Susan Alexandra Weaver
Sigourney Weaver was born as Susan Alexandra Weaver, on 8 October 1949, in Leroy Hospital of 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 over a happy family. Sigourney grew up in a virtual bubble of guiltless bliss, being taken care by nannies and maids. Up until 1959, the Weavers resided in thirty different households. On 1961, Sigourney started attending the Brearly Girls Academy, but her mother moved her in another New York private school, Chapin. Sigourney's extreme height made her classmates constantly laughing at her and in order to gain their sympathy, she accepted the role of class clown. However, her degrees were remarkable. By the age of 13, in 1962, Sigourney was already a 5 feet 10 inches girl. That same year, her family moved to San Francisco briefly, an unpleasant experience for Weaver. Later, they moved to Connecticut, where she became a student in the Ethel Walker School, facing the same problems. 0n 1963, Susan changed her name to 'Sigourney', after a character called 'Sigourney Howard', in Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'. Her own birthname, Susan, was in honour of her mother's best friend name, explorer Susan Pretzlik. Sigourney had already starred in a school drama production, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. In 1965, she worked during summer with a stock troupe, being cast in the plays 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'You Can't Take It With You', though 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 at Israel. At the same time, she became engaged to reporter Aaron Latham, but they soon broke up. In 1969, Sigourney became a student of English Literature in Stanford University. 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 Yale School of Drama, in New York. Despite appearing at the audition reading a Brecht speech and wearing a rope-like belt, she was eventually accepted. 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, whilst launching her theatrical debut with 'Watergate Classics', she met up with a team of brilliant playwrights and actors and began hanging around with them. She befriended Christopher Durang, but also Kate McGregor-Stewart and Albert Innaurato. On 1974 she starred in various plays, including 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 very year, she started chasing roles, but her height kept being a hindrance. However, she continued working on stage with Durang, as in 'Titanic'(1975) and Innaurato, and in 'Gemini' (1976). Other 70s stage works of hers include 'Marco Polo Sing a Song', 'The Animal Kingdom', 'A Flea in Her Ear',' The Constant Husband',' The Conquering Event' and others. But the one that probably took her off 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-seventies, she appeared in several TV spots and even starred as Avis Ryan in 1976 soap opera _"Madman" (1978)_ . 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. But in the end, Woody Allen still offered her a six-seconds part. Then followed Madman (1978) and of course, Alien (1979). The role of the tough, uncompromising Ripley made her an overnight star and even brought her a British Award Nomination. Later, she played in Eyewitness (1981) and Year of Living Dangerously, The (1982). The latter was a great Australian success that even won an Oscar and brought Sigourney and co-star Mel Gibson to Cannes '83. The same year, Weaver delivered an honorary EMMY award to her father, a few months before her uncle, actor Doodles Weaver, committed suicide. That year's fall, Sigourney started having a romance with Jim Simpson. Sigourney had broken up two years before with James M. McClure and needed someone close to her. In the end, they got married on 1 October 1984. Sigourney had meanwhile, played in Deal of the Century (1983) and the great hit _Ghostbusters (1984)_ . She was also nominated for a Tony Award for her tour de force in theatrical 'Hurly Burly'. Then followed _Une Femme ou deux (1985)_ , Half Moon Street (1986) and Aliens (1986). The latter was a massive success, with her being nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Oscar. She was also named 'Star of the Year'. Sigourney entered her most productive career and literally took off after snatching Academy Award nominations, in both Leading and Supporting Actress category, for her intense portrayal of Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey (1988) and for her bitchy performance in _Working Girl (1988)_. She ended up losing in both, but was compensated by winning both Golden Globes. After posing as herself in a documentary about Helmut Newton (I), entitled Frames from the Edge (1989) and appearing in Ghostbusters II (1989), she discovered she was pregnant and retired from public life for a while. She gave birth to Charlotte Simpson, on 13 April 1990. Sigourney Weaver returned to movies as a now skinhead Ripley in Alien³ (1992) and a gorgeous Queen Isabel in 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), her second work with director Ridley Scott, after the original famed Alien movie. She rolled on to comedy Dave (1993), alongside Kevin Kline, and a Roman Polanski thriller, Death and the Maiden (1994). In 1995, she could be seen in Jeffrey (1995) and Copycat (1995). In 1996 she starred in 'Sex and Longing', yet another Durang play. Sigourney hadn't acted in theater for ages before that play, as she had abandoned it after a successful run in the 80s, with the plays '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), Ice Storm, The (1997) and _Alien Resurrection (1997)_ . Her performance in The Ice Storm achieved a BAFTA prize and another Golden Globe nod. She also offered excellent performances in Map of the World, A (1999) and the sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest (1999). Her next comedy, Company Man (2000), wasn't equally welcomed, however. Sigourney played a sexy con in Heartbreakers (2001) and had a voice role in Big Bad Love (2001). Her father died recently, at the age of 93. Sigourney herself, has already starred in Tadpole (2002) and is planning a cinematic version of _Guys, The (2003)_ , the enthralling 11-September one-act drama she played on stage on late 2001. She remains a remarkable and enormously talented actress, as well as a true beauty, even at the age of 52.
Jim Simpson (1 October 1984 - present) 1 child
"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."
Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
Most moviegoers will probably remember this striking, patrician leading lady for her characterization of Ripley, the besieged protagonist of the Alien movies, but she's shown herself to be capable of much more than blasting slimy monsters into atoms. Born in New York to an affluent family (her father is broadcasting executive Sylvester "Pat" Weaver; her uncle was comedian Doodles Weaver), Sigourney, who adopted her name from a character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," attended Yale Drama School and worked on stage before landing a lead in Madman (1976) and a bit in Annie Hall (1977, as Woody's date at the end of the film). Her role as the tough astronaut in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) made Weaver a recognizable screen player. Having graduated to starring parts, Weaver appeared as a reporter in both Eyewitness (1981, opposite William Hurt) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1983, opposite Mel Gibson). Those films bolstered her standing as a compelling lead, but the immense success of Ghostbusters (1984), in which she played a comically possessed New Yorker romanced by Bill Murray, did more for her career.
She played an intelligent hooker in Half Moon Street (1986), and reprised her Ripley characterization-even tougher and more commanding than before-in Aliens (1986, and earned her first Oscar nomination) before pulling off the nifty trick of snagging two Oscar nominations-Best Supporting Actress for her comic turn as the bitchy businesswoman in Working Girl and Best Actress for her portrayal of the devoted anthropologist in Gorillas in the Mist-in 1988. She appeared in the lightweight Ghostbusters II (1989), and returned to Ripley (with a shaved head!) in Aliens3 (1992). She then costarred with Kevin Kline in Dave (1993) as an aloof First Lady who falls in love with the President's "double" and took on the demanding role of a former torture victim who confronts her tormentor in Death and the Maiden (1994).
Copyright © 1994 Leonard Maltin, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.