— Submitted photo
A main character in a brand new TV series based on the popular novel “Bitten” has local roots.
Actress Laura Vandervoort is perhaps best known for her role as Supergirl in the popular Syfy series “Smallville,” as well as her role as Lisa in “V.” She has also acted in in a number of movies and TV series, and had a supporting role in the 2012 box office comedy hit “Ted.”
Vandervoort stars as leading lady Elena Michaels — the only known female werewolf — in Syfy’s newest offering, “Bitten,” which is based on the Otherworld series of books by Kelley Armstrong. The series premiered last week and airs in Canada on Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. Newfoundland Time, on Space.
Though Vandervoort grew up in Toronto, her mother Kerry was born in Grand Falls-Windsor, and her grandfather is well-known former hockey player Fred Sanger.
Sanger played hockey for Grand Falls-Windsor for many years, and was a big part in the team’s Herder wins in ’53 and ’55. Sanger met his wife Jean (Pinsent) while playing hockey.
“I was playing hockey, going back and forth, (when) I met her in Buchans. Then I went to Quebec for part of the year and came back and went up to there to see her,” Sanger said. “They hired me to play hockey the first year I was back. I got into a lot of trouble from Grand Falls playing for Buchans.”
Sanger and his wife married and had twins, Kerry and Karen.
“In ’53 the twins were born and we had to go and get some real work, so we moved to Toronto,” Sanger said.
He and his wife ran a U.S.-based lighting business. His daughter Kerry married and gave birth to Laura in 1984.
Sanger’s wife, Jean, is related to actor Gordon Pinsent, and he said that connection helped Vandervoort on her way to stardom.
“I think it’s part of the Newfoundland culture — Gordon and all the guys from Newfoundland have done well. ... Gordon keeps in touch with Laura quite a bit,” Sanger said. “They even have the same agent.”
Sanger said Vandervoort’s interest in acting started at a young age, and her drive to make it in the industry helped propel her success.
“(Laura’s) mother was not into acting. She just picked it up on her own,” he said. “When she was a kid, she had her first TV spot on “Goosebumps.” She went out and got an agent and went working in the industry,” he said.
Sanger said aside from acting, Vandervoort is athletic, loves kickboxing, and has a black belt in karate. Vandervoort has also ventured into writing and has written a children’s book about a child superstar, according to her grandfather.
Sanger said said he’s excited to see where this newest endeavour will take her in her acting career.
“This is going to be a very big show for her,” he said proudly. “She’s going to go places.”