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Sigourney Weaver (born Susan Alexandra Weaver; October 8, 1949) is an American actress best known for her role as Ellen Ripley in the Alien film series, a role for which she has received worldwide recognition. She is also known for her roles in the Ghostbusters films, Gorillas in the Mist, The Ice Storm, Working Girl, Holes, and Avatar.

Weaver is also a three-time Academy Award nominee for her performances in Aliens (1986), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), and Working Girl (1988) winning Golden Globe Awards in the latter two films.[1] She has been called 'The Sci-Fi Queen' by many on account of her many science fiction and fantasy films.

Early life

Weaver was born in Manhattan, New York City, the daughter of Elizabeth Inglis (née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins; 1913–2007), an English actress, and the NBC television executive and television pioneer Sylvester "Pat" Laflin Weaver (1908–2002).[2][3][4][5] Her uncle, Doodles Weaver, was a comedian and actor. She began using the name "Sigourney Weaver" in 1963 after a minor character (Sigourney Howard) in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.[6][7]

File:Sigourney Weaver with her father Pat Weaver 1989.jpg

Weaver with her father Pat Weaver in 1989

Weaver attended the Ethel Walker School, a prep school in Simsbury, Connecticut, where she was made fun of all the time for being a nerd and for her height. She also attended The Chapin School. Sigourney was reportedly 5′ 10½″ (179 cm) tall by the age of 14, but she only grew another inch during her teens to her adult height of 5′ 11½″ (182 cm). Weaver graduated from Stanford University, with a bachelor of arts degree in English in 1972, but she had already begun her involvement in acting, by living in Stanford's co-ed Beta Chi Community for the Performing Arts.[8] Weaver earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Yale University School of Drama in 1974,[9] where one of her appearances was in the chorus in a production of Stephen Sondheim's musical version of The Frogs, and another was as one of a mob of Roman soldiers alongside Meryl Streep in another production.[10] Weaver later acted in original plays by her friend and classmate Christopher Durang. She later appeared in an "Off Broadway" production of Durang's comedy Beyond Therapy in 1981, which was directed by the up-and-coming director Jerry Zaks.

Film career


Weaver in December 2009

Weaver's first role was in Woody Allen's 1977 comedy Annie Hall playing a minor role opposite Allen. Weaver appeared two years later as Warrant Officer/Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in the blockbuster Alien movie franchise, a role she is best known for. She first appeared as Ripley in Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien. She reprised the role in three sequels, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien Resurrection. Ty Burr of The Boston Globe states, "One of the real pleasures of "Alien" is to watch the emergence of both Ellen Ripley as a character and Sigourney Weaver as a star."[11] In the sequel Aliens directed by James Cameron critic Roger Ebert exclaims, "Weaver, who is onscreen almost all the time, comes through with a very strong, sympathetic performance: She's the thread that holds everything together."[12] She was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award in Aliens, one of the very few actresses honored for a role in a science fiction film. Weaver followed the success of Aliens appearing opposite Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously released to critical acclaim and as Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.

By the end of the decade Weaver appeared in two of her most memorable and critically acclaimed performances in 1988 as Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist. The same year she appeared opposite Harrison Ford in a supporting role as Katharine Parker in the film Working Girl. Weaver won Golden Globe awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for her two roles that year. She received two Academy Award nominations in 1988, for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Working Girl and Best Actress for Gorillas in the Mist making her one of the few actors nominated for two acting awards in the same year. By the early 1990's Weaver appeared in several films including Ang Lee's The Ice Storm earning her another Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and winning a BAFTA Award, followed by Dave opposite Kevin Kline and Frank Langella. She played the role of agoraphobic criminal psychologist Helen Hudson in the 1995 movie Copycat. Weaver also concentrated on smaller and supporting roles throughout the decade such as Jeffrey (1994), A Map of the World (1999) and Galaxy Quest (1999). In 2001 she appeared in the comedy Heartbreakers playing the lead role of a con artist alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Gene Hackman and Anne Bancroft.

In 2003, she was voted 20th in Channel 4's countdown of the 100 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time. She was one of only two women in the top 20 (the other was Audrey Hepburn). That year, she also played the Warden in the movie Holes. In 2004, she appeared in M. Night Shyamalan's horror film The Village. In 2006, Weaver returned to Rwanda for the BBC special Gorillas Revisited.

In 2009, Weaver starred as Mary Griffith in her first made-for-TV movie, Prayers for Bobby, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award. She also guest starred in the TV show Eli Stone in the fall of 2008.[13] Weaver also played the role of a news reporter in the 2008 American film Vantage Point. She reunited with Aliens director James Cameron for his 2009 film Avatar with Weaver playing a major part as Dr. Grace Augustine, leader of the AVTR (avatar) program on the film's fictional moon Pandora. The film has the distinction of being the highest grossing film of all time.

Weaver has done voice work in television and film. She had a guest role in the Futurama episode "Love and Rocket" in February 2002, playing the female Planet Express Ship. In 2006, she was the narrator for the American version of the Emmy Award-winning series Planet Earth. Also in 2006, Weaver narrated "A Matter of Degrees", a short film that plays daily at The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks (The Wild Center) in Tupper Lake, New York. In 2008, Weaver was featured as the voice of the ship's computer in the Pixar and Disney release, WALL•E. She also voiced a narrating role in another computer-animated film, 2008's The Tale of Despereaux, based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo. Weaver has also expressed interest in starring in a fifth Alien film. Ivan Reitman has confirmed that Weaver will reprise her role as Dana Barrett[14] in the rumored third Ghostbusters movie due for release in 2012.[15]

Weaver has hosted two episodes of the long-running NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live: once on the 12th season premiere in 1986, and again, on a season 35 episode in January, 2010. Weaver has now broken Madeline Kahn's record for longest gap between hosting appearances on SNL. Kahn had an 18-year gap between her second appearance in 1977 and her third and final appearance in 1995; Weaver, on the other hand, has a 24-year gap between her first appearance in 1986 and her second and most recent appearance in 2010. In March 2010, she was cast for the lead role as Queen of the Vampire in Amy Heckerling's Vamps.[16] In May 2010, there were reports that Weaver had been cast for the lead role Margaret Matheson in the Spanish thriller film Red Lights,[17] but there has been no confirmation or further news of this.

Personal life

Weaver was previously engaged to reporter Aaron Latham in 1967.[18] She has been married to the filmmaker Jim Simpson since October 1, 1984. They are the parents of one daughter, Charlotte Simpson, who was born on April 13, 1990.

After making Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, she became a supporter of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and is now the DFGFI's honorary chairperson.[19] Weaver is an environmentalist.[20] In October 2006, she drew international attention through a news conference at the start of a United Nations General Assembly policy deliberation. She outlined the widespread threat to ocean habitats posed by deep-sea trawling, an industrial method for harvesting fish. She also narrated the American version of the BBC/Discovery Channel show Planet Earth.[21][22] On April 8, 2008, she hosted the annual gala of the Trickle Up Program, a non-profit organization focusing on those in extreme poverty, mainly women and the disabled, in the Rainbow Room.[citation needed] Close friends and relatives often use the nickname "Gourney" when speaking to her. Occasionally, that name is changed to "Gourney Gorn."



Weaver at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival

Year Film Role Notes
1977 Annie Hall Alvy's Date Outside Theater
1978 Madman Not Specified
1979 Alien Ellen Ripley DVDX Award for Best Audio Commentary (New for DVD)
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1981 Eyewitness Tony Sokolow Crew Members & TV equipment from WNYW (then known as WNEW) appeared in the film. Weaver actually co-hosted the news on WNYW for the film.
1982 The Year of Living Dangerously Jilly Bryant
1983 Deal of the Century Catherine DeVoto
1984 Ghostbusters Dana Barrett
1984 Terror in the Aisles archival footage
1985 Une Femme ou Deux Jessica Fitzgerald
1986 Half Moon Street Dr. Lauren Slaughter Mystfest Award for Best Actress
1986 Aliens Ellen Ripley Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1988 Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey Dian Fossey Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
1988 Working Girl Katharine Parker Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1989 Ghostbusters II Dana Barrett
1992 Alien 3 Ellen Ripley Co-Producer
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1992 1492: Conquest of Paradise Queen Isabella
1993 Dave Ellen Mitchell
1994 Death and the Maiden Paulina Escobar
1995 Copycat Helen Hudson Special Mention Award at the Festival du Film Policier de Cognac (Shared with Holly Hunter for their acting performances)
1995 Jeffrey Debra Moorhouse
1997 Ice Storm, TheThe Ice Storm Janey Carver BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1997 Snow White: A Tale of Terror Lady Claudia Hoffman Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—SAG Award for Outstanding Female Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
1997 Alien Resurrection Ellen Ripley Clone Co-Producer
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Sci-Fi
1999 Map of the World, AA Map of the World Alice Goodwin Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1999 Galaxy Quest Gwen DeMarco/Lieutenant Tawny Madison Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actress – Comedy
2000 Company Man Daisy Quimp
2001 Heartbreakers Max Conners/Angela Nardino Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2002 Tadpole Eve Grubman
2002 Guys, TheThe Guys Joan Directed by husband Jim Simpson, starring daughter Charlotte Simpson
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
2003 Holes Warden Walker
2004 Imaginary Heroes Sandy Travis Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
2004 Village, TheThe Village Alice Hunt
2006 Snow Cake Linda Freeman Nominated—Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
2006 TV Set, TheThe TV Set Lenny
2006 Infamous Babe Paley
2007 Happily N'Ever After Frieda voice only
2007 Girl in the Park, TheThe Girl in the Park Julia Sandburg
2008 Vantage Point Rex Brooks
2008 Be Kind Rewind Ms. Lawson
2008 Baby Mama Chaffee Bicknell
2008 WALL•E Computer voice only
2008 Tale of Despereaux, TheThe Tale of Despereaux The Narrator voice only
2009 Prayers for Bobby Mary Griffith Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2009 Avatar Dr. Grace Augustine Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2009 ACID TEST: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification The Narrator Voice and image
2010 Crazy on the Outside Vicky
2010 Paul Tara post-production
2010 You Again Aunt Ramona
2011 Cedar Rapids Marcy Vanderhei post-production
2011 Abduction Dr. Bennett post-production
2011 Vamps Cisserus post-production
2011 Cold Light of Day, TheThe Cold Light of Day filming
2012 Ghostbusters III Dana Barrett

Stage credits

  • Better Dead Than Sorry (1971, Yale Cabaret) as Jenny[23]
  • Story Theatre (1972, Williamstown Theatre Festival)[24]
  • Sarah B. Divine! (1972, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Anita, the Eternal Maid[25]
  • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (1972, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Dockdaisy[26]
  • The Rat Trap (1972, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Cynthia Muldoon[27]
  • Once in a Lifetime (1972, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Florabel Leigh[28]
  • The Elephant Calf (1972, Williamstown Theatre Festival)[29]
  • The Tempest (1973, Yale Repertory Theatre)[30]
  • Watergate Classics (1973-4, Yale Repertory Theatre)[30]
  • Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1974, Yale University Theatre)[30]
  • The Nature and Purpose of the Universe (1974, Direct Theatre) as Eleanor (workshop production)[31]
  • The Frogs (1974, Yale Repertory Theatre) as member of the Chorus[32]
  • The Constant Wife (1975, Shubert Theatre, understudy) as Marie-Louise Durham[33]
  • Titanic (1976, Direct Theatre) as Lidia/Annabella/Harriet[34]
  • Das Lusitania Songspiel (1976, Van Dam Theatre)[35]
  • Gemini (1976, Playwright's Horizons) as Judith Hastings[36]
  • Marco Polo Sings a Solo (1977, Public/Newman Theatre) as Freydis[37]
  • Conjuring an Event (1978, American Place Theatre) as Annabella[38]
  • A Flea in Her Ear (1978, Hartford Stage)[39]
  • New Jerusalem (1979, Public Theater)[40]
  • Das Lusitania Songspiel (new version) (1980, Westside Theatre).[41] Also co-authored the play with Christopher Durang. Nominated for Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
  • Lone Star (1980) as Elizabeth
  • Beyond Therapy (1981, Phoenix Theatre) as Prudence[42]
  • As You Like It (1981, Dallas Festival of Shakespeare) as Rosalind
  • Animal Kingdom (1982, Berkshire Festival) as Cecelia Henry[43]
  • Old Times (1983, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Anna[44]
  • Hurlyburly (1984-5, Ethel Barrymore Theatre) as Darlene.[45] Nominated for Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1986, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Stella Kowalski[46]
  • The Merchant of Venice (1986-7, Classic Stage Company) as Portia[47]
  • The Show-Off (1988, Williamstown Theatre Festival) as Clara[48]
  • Sex and Longing (1996, Nederlander Theatre) as Lulu[49]
  • The Guys (2001-2, The Flea Theater) as Joan[50]
  • The Mercy Seat (2002, Acorn Theatre) as Abby Prescott[51]
  • Mrs Farnsworth (2004, The Flea Theater) as Marjorie Farnsworth[52]
  • Crazy Mary (2007, Playwright's Horizons) as Lydia[53]
  • Love Letters (2007, The Flea Theater, single benefit performance) as Melissa Gardner[54]
  • Love Letters (2008, The Detroit Film Theatre, single benefit performance) as Melissa Gardner[55]


  1. "Session Timeout – Academy Awards® Database – AMPAS". 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  2. "Sigourney Weaver – Weaver's Scottish Ancestry Mix-Up". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  3. He is related to Matthew Laflin who was an American Manufacturer of Gunpowder, Businessman, Philanthropist, and a early pioneer of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
  4. Chicago: its history and its ... 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  5. Reitwiesner, William Addams (2007). "Ancestry of George W. Bush". Retrieved July 24, 2009. 
  6. "Sigourney Weaver – Biography". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  7. "Sigourney Weaver". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  8. "The Beta Chi Chapter House Of Sigma Nu". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  9. "Training Great Actors: A Scene from Shakespeare". Yale University Tercentennial (April Weekend Videos). Yale University. 2001. Retrieved February 1, 2008. 
  10. "Sigourney Weaver The Frogs". 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  11. Burr, Ty October 29, 2003 The Boston Globe 'Alien' director's cut oozes gore and greatness Retrieved on September 21, 2010]
  12. Ebert, Roger July 18, 1986 Sun Times Aliens review The Sun online Retrieved on September 21, 2010.
  13. "Sigourney Weaver Puts Eli Stone on the Couch". TV Guide. August 15, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2008. 
  14. "Sigourney Weaver Talks Ghostbusters 3 ... Again". 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  15. "Sigourney Weaver Confronted on 'Ghostbusters 3' Spoiler". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  16. "Sigourney Weaver Queen of the Vamps! Where Do We Sign Up to be Bitten?". 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  17. "Sigourney Weaver Flashes Red Lights for Rodrigo Cortés". 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  18. "Sigourney Weaver Bio – Actor Information at MovieTome". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  19. "About Dian Fossey – Info about the Life of Dian Fossey – DFGFI". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  20. "Center for Health and the Global Environment". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  21. "Reuters AlertNet – United Nations to consider deep sea trawling ban". 2006-10-03. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  22. "United Nations to Consider Deep Sea Trawling Ban". Planet Ark. 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  23. Christopher Durang - Acting Theatre
  24. Story Theatre in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  25. Sarah B. Divine! in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  26. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  27. The Rat Trap in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  28. Once in a Lifetime in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  29. The Elephant Calf in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 "Yale Repertory Theatre, Production History 1966/67-1977/80 Seasons". Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  31. Christopher Durang - Longer One Act Plays - The Nature and Purpose of the Universe
  32. Sondheim Guide / The Frogs
  33. The Constant Wife entry in the Internet Broadway Database
  34. Christopher Durang - Longer One Act Plays - Titanic
  35. Das Lusitania Songspiel in the Lortel Archives
  36. Gemini in Playwright's Horizons archives
  37. Marco Polo Sings a Solo in the Lortel Archives
  38. Conjuring an Event in the Lortel Archives
  39. The New York Times, January 13, 1978. Gussow, Mel. "A Flea in Hartford's Ear"
  40. The New York Times, February 16, 1979. Gussow, Mel. "An Evening in New Jerusalem; On the Trail of Kef"
  41. Das Lusitania Songspiel in the Lortel Archives
  42. Christopher Durang - Full Length Plays - Beyond Therapy
  43. The New York Times, July 23, 1982. "Philip Barry comedy at Berkshire Festival"
  44. Old Times in the Williamstown Theater Festival archives
  45. Hurlyburly entry in the Internet Broadway Database
  46. A Streetcar Named Desire in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  47. The New York Times, December 22, 1986. Gussow, Mel. "New Conception of Merchant of Venice"
  48. The Show-Off in the Williamstown Theatre Festival archives
  49. Christopher Durang - Full Length Plays - Sex and Longing
  50. The Guys entry in The Flea Theater official website
  51. The New York Times, December 15, 2002. Salamon, Julie. "A Response to 9/12 So Unheroically Human"
  52. Mrs Farnsworth entry in The Flea Theater official website
  53. Crazy Mary in Playwright's Horizons archives
  54. May 9, 2007. Hernandez, Ernio. "Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels Will Send Love Letters for Flea's One-Night Benefit"
  55. " July 26, 2008. Gans, Andrew. "Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels Send ''Love Letters'' July 26". Retrieved 2010-09-25. 

External links

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