Sigourney Weaver
Biographical Information
Birth Name

Susan Alexandra Weaver


October 8, 1949





Years Active


Avatar Role

Dr. Grace Augustine

Sigourney Weaver (born October 8, 1949) was born Susan Alexandra Weaver, on October 8, 1949, in Leroy Hospital in New York City. In 1969, Sigourney enrolled in Stanford University, majoring in English Literature. She also participated in school plays, especially Japanese Noh plays.


After completing her studies in 1971, she applied to 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 casting her in prostitute and old woman roles (whereas classmate Meryl Streep was treated almost reverently).

In 1973, while making her theatrical debut with "Watergate Classics", she met 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 1977, she was cast in the role Shelley Duvall finally played in Annie Hall, after Weaver rejected 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 and, of course, in Alien.

The role of the tough, uncompromising Ripley made Sigourney an 'overnight' star and brought her a British Award Nomination. She next appeared in Eyewitness and The Year of Living Dangerously, the latter being a great success in Australia. It 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 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 and in the mega-hit Ghost Busters. She was also nominated for a Tony Award for her tour-de-force performance in the play "Hurly Burly". Then followed Une Femme ou Deux, Half Moon Street, and Aliens. 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: The Story of Dian Fossey and her delicious performance as a double-crossing, power-hungry corporate executive in Working Girl. She ended up losing in both categories, but made up for it to a degree by winning both Golden Globes. After appearing in a documentary about fashion photographer Helmut Newton, Frames from the Edge, and reprising her role in the sequel Ghostbusters II, she discovered she was pregnant and retired from public life for a while.

She gave birth to her daughter Charlotte on 13 April 1990, and returned to movies as a (now skinhead) Ripley in Alien3 and a gorgeous Queen Isabella of Spain in 1492: Conquest of Paradise, her second film with director Ridley Scott. She starred in the political comedy Dave alongside Kevin Kline, and then a Roman Polanski thriller, Death and the Maiden.

In 1995 she was seen in Jeffrey and Copycat. 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", Beyond Therapy, The Marriage of Bette and Boo' and The Merchant of Venice. In 1997 she was the protagonist in Grimm's Snow White: A Tale of Terror. She also appeared in The Ice Storm and Alien: Resurrection. 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 and the sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest. However, her next comedy, Company Man, wasn't quite so warmly welcomed either critically or financially. She next played a sexy con artist in Heartbreakers and had a voice role in Big Bad Love. Sigourney starred in Tadpole and The Guys, the enthralling September 11th one-act drama she played on stage in late 2001.


  • Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history for 1995 (#81) and 2007 (#74).
  • Ranked #71 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
  • She was named #13 of Sci-Fi's Sexy 50, by Femme Fatales magazine. [1997]
  • Ranked #20 on E4's 100 Greatest Movie Stars. She was the second highest female on the list behind #13 Audrey Hepburn.
  • 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.
  • In the film Alien: Resurrection (1997) Sigourney actually managed to sink the basketball into the hoop backwards on the sixth take, after practicing for ten days before to make the shot authentic. The shot was almost ruined after Ron Perlman broke character because he was so amazed.
  • Her salary for Alien: Resurrection (1997) was more than the entire cost of the original Alien (1979) movie.
  • 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 computer said. In addition, on an episode of Futurama (1999), and in the film WALL·E (2008), she had the chance to voice a spaceship.
  • 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).
  • Suffered nightmares for two weeks after reading the script for The Village (2004).
  • She is one of the eleven elite 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.
  • Along with Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Janet Leigh, Jodie Foster (who won), 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.
  • 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.
  • Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998
  • Attended the Yale School of Drama, the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT., and graduated from Stanford University in 1972 with a bachelor's degree in English.
  • Changed her name after reading "The Great Gatsby".
  • Afraid to travel in elevators.
  • Speaks fluent French and German.
  • Singer/songwriter Mike Garrigan wrote a song entitled "Sigourney Weaver" that pays tribute to the actress.

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