”. Around the same time, the actress also starred in the romcom “Dog Park”, made an appearance in the comedy-drama “Beautiful”, and played Theo in “Scary Movie 2”, which saw her be nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Female Performance.
Nevertheless, Kathleen would also take on more serious projects, such as a role in the critically-acclaimed independent drama film “XX/XY”, which was released in 2002. In the same year, she horrified and amazed viewers with her portrayal of the notorious murderess Evelyn Dick, whose trial has gone down in Canadian criminal history for launching the career of the country’s most famous lawyer, J.J Robinette. Kathleen’s performance in “Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story” garnered her a Gemini Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
Still in 2002, Kathleen starred in the short-lived legal drama series “Girls Club”, which was canceled after just two episodes despite a further four being completed. From then on, she guest-starred in popular crime shows such as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “CSI: Miami”, also appearing in independent films including “Until the Night” and “Control”.
Last Exit (2006)This is one of my favourite scenes ever and I think @kathleenrobert7 acting in this scene was so phenomenal ♥️ This is also my favourite Kathleen movie and this scene is just so heartbreaking… I mean the whole movie is just ♥️💔#kathleenrobertson #bethwelland #lastexit #movie
Posted by Kathleen Robertson Fans on Monday, March 29, 2021
Finally, the blonde’s career got back on track with the role of Beth Welland in the 2006 action-drama TV film “Last Exit”, which saw her nominated for a Gemini Award. In the same year, she co-starred in “Hollywoodland” and executive produced and starred in “The Business”.
Kathleen began the 2010s with the role as Tom Kane’s aide in “Boss”, a Starz original drama series that lasted two seasons. The Canadian also became known for her work in TV movies, thanks to “Time of Death”, “Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story”, and other projects; in fact, Kathleen won a Leo Award in Best Actress category for her role as the hockey legend’s long-suffering wife.
Despite Kathleen’s last movie role being in 2015, she’s continued to flourish on the small screen, playing Hildy Mulligan in Steve Bochco’s detective series “Murder in the First” and Rosenfeld Guoliang in “The Expanse”. Since 2017, the actress’s passionate project has been “Swimming with Sharks”, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2022 and was featured in Variety Magazine. Not only does Kathleen have a starring role in the series, but she is also the show’s creator, writer and executive producer.
It would appear that Kathleen has been preparing herself in the screenwriting and producing fields for almost a decade. In 2015, she was mentored by John Wells, president of the Writers Guild’s West division, and completed a Showrunners Training Program under him. Two years later, she began adapting Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel “The Possibilities” into a screenplay. Currently, the former “90210” star is writing a feature drama film based on the Chris Cleave novel “Little Bee”, and working on a separate project for Paramount and Johanes Roberts, which has yet to be revealed.
From 1997 to 2000, Kathleen dated the independent filmmaker Gregg Araki, who has been praised for his well-documented contributions to the New Queer Cinema movement – the couple broke up for undisclosed reasons.
The actress has been married to film producer Chris Cowles since 2004. The husband-and-wife team run DEBUT CONTENT, a production company that has a myriad of projects in different stages of development.
Kathleen and Chris’s first child, William Robertson Cowles, was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in summer 2008. In October 2016, the “Maniac Mansion” alum and Chris welcomed another son named Bennett.