Amanda Tapping (born 28 August 1965) is an English-Canadian actress best known for her role as astrophysicist Samantha "Sam" Carter on the long-running sci-fi series Stargate SG-1. She would reprise the role on Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. Incidentally, Samantha Carter has appeared in more episodes of the Stargate franchise than any other character.
From 2007 to 2011 she starred as Dr. Helen Magnus on the Syfy series Sanctuary, a show for which she was also executive producer (along with Stargate alumni Damian Kindler and Martin Wood) and occasional director.
Born in Rochford, Essex, England, she moved to Ontario at age three and excelled in both drama and environmental science, but chose to focus on drama, and graduated from the University of Windsor School of Dramatic Arts. She began her career on television, in series including Street Legal, Flash Forward (1996), The X-Files, and Due South.
In 1997 she was cast as Captain Samantha Carter, a theoretical astrophysicist and Air Force officer, in Stargate SG-1. The role catapulted her to stardom and would become iconic among fans of science fiction as Carter proved to be a role model for geeky girls everywhere and one of the Stargate-verse's most beloved characters. She then reprised the role on Stargate Atlantis, but was Demoted To Recurring Guest Star during the show's fifth season so she could focus on the development of Sanctuary.
After Sanctuary's much-lamented cancellation in 2012, she joined the Canadian Primeval spinoff Primeval: New World as a director. Then she was cast in a recurring role as the angel Naomi for the eighth season of the hit series Supernatural. Never let it be said that Amanda Tapping has problems keeping busy!
Most recently, she directed an episode of the first season of Dark Matter and the Season 2 opener, but disappointly did not go in front of the camera (this was planned for the latter case, but she was unable to do so as it could not be fitted in with her prep work). She did appear on-screen in Killjoys however.
Among other things, she is known for her bright, beaming smile and bubbly personality, and is one of the most recognizable faces in geekdom today. In fact, she has been called the "Queen of Sci-Fi" and seems to have embraced the title with open arms.
While she is obviously incredibly dedicated to her work, she is also an irrepressible goofball. This tendency is shamelessly enabled by her castmates; Teryl Rothery (Janet Fraiser) and Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O'Neill) were particular enablers on Stargate, and Robin Dunne (Will Zimmerman) seems to have done that job on Sanctuary. She is singlehandedly responsible for the familiar and hilarious Gatehead meme about being "... stuck on a glacier with MacGyver!!", and in producing said meme endeared herself to sci-fi fans forevermore. She then proceeded to create several more at convention appearances, including "Stargate Barbie" and the "puff and ruffle."
She lives in Vancouver, Canada, with husband Alan Kovacs and daughter Olivia.
- Flash Forward (1996) - Miss Yansouni
- Stargate-verse - Samantha "Sam" Carter (and RepliCarter)
- Sanctuary - Dr. Helen Magnus
- Supernatural - Naomi
- Package Deal - Gillian
This actress' roles provide examples of:
- Directed by Cast Member: She has directed the SG-1 season 7 episode "Resurrection" which, incidentally, was written by Michael Shanks). She has also taken more than one spin in the director's chair for Sanctuary and has since done director only in Dark Matter.
- I Am Not Spock: She moved decisively to head this off by taking on the role of Dr. Helen Magnus on Sanctuary, who is brilliant and a scientist but is otherwise quite different from Samantha Carter. Time will tell how well this works.
- Playing Against Type:, Although she's best known for playing the bookish Samantha Carter and Helen Magnus, she plays a snobbish, alcohol-loving lawyer with a short fuse on Package Deal.
- Star-Making Role: Sam Carter in Stargate SG-1.
- (That term is slightly ironic considering the trope the character inspired.)
- Word of Saint Paul: The finale of SG-1 contains a long Time Passes Montage with little to no dialogue throughout. Several of the actors involved have given their take on what happened — such as Amanda Tapping and Chris Judge saying they played their parts as if Sam and Teal'c had developed a relationship, and Michael Shanks saying the reason that Vala is crying and being consoled by Daniel in one scene is because she miscarried.