Born Susan Abigail Tomalin (1946-) in New York City, Oscar winner Susan Sarandon's screen persona is a combination of eroticism and vulnerability, raw passion and intelligence. "I was told I had an overabundance of original sin," she once confessed.
The oldest of nine from a Welsh/Italian Catholic family she grew up an introverted bookworm, hardly a sex symbol. She fell into acting by accident, starring in the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a low budget horror spoof. "Everyone thought I was crazy to do it. I did it for no money," she explained.
"To me the whole point of acting is to experiment and learn--it's like living hundreds of lives in one lifetime" she says, giving her characters memorable colors of complexity. Critic Roger Ebert called it "a special humanity." Each role, he said, is "a deep understanding of the person she is playing."
•worldly baseball groupie Annie Savoy in Bull Durham(1988)
•spunky waitress Louise Sawyer in Thelma and Louise (1991)
•Louisiana nun, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1996), her Oscar role.
There is an unforgettable moment in the 1981 film Atlantic City in which her character, Sally the waitress, cleans her generously sculpted bare breasts with lemons as her voyeuristic neighbor Lou (Burt Lancaster) watches through a window.
Saying "yes" to life...
About her craft, Sarandon said, "Actors are in a privileged position, being able to create something that affects people and challenges their perspectives. Actors are the keepers of the dreams."
Say "YES" to life.