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Sigourney Weaver Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (45) | Personal Quotes (22) | Salary (8)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 October 1949New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameSusan Alexandra Weaver
Nickname The Actress's Actress
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver 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 Brearley 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 Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" (her own birth name, Susan, was in honor of her mother's best friend, explorer Susan Pretzlik). Sigourney had already starred in a school drama production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and, in 1965, she worked during the summer with a stock troupe, performing in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "You Can't Take It With You" (she didn't 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 in 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 tree house, 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 Haven. 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 Durang's "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 on-screen 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 the movies as a (now skinhead) Ripley in Alien³ (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 hadn't 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 Grimm's Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997), The Ice Storm (1997) and Alien: Resurrection (1997). Her performance in The Ice Storm (1997) 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), wasn't 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 (2000) 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 (1986) 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

Spouse (1)

Jim Simpson (1 October 1984 - present) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

Often plays women of enormous strength and stature
Often plays fiercely independent, driven characters
Statuesque, model-like figure
Highly defined cheekbones
Deep smooth voice

Trivia (45)

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#81).
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 - NBC's shows Today (1952) and Tonight! (1953) (aka "The Tonight Show").
Ranked #71 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Changed her name after reading "The Great Gatsby".
Made her debut in Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977), duration: 6 seconds.
Family: Daughter of NBC-TV executive Sylvester L. Weaver Jr. ("Pat" Weaver) and actress Elizabeth Inglis, older brother, Trajan Weaver. Uncle, actor Doodles Weaver.
Afraid to travel in elevators.
#13 of Sci-Fi's Sexy 50, by Femme Fatales magazine.
Speaks French and German fluently.
Received her Bachelor's degree in English from Stanford University in 1972.
Born at 6:15 PM EST
Has one daughter, Charlotte Simpson, was born on 13 April 1990.
She is one of the elite eleven thespians to have been nominated for both a Supporting and Lead Acting Academy Award in the same year for their achievements in two different movies. The other nine are Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, Barry Fitzgerald (he has been nominated in both categories for the same role in the same movie), Jessica Lange, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Holly Hunter, Julianne Moore, Jamie Foxx and Cate Blanchett.
Her salary for Alien: Resurrection (1997) was more than the entire cost of the original Alien (1979) movie.
Suffered nightmares for two weeks after reading the script for The Village (2004).
Was nominated for Broadway's 1985 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for David Rabe's "Hurlyburly", but lost to a co-star, Judith Ivey.
Has worked with three Bagginses. In Alien (1979), she works with Ian Holm, who played Frodo in the BBC radio adaptation and Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). In The Ice Storm (1997), she worked with Elijah Wood, who played the part in the film. In Aliens (1986), the stunt double for Newt was Kiran Shah, who was also Wood's scale double.
Before working together on You Again (2010) she has co-starred with nine actors who have also co-starred with Jamie Lee Curtis: Ray Liotta, Dan Aykroyd, Kevin Kline, Tim Allen, J.E. Freeman, Mel Gibson, Elijah Wood, Philip Bosco and Bill Paxton. Both have co-starred with Michelle Williams. They have also both worked with composer John Ottman and director James Cameron.
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 character's 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.
Received her Master's degree in Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama in 1974.
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 Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Her performance as Ellen Ripley in the "Alien" quadrilogy is ranked #8 on Premiere Magazine's 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.
Friends with Selina Cadell.
Ranked #20 on E4's 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.
Dana Barrett, her character in the Ghostbusters films, 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].
Ranked #74 on Empires's 100 Sexiest Movie Stars. (2007).
Studied acting with Michael Howard in New York City.
Returned to work nine months after giving birth to her daughter Charlotte (at age 42) in order to begin filming Alien³ (1992).
Lives in New York City and Santa Barbara, California.
She is seven years older than her husband, Jim Simpson.
Her character, Ellen Ripley, from "Alien" inspired the "Metroid" video game heroine, Samus Aran.
Although she has 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 Gielgud's 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.
Lives in Upper East Side, New York.

Personal Quotes (22)

I'd rather have a small part in a movie I love than a bigger part in one I don't care about.
Well, I've always admired Margaret Rutherford. Like her I'd like to play Miss Marple when I'm eighty.
I'm having a wonderful time producing. There are good producers and bad producers. I've learned the hard way what not to do. The ultimate aim is to produce things I'm not actually in. I'm not looking for vehicles for myself. It's not a vanity company.
Some of the most intense affairs are between actors and characters. There's a fire in the human heart and we jump into it with the same obsession as we have with our lovers.
I'd rather work with a first-time director who's passionate about the material. I've done enough movies with old and jaded people who are just like, "Let's get this over with."
I've always regretted having such a serious career because I'm really more of an idiot.
In Hollywood, if you are a man and speak your mind openly, you're considered a man in full. But, if you are a woman and do the same, you're 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 you're not very careful. It's up to you to swing back and forth.
I think I get sent the roles Meryl's [Meryl Streep] not doing.
These deep sea trawlers are operating beyond the reach of the law. It's up to all of us to change that.
Most people think somebody, somewhere is looking out for the deep oceans, but they aren't.
I've lost a lot of roles because of my height. I'm 6ft 3in 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 isn't for me'. I once offered to paint my shoes on my bare feet to get one part because it made me appear shorter.
I don't 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 don't really now either but I don't care, it's not important that I do. Filmmakers find me or I find them.
[Circa 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 Alien³ (1992)] Okay, the crew have not enjoyed being here until ten o'clock at night, but, you know, that's the way it is.
[1992: on Alien³ (1992)] 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 alien's ass again. And while I can't speak for them, I think Fox, once you're 60, you're not going to be starring in an action movie. I think it's too bad that that's the case. I would have liked to do one last story where we go back to the planet, where Ripley's history is resolved. But I do feel like her story is unfinished.
[on The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)] It was a happy experience. Mel Gibson was quite happy for me to wear four-inch heels if I wanted and Peter Weir gave me a sense of film I hadn't had before.
[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 didn't continue. I think we stopped the university and we helped stop that war.
[on her television series 'Political Animals'] 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. It's delicious. It's like a stew instead of a little vegan meal.
[on 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 it's so different from what's 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.

Salary (8)

Annie Hall (1977) $50
Madman (1978) $2,000
Alien (1979) $30,000
Aliens (1986) $1,000,000
Alien³ (1992) $5,500,000
Alien³ (1992) $4,000,000
Alien: Resurrection (1997) $11,000,000
The Village (2004) $2,000,000

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