Ms. Cariou was born, raised and educated in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she dreamed of becoming both a writer and a ballerina. When she learned the fates of the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, she chose ballet over writing, and trained for a time at the National Ballet School of Canada. She fantasized that fans would someday drink champagne from her toe shoes, a la Anna Pavlova. Seeing Elaine Stritch as “Mame” in 1969 changed all that, and she decided to become an actress.
As a teen, she was active in several community theatres, high school drama clubs, and was an award-winning young actress in her community. She was also a founding member and Board member of the Ontario Youtheatre. After two years at Ryerson University Theatre School in Toronto, and a third at Sheridan College in Oakville, she graduated with a High Honors diploma in Media Arts. Ms. Cariou made her professional debut with the company at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, where she remained for three seasons. She also became a founding member of the Center for Actor’s Study in Toronto, and subsequently enjoyed a career lasting twenty years, acting professionally on stages across Canada and off-Broadway. While working as an actor, Ms. Cariou also held jobs in sales, fashion, catering, and business management. She grew up the eldest of four children, and is growing old(er) as the grandmother of two.
She is a founding member of the Galaxy Writers Workshop in New Jersey, and sits on the Board of the International Women’s Writing Guild, to whom she owes her life as a writer.
Married to stage and screen actor Len Cariou, Heather is her husband’s “roadie,” dealing with every conceivable challenge of working and living on location. She is notorious for her ability to prescribe the right self-help book to anyone she’s known for more than ten minutes. Phrases that her friends and associates have used to describe her include “damn the torpedos” and “shoot from the hips.” She can throw a formal dinner party for twelve at the drop of a hat, and has cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the entire cast of a Broadway show on the road in a hotel room. An insatiable reader, her other favorite pastimes include writing poetry, walking, and gourmet cooking. She can golf if she has to.
Ms. Cariou emigrated from Canada to New York City in 1983, and now lives on the Hudson river in New Jersey, with a view of the city she loves.