Overview (4)

Mini Bio (1)

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver, on October 8, 1949, in Leroy Hospital in New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis, was a British actress who had sacrificed her career for a family. Sigourney grew up in a virtual bubble of guiltless bliss, being taken care by nannies and maids. By 1959, the Weavers had resided in 30 different households. In 1961, Sigourney began attending the Brearly Girls Academy, but her mother moved her to another New York private school, Chapin. Sigourney was quite a bit taller than most of her other classmates (at the age of 13, she was already 5 10), resulting in her constantly being laughed at and picked on; in order to gain their acceptance, she took on the role of class clown.

In 1962, her family moved to San Francisco briefly, an unpleasant experience for her. Later, they moved back east to Connecticut, where she became a student at the Ethel Walker School, facing the same problems as before. In 1963, she changed her name to Sigourney, after the character Sigourney Howard in F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby (her own birth name, Susan, was in honor of her mothers best friend, explorer Susan Pretzlik). Sigourney had already starred in a school drama production of A Midsummer Nights Dream, and, in 1965, she worked during the summer with a stock troupe, performing in A Streetcar Named Desire and You Cant Take It With You (she didnt star in the latter because she was taller than the lead actor!). After graduating from school in 1967, she spent some months in a kibbutz at Israel. At that time, she became engaged to reporter Aaron Latham, but they soon broke up.

In 1969, Sigourney enrolled in Stanford University, majoring in English Literature. She also participated in school plays, especially Japanese Noh plays. By that time she was living in a treehouse, alongside a male friend, dressed in elf-like clothes! After completing her studies in 1971, she applied for the Yale School of Drama in New York. Despite appearing at the audition reading a Bertolt Brecht speech and wearing a rope-like belt, she was accepted by the school but her professors rejected her, because of her height, and kept typecasting her as prostitutes and old women (whereas classmate Meryl Streep was treated almost reverently). However, in 1973, while making her theatrical debut with Watergate Classics, she met up with a team of playwrights and actors and began hanging around with them, resulting in long-term friendships with Christopher Durang, Kate McGregor-Stewart and Albert Innaurato.

In 1974 she starred in such plays as Aristophanes Frogs and Durangs The Nature and Purpose of the Universe and Daryl and Carol and Kenny and Jenny, as Jenny. After finishing her studies that year, she began seriously pursuing a stage career, but her height kept being a hindrance. However, she continued working on stage with Durang (in Titanic [1975]) and Innaurato (in Gemini [1976]). Other 1970s stage works included Marco Polo Sing a Song, The Animal Kingdom, A Flea in Her Ear, The Constant Husband, Conjuring an Event and others. However, the one that really got her noticed was Das Lusitania Songspiel, a play she co-wrote with Durang and in which she starred for two seasons, from 1979 to 1981. She was also up for a Drama Desk Award for it. During the mid-70s she appeared in several TV spots and even starred as Avis Ryan in the soap opera Somerset (1970).

In 1977 she was cast in the role Shelley Duvall finally played in Annie Hall (1977), after rejecting the part due to prior stage commitments. In the end, however, Woody Allen offered her a part in the film that, while short (she was onscreen for six seconds), made many people sit up and take notice. She later appeared in Madman (1978) and, of course, Alien (1979). The role of the tough, uncompromising Ripley made Sigourney an overnight star and brought her a British Award Nomination. She next appeared in Eyewitness (1981) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), the latter being a great success in Australia that won an Oscar and brought Sigourney and co-star Mel Gibson to Cannes in 1983. The same year she delivered an honorary Emmy award to her father, a few months before her uncle, actor Doodles Weaver, committed suicide. That year also brought her a romance with Jim Simpson, her first since having broken up two years previously with James M. McClure. She and Simpson were married on 1 October 1984. Sigourney had meanwhile played in the poorly received Deal of the Century (1983) and the mega-hit Ghostbusters (1984). She was also nominated for a Tony Award for her tour-de-force performance in the play Hurly Burly. Then followed One Woman or Two (1985), Half Moon Street (1986) and Aliens (1986). The latter was a huge success, and Sigourney was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

She then entered her most productive career period and snatched Academy Award nominations, in both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories, for her intense portrayal of Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist (1988) and her delicious performance as a double-crossing, power-hungry corporate executive in Working Girl (1988). She ended up losing in both, but made up for it to a degree by winning both Golden Globes. After appearing in a documentary about fashion photographer Helmut Newton, Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge (1989), and reprising her role in the sequel Ghostbusters II (1989), she discovered she was pregnant and retired from public life for a while. She gave birth to her daughter Charlotte Simpson on 13 April 1990, and returned to movies as a (now skinhead) Ripley in Alien 3 (1992) and a gorgeous Queen Isabella of Spain in 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), her second film with director Ridley Scott. She starred in the political comedy Dave (1993) alongside Kevin Kline, and then a Roman Polanski thriller, Death and the Maiden (1994).

In 1995 she was seen in Jeffrey (1995) and Copycat (1995). The next year she trod the boards in Sex and Longing, yet another Durang play. She hadnt performed in the theater in many years before that play, her last stage performances occurring in the 1980s in As You Like It (1981), Beyond Therapy (1981), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (1985) and The Merchant of Venice (1986). In 1997 she was the protagonist in Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997), The Ice Storm (1997) and Alien: Resurrection (1997). Her performance in The Ice Storm got her a BAFTA prize and another Golden Globe nod. She also gave excellent performances in A Map of the World (1999) and the sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest (1999). Her next comedy, Company Man (2000), wasnt quite so warmly welcomed critically and financially, however. She next played a sexy con artist in Heartbreakers (2001) and had a voice role in Big Bad Love (2001). Her father died at the age of 93. Sigourney herself has recently starred in Tadpole (2002) and is planning a cinematic version of The Guys (2002), the enthralling September 11th one-act drama she played on stage on late 2001. At age 60, she played a crucial role in Avatar (2009), which became the top box-office hit of all time. The film reunited her with her Aliens director James Cameron. Her beauty, talent, and hard-work keeps the ageless actress going, and she has continued to win respect from her fans and directors.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: morphtzikas@netscape.net

Family (4)

Trade Mark (5)

Often plays women of enormous strength and stature

Often plays fiercely independent, driven characters

Deep husky yet smooth voice

Delicate high cheekbones

Statuesque, model-like figure

Trivia (53)

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#81). [1995]

Attended the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conneticut.

Her father Sylvester L. Weaver Jr. (Pat Weaver), NBC-TV president (1953-55), pioneered the desk-and-couch talk show format that still survives on two programs he created - NBCs shows Today (1952) and The Tonight Show (1953) (aka The Tonight Show).

Ranked #71 in Empire (UK) magazines The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time list. [October 1997]

Changed her name after reading F. Scott Fitzgeralds novel The Great Gatsby.

Despite gaining fame for action roles, she has a strong dislike of guns; shes also afraid to travel in elevators.

Ranked #13 of Sci-Fis Sexy 50, by Femme Fatales magazine. [1997]

Speaks French and German fluently.

Received her Bachelors degree in English from Stanford University in Stanford, California. [1972]

Received her Masters degree in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama in New Haven, Connecticut. [1974]

Along with Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald, Jessica Lange, Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx, Cate Blanchett and Scarlett Johansson, she is one of only twelve actors to receive Academy Award nominations in two acting categories in the same year. She was nominated for Best Actress for Gorillas in the Mist (1988) and Best Supporting Actress for Working Girl (1988) at the 61st Academy Awards in 1989.

Suffered nightmares for two weeks after reading the screenplay for The Village (2004).

Was nominated for Broadways 1985 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for David Rabes Hurly Burly, but lost to a co-star, Judith Ivey.

In many of her roles, her character has had to deal with artificially intelligent spaceships. In the Alien movies, she battles them. In Galaxy Quest (1999), much to her characters chagrin, she repeated whatever the spaceship said. In addition, on an episode of Futurama (1999), and in the film WALL·E (2008), she had the chance to voice a spaceship.

Was a member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998.

Is a supporter of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and now its honorary chairperson.

Currently remains in contact with her former Aliens (1986) co-star Carrie Henn.

In Alien: Resurrection (1997), Sigourney actually managed to sink the basketball into the hoop backwards on the first take, even though she was not supposed to or intended to. The shot was almost ruined because Ron Perlman broke character because he was so amazed.

Her performance as Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986) is ranked #58 on Premiere magazines 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. [2006]

Her performance as Ellen Ripley in the Alien quadrilogy is ranked #8 on Premiere magazines 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Injured her knee during the shooting of Snow Cake (2006) and has been forced to stop exercising for a year.

Ranked #20 on E4s 100 Greatest Movie Stars. She was the second highest female on the list behind #13 Audrey Hepburn.

Along with Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Janet Leigh, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close, Kathy Bates, Eileen Heckart, Ruth Gordon, Patty McCormack, Nancy Kelly, Toni Collette, Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair, she is one of the few actresses to have been nominated for an Oscar for a performance in a horror movie.

Singer/songwriter Mike Garrigan wrote a song entitled Sigourney Weaver that pays tribute to the actress.

Her character in the Ghostbusters movies, Dana Barrett, is the only character among the leads who did not appear in the animated adaptation, The Real Ghostbusters (1986).

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#74). [2007]

Studied acting with Michael Howard in New York City.

Currently resides in New York City and Santa Barbara, California.

Her character from the Alien series, Ellen Ripley, inspired the Metroid video game heroine, Samus Aran.

Although she never worked with Alfred Hitchcock, she has worked with many other actresses who, like her, have family members who did. Her mother, Elizabeth Inglis appeared in The 39 Steps (1935), and her uncle, Doodles Weaver, appeared in The Birds (1963). Also appearing in that film were Veronica Cartwright, with whom Sigourney would later appear in Alien (1979), and Tippi Hedren, whose daughter Melanie Griffith appeared in Working Girl (1988). In You Again (2010), she appears with Jamie Lee Curtis, whose mother Janet Leigh appeared in Psycho (1960).

She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on December 16, 1999.

Her first job was as understudy in Sir John Gielguds production of The Constant Wife starring Ingrid Bergman.

Her American father had English, as well as Dutch and Scottish, ancestry. Her mother was English.

As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Annie Hall (1977), Working Girl (1988) and Avatar (2009). Annie Hall (1977) won in the category.

She was awarded the 1987 Saturn Award for Best Actress as Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986), and the 2010 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress as Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar (2009). Both movies are written and directed by James Cameron.

She jumped at the chance to appear in the movie Paul (2011), as she felt this was a love letter to science fiction fans, and a genre that has been very good to her in her career. Simon Pegg even had a crush on Sigourney, and even wrote a poem about her at Bristol University. He would get his wish when he would work with her in one scene in this movie.

Fans have often mistaken her for Susan Sarandon or Geena Davis, who both starred in Thelma & Louise (1991). Whats ironic is that no one would ever get Susan and Geena mixed up with each other.

She has appeared in three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant: Annie Hall (1977), Alien (1979) and Ghostbusters (1984).

She was considered for the role of Carrigan Crittenden in the fantasy comedy Casper (1995), which went to Cathy Moriarty.

Does not participate in social media.

Born at 6:15 PM (EST).

Personal Quotes (25)

Id rather have a small part in a movie I love than a bigger part in one I dont care about.

Well, Ive always admired Margaret Rutherford. Like her, Id like to play Miss Marple when Im eighty.

Im having a wonderful time producing. There are good producers and bad producers. Ive learned the hard way what not to do. The ultimate aim is to produce things Im not actually in. Im not looking for vehicles for myself. Its not a vanity company.

Some of the most intense affairs are between actors and characters. Theres a fire in the human heart and we jump into it with the same obsession as we have with our lovers.

Id rather work with a first-time director whos passionate about the material. Ive done enough movies with old and jaded people who are just like Lets get this over with.

In Hollywood, if you are a man and speak your mind openly, youre considered a man in full. But if you are a woman and do the same, youre nothing but an annoying bitch.

Usually, all Hollywood wants you to do is what you just did. After The Ice Storm (1997), I was offered a thousand Ice Storms and so on. You always get offered the same thing again and again, if youre not very careful. Its up to you to swing back and forth.

These deep sea trawlers are operating beyond the reach of the law. Its up to all of us to change that.

Most people think somebody, somewhere is looking out for the deep oceans, but they arent.

Ive lost a lot of roles because of my height. Im 6 feet 3 inches in heels. Producers are short and I was never their sexual fantasy. As for actors, if I enter a room and an actor stands up then immediately gets self-conscious and sits back down, I hear myself saying, This job isnt for me. I once offered to paint my shoes on my bare feet to get one part because it made me appear shorter.

I dont have ambitions, I believe in taking what comes. I have that philosophy about life in general. I go in and try to transform it into the best it can be.

It took me a while to let my hair down in the business because I was kind of a shy person. I was from New York and never really felt at ease in Hollywood. I dont really now either but I dont care, its not important that I do. Filmmakers find me or I find them.

[1992: on the possibility of performing in a fourth Alien movie] I am sure there will eventually be an Alien 4, it just wont have me in it.

[1992: working on Alien 3 (1992)] Okay, the crew have not enjoyed being here until ten oclock at night, but you know, thats the way it is.

[1992: on Alien 3 (1992)] [David] Fincher is very dry. He is the only director I can think of who can come up with so many jokes, considering the pressure he has been under.

[on hoping to do another Alien movie] I could definitely kick that aliens ass again. And while I cant speak for them, I think Fox, once youre 60, youre not going to be starring in an action movie. I think its too bad that thats the case. I would have liked to do one last story where we go back to the planet, where Ripleys history is resolved. But I do feel like her story is unfinished.

[on her role as a student activist] Napalm was invented at Stanford University, so one of the reasons we were protesting was to make sure that didnt continue. I think we stopped the university and we helped stop that war.

[on her television series Political Animals (2012)] I was offered this show just as I was realizing that TV was a cool place to work. A series can really take the time to build and layer and tell a different kind of story. Its delicious. Its like a stew instead of a little vegan meal.

[on her television series Political Animals (2012)] When I finally got to this material, to my great surprise, I felt I had been eating salad for a number of years and was finally offered a big, juicy hamburger. Because its so different from whats going on in movies, which are dominated by effects and action and comic-book characters. To sink my teeth into these relationships has been just fantastic.

I had such great teachers in high school who made me feel like I could do anything. Then I go to Yale, where these drama teachers made me feel like shit--if I had any advice for young people, it would be Dont listen to teachers who say, Youre really not good enough. Just teach me. Dont tell me if you think Im good enough or not. I didnt ask you. Teachers who do that should be fired.

I changed my name when I was twelve because I didnt like being called Sue or Suzie. I felt I needed a longer name because I was so tall. So what happened? Now everyone calls me Sig or Siggy.

[on the changing approach to action roles by female actors] There isnt that thing that used to drive me crazy whenever I read the part: those scenes where the woman stops being effective and has a little breakdown to show you shes still a female entity. Now they just get on with it.

Id send out an intergalactic invitation to other species. I guarantee they would not be like the aliens in the movies I did. I think if they can get here, they could be charming. Stephen Hawking said aliens would come for our resources. Well, I dont know what planet hes talking about, we dont have any resources to give them! Were plundering our own planet. Unless garbage and plastic is something they need, in which case, we could work out a great deal.

[when asked about the great chemistry between her character, Ripley, and Hicks (Michael Biehn) in Aliens (1986)] Hes such a great guy, Michael, and hes so wonderful in this part and I think the part of his is just a beautifully written part of this very cool, you know... marine with great heart and strength and intelligence... in Neill Blomkamps [unproduced Aliens (1986)] sequel youll see a lot more of them together. So, you guys, what would you like to see? [addressing a cheering crowd during the 1st Alien Day, 04/26/16]

Salary (7)

Annie Hall (1977) $50
Madman (1978) $2,000
Alien (1979) $30,000
Aliens (1986) $1,000,000
Alien³ (1992) $4,000,000 (plus share of box office)
Alien: Resurrection (1997) $11,000,000
The Village (2004) $2,000,000

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