She may best be known for her brief stint as Harriet Anderson on the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest during the 1988-89 television season. She is also known for her role as Mrs. Lancaster in the popular 1993 film Groundhog Day.
Paton made her screen acting debut with an uncredited role in the classic 1971 thriller Dirty Harry, which also served Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor Andrew Robinson's film debut. (Paton later appeared with Robinson in the 1992 TV movie Criminal Behavior, co-starring Cliff DeYoung). Vince Deadrick and Chuck Hicks also made uncredited appearances in Dirty Harry. Despite this movie's success, it was nearly twenty years before Paton made her next feature film appearance, in 1990's Flatliners. She did not even begin acting on television until the late 1980s, during which she made appearances on such programs as thirtysomething, Hunter, and The Wonder Years. She also appeared in the 1989 TV movie Roe vs. Wade, along with fellow Star Trek performers Jeff Allin, Daniel Benzali, Glenn Morshower, George Murdock, Randy Oglesby, Terry O'Quinn, and Kenneth Tigar.
During the 1990s, she appeared on such TV shows as Doctor Doctor (starring Matt Frewer and Anne Elizabeth Ramsay), Quantum Leap (starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell), Wings (starring Steven Weber), Murphy Brown (in an episode with Paul Carr), Nurses (starring Carlos LaCamara), NYPD Blue (starring Gordon Clapp and Sharon Lawrence, in an episode also guest-starring Bill Bolender, Michael Reilly Burke, and William Lucking), Picket Fences (with Ray Walston), Home Improvement, ER (with Paul Dooley), and Sliders co-created by Tracy Tormé and starring John Rhys-Davies. She could also be seen in such films as Clean Slate (1994, with Olivia d'Abo, Reg E. Cathey, Brad Blaisdell, and Ian Abercrombie), Blue Sky (1994), Eye for an Eye (1996, with Armin Shimerman, Natalia Nogulich, and Sierra Pecheur), Lolita (1997, with Frank Langella), The Wedding Singer (1998) with Ellen Albertini Dow, and The Joyriders (1999, with Jay Karnes and Steve Bond), as well as such made-for-TV movies as Love, Lies as Murder (1991, starring Clancy Brown), Crazy from the Heart (1991, with Bibi Besch and Brent Spiner), The Last of His Tribe (1992, with David Ogden Stiers and Daniel Benzali), and And the Band Played On (1993, with David Clennon, Dakin Matthews, Lawrence Monoson, Saul Rubinek, Reg E. Cathey, Thomas Kopache, and Sierra Pecheur).
Her credits after the turn of the century include appearances on The X-Files, Becker (starring Terry Farrell), JAG, Numb3ers, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as roles in such films as Joe Dirt (2001), American Wedding (2003), and Red Eye (2005).