It was shortly after the 1968 Democratic convention and there was a casting call for a film with several roles for the kind of young people who had disrupted the convention. Two graduates of Catholic University in Washington DC, went to the audition in New York for Joe (1970). Chris Sarandon, who had studied to be an actor, was passed over. His wife Susan got a major role.
That role was as "Susan Compton", the daughter of ad executive "Bill Compton" (Dennis Patrick). In the movie, "Dad Bill" kills Susan's drug dealer boyfriend and next befriends "Joe" (Peter Boyle), a bigot who works on an assembly line and who collects guns. Five years later, Sarandon made the film where fans of cult classics have come to know her as "Janet", who gets entangled with transvestite "Dr. Frank 'n' Furter" in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). Shortly after that, the Sarandons separated and eventually divorced after twelve years of marriage.
Nearly two decades after beginning her career, Sarandon, at last, actively campaigned for a great role, "Annie" in Bull Durham (1988), flying at her own expense from Rome to Los Angeles. "It was such a wonderful script ... and did away with a lot of myths and challenged the American definition of success," she said. Her romance with the twelve-years-younger Bull Durham (1988) supporting actor, Tim Robbins, produced two sons and put Sarandon in the position of leaving her domestic paradise only to accept roles that really challenged her. The result was four Academy Award nominations in the 1990s and best actress for Dead Man Walking (1995). Her first Academy Award nomination was for Louis Malle's Atlantic City (1980).
|Chris Sarandon||(16 September 1967 - 20 September 1979) (divorced)|
Her early roles were frequently as vulnerable, victimized young women, later roles often as iron-willed, often sensuous women
Former partner of Tim Robbins. They had been together from 1988 until 2009.
Ranked #35 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Attended Catholic University of America Drama School, 1964-1968. Met and married Chris Sarandon there (by priest who was head of Dept.).
Former "Ford" Model.
Chosen by People (USA) magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful in the world. 
Landed her first Hollywood role when her then-husband, Chris Sarandon, took her along on one of his auditions.
As co-presenters of the Academy Awards in 1993, Susan and her former partner, Tim Robbins, seized a chance to bring public attention to the plight of a few hundred Haitians with Aids who had been interned in Guantanamo Bay.
Is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
Supported Ralph Nader during his 2000 Presidential Election campaign.
Was arrested for disorderly conduct during a protest in New York over the unarmed shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo by four policemen (30 March 1999).
Is of Italian and Welsh heritage.
Graduated from Edison High School in Edison, New Jersey where she was a cheerleader.
She keeps her Oscar in the bathroom.
Was involved in the effort to have Laura Schlessinger's television show taken off the air in 2000, because of her disagreement with Schlessinger's conservative views. The effort was successful in leading many sponsors to drop their support of the show, which was ultimately cancelled less than a year after its premiere.
For the past ten years she has been involved with Heifer International, an organization that donates farm animals to needy families who need the animals for work.
Is listed along with Geena Davis on the 24th place in AFI's Hero Top 50.
Caught pneumonia after they shot the pool scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).
One of eight women, also among them Sophia Loren and author Isabel Allende, carrying the Olympic flag at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games' opening ceremony in Turin (10 February 2006). She and Loren co-starred 35 years earlier in the film Lady Liberty (1971).
Her grandmother had her mother when she was 13 years old. Her mother grew up in the care of nuns in an institute, abandoned at two.
Father was Philip Leslie Tomalin (of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry). Mother was Lenora Marie Criscione (whose family was from Ragusa, Sicily).
Parents separated in 1982, after 40 years of marriage.
Eldest of nine children.
In 1916, her grandfather Giuseppe Criscione emigrated to the USA from Ragusa, Sicily, where he was born in 1901. Now she is honorary citizen of Ragusa and the city gave her the "Ragusani nel Mondo" award.
Received the "World Lifetime Achievement Award" at the 2006 Women's World Award in New York.
Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2008 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actress category for her performance in the film Mr. Woodcock (2007). She failed to receive a nomination however.
Has a dog named Penny, a Pomeranian Maltese. The dog appears in the movie, Bernard and Doris (2006), playing a pet of Doris, the character she portrayed.
In 1992, the National Society of Film Critics named her as their runner-up for best actress for her performance in Lorenzo's Oil (1992).
In 1991 and 1992, she was the New York Film Critics Circle's runner-up pick for their annual best actress of the year prize. In 1991, she was chosen the runner-up for her landmark performance as half of the now-iconic duo in director Ridley Scott's modern-day western, Thelma & Louise (1991). In 1992, she was the group's runner-up for her heartbreaking turn in director George Miller's fact-based drama, Lorenzo's Oil (1992).
Received a 1982 Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as a victimized woman who rallies and turns the tables on her would-be attacker in the hit Off-Broadway play "Extremities", by playwright William Mastrosimone.
Received a 1979 Drama Desk Award nomination for "Best Actress in a Play" for her off-Broadway debut, opposite Eileen Brennan, in playwright John Ford Noonan's two-character piece, "A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking".
In 2005, she and the rest of the chief creative team behind the 11-part radio documentary, "Leonard Bernstein: An American Life," a chronicle of the legendary American musical giant's life and career, were recipients of the (George Foster) Peabody Award bestowed by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia at the 64th presentation of the honor. The Peabody is the premiere international prize given for electronic (i.e. television and radio) media.
Launched a table tennis bar called "Spin New York" in June, 2009.
Although physicians told her she could not have children when she tried to get pregnant during her marriage, she later gave birth to three children after her divorce, the last at the age of 46; she said that her children were "miracles.".
She was inducted into the 2010 New Jersey Hall of Fame for her services and contributions to Arts and Entertainment.
She was born at 2:25 PM (EST).
Received "Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award" in 2009.
Revealed in December 2009 that she and partner Tim Robbins had broken up during the summer of that year.
Along with Gerard Butler, Demi Moore, Ben Stiller and director Paul Haggis, she visited a camp for internally displaced persons managed by Sean Penn and his "Jenkins-Penn Humanitarian Relief Organization" in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. [April 2010]
In 2011, bought a penthouse "bachelorette" pad atop townhouse on West 9th St., Manhattan, just blocks from the W. 15th St. duplex she had shared for many years with Tim Robbins.
I choose projects I can talk about for days because now you do publicity for as long as it took you to shoot the movie.
I feel I've always been on the outside and always on the edge of an abyss. The women I portray, and the woman I am, are ordinary but maybe find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances, and what they do is at great cost.
Sexuality ... is something that develops and becomes stronger and stronger the older you get... If you can continue to say yes to life and to maintain a certain generosity of spirit, you become more and more of who you are.
I think the only reason I remain an actor is that you can never quite get it right. So there is a challenge to it.
If I were 22 and trying to build a career, I don't know who'd be watching the kids as happily as I do. It takes so much to get me to break out of domestic paradise. There's hardly anything that interests me as much as my family.
On Thelma & Louise (1991) after her nomination for best actress, 1992, "I was surprised that the film struck such a primal nerve. I knew when we were filming that it would be different, unusual and hopefully entertaining. But shocking? I guess giving women the option of violence was hard for a lot of people to accept".
People will like you for the wrong reasons your entire life, even if you don't have parents who are celebrities. They will like you because you have a car or you have money or your breasts are big.
You're so lucky in Ireland, England and Spain. Everyone there already knows what it's like to have inexplicable terrorist violence.
The thing that's bad about breasts is that you have to choose between having a mind and having breasts. It'd be nice if you could have both. Anyway, I think my breasts have been highly overrated.
The largest party in the United States is the 50 percent who don't vote.
It's always so painful to watch yourself. That never changes. I still sit there and think, 'Oh, that scene is missing? Wasn't I good? What happened there?'
I haven't yet had any plastic surgery, but I won't knock it. I think women have the right to do anything they want to their bodies that makes them feel good about themselves. It's hard to be in this business and be viewed on a screen that's huge. You can see every single line. But I think it's an aesthetic choice for the individual. I don't like it when surgeons take a perfectly interesting looking woman and she ends up looking like a female impersonator with these gigantic breasts. It's just so extreme and that worries me. I think everyone is looking the same.
My children were embarrassed at my Lincoln Center Tribute. I forgot they would show film clips and my children hadn't seen anything. Every time something a little racy would come on like The Hunger (1983), I'd look at my 13-year-old, who was shielding his eyes.
I'm certainly not an expert, but Tim and I just celebrated 17 years together, which in Hollywood years I think is 45. I think the key is just focusing on this one person and not keeping one eye on the door to see who might be better.
I never think about humiliating myself. I keep focusing on wanting to do a good job.
I remember going to great lengths to celebrate disappointments like not getting a job. I'd take whatever little cash I had and go out to dinner. I saw loss as an opportunity to change direction.
It's still not easy to find roles that offer more complex images of women. I do a lot of smaller parts that I find interesting - as opposed to the big, splashy movies that you get paid more money for.
I didn't realize that everything was supposed to fall apart at 40. So I just slid past 40 and 50. When you're an outsider and not paying attention to the rules the hurdles are a little lower.
I think the good news and the bad news is Hollywood's not political. The only thing they punish you for is getting old and fat.
I think one of the reasons I haven't married Tim is that I hate that couples assumption - that once you're committed to someone you stop treating each other as individuals. I like getting up knowing I am choosing to be with that person.
I look forward to being older, when looks become less of an issue and who you are is the point. Family Circle, 4-18-06.
You have to be careful not to be upstaged by your breasts. I've gotten curvier as I've gotten older. Directors cast the men they want to be and the women they want to have.
I think I've survived because I've gone through a number of incarnations. Sometimes they need somebody sexy. Sometimes they need somebody smart. I've managed to be able to morph myself into parts.
People probably think of me as Debbie Downer. I have become kind of a joke in terms of activism for some people. But it is like worrying if your slip is showing when you're fleeing a burning building. You have to prioritize.
I thought the whole point of feminism is that you're not supposed to be defined by gender. I don't understand the reasoning behind that, because I wouldn't vote for Condoleezza Rice, and I hated Margaret Thatcher.
Despite the statistics, nothing is hopeless, nothing is futile. We can do so much to protect children with awareness, knowledge, and a lot of love.
[on Thelma & Louise (1991)] The thing that separates this from a revenge movie with two males, for instance, is that there is a moral price to be paid by me for losing it, as you learn later, because I had been raped. I go into some kind of little trance there and just overreact. But I think the whole rest of the movie from that point on operates under the knowledge for this character that she is going to have to pay a price, and that there is no joy, really, in that revenge. it was important for me, as the movie went on, to try and figure out why these things keep happening, not to make it about getting even. So we tried in all the rest of the scenes to ask questions, or to make it clear, that she's on some kind of search for an understanding of this moment. When I take off all my jewelry and my watch, I think I'm preparing to go into a zone where she feels she had to pay some kind of a price. That was very much in my mind from that moment on in the film.
On mothering: Children can reinvent your world for you.
[About people criticizing Thelma & Louise (1991) for its violence and "anti-male" attitude] It shows what a straight, white male world movies traditionally occupy. This kind of scrutiny does not happen to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) or that Schwarzenegger thing [Total Recall (1990)] where he shoots a woman in the head and says, "Consider that a divorce".
(1995, on her sex scene with Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger (1983) and the stereotype that men have about lesbianism) They felt that I should be really drunk, so that was their way of taking away her choice in a sense, and I insisted that it not be that way, that certainly, you know, you wouldn't have to get drunk to bed Catherine Deneuve, I don't care what your sexual history to that point had been. It was much more interesting that she went voluntarily. I don't think, for better or worse, that women are taken very seriously in this area. I think the feeling is when two women are together, then it's probably experimental or some kind of phase and if the right guy came along, that would all change. So it's actually something that straight men can watch and not be threatened by. And straight men are the ones that are propelling the industry forward, so I don't think it's taken that seriously.
(1995, on relationships) I think the concept that there's one person who's gonna make you whole, this Gibran kind of thinking, is so detrimental. I don't think it's the other person's responsibility to make you whole at all. It's the other person's responsibility to make you laugh, to give you a dance now and then, to read the newspaper and tell you about things you don't have time to read about, to introduce you to music you don't know, to tell you when you're full of shit, to fight fair, to be good in bed, to say, "Come on, let's go have an adventure" when you've become a little bit of a stick in the mud. But it's not their job to make you whole. The test for me of a great romantic relationship is how productive you are during the relationship. You don't need somebody who's gonna keep you up till four in the morning and you don't even know why you're fighting. You don't need somebody who you're gonna go to a party and you're worried about that they're gonna get jealous, laid, drunk, stoned, or turn up missing. I like to go to a party and go my way and let somebody else go their way, and you meet up or you don't meet up and then you go home together and nobody feels bad about it. That's the perfect description of life, too- the party of life. I've been very lucky to find someone. We've been incredibly productive since we've been together.
(1995, on having to do movie re-shoots) White Palace. We shot the ending that was in the book, which is: she sits down, they look at each other, and you don't know what's gonna happen between them. But Pretty Woman had just come out, and they were thinking, "If we could only get him to marry her and they could have a big laugh." Jimmy [Spader] and I, we fought and fought, trying to keep our characters intact, but we did two re-shoots on that. On Sweet Hearts Dance, that was a different problem, in that Don Johnson kind of threw the script out. So what happened was we had to do a month of re-shoots at two different times to put back things that had been taken out...The real mistake with that movie was that I thought it was about one thing, and they decided it was about these two guys who were never gonna grow up, a male-bonding thing. And who cares about that?
(1995, on being the oldest of nine children) I was the mother of everybody. And it took me a long time to understand that I didn't have to mother every guy I was with. When I stopped doing that, things got better. When I became a mother, all of these things I had been practicing with grown men made sense, because this was the right time to do it.
I didn't get any stretch marks from my pregnancies, probably because I was so old when I had my kids there was nothing left to stretch.
[In 1978, after her separation from Chris Sarandon] I no longer believe in marriage. I believe in love and trust and commitment, but not in marriage. Marriage may do something for lawyers and mothers, but not for husbands and wives. I deal with reality, with the feelings I have at the moment. And then I go on from there.
[on Brad Pitt and Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise (1991)] The day they did their scenes in bed was the only day they watched the dailies right through, which was suspicious to me. [It] was a very long lunch.
I really respect filmmakers who manage to have lives, do the films the way they want to do them, have a sense of irony and humor about themselves and aren't crippled by the terrible things this business does to you, and how it breaks your heart when films are not released properly.
|Lorenzo's Oil (1992)||$3,500,000.00|
|The Client (1994)||$5,000,000.00|
(March 2006) She is in Mar del Plata (Argentina) in a cinema festival
(April 2009) Currently starring on Broadway with Geoffrey Rush in "Exit the King".
(August 2012) Ocean City, Maryland, USA: Filming Ping Pong Summer (2013).
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