Sigourney Weaver was born in New York City to a show business background. Her mother was an English actress and her father was president of NBC. THough self conscious about her height and looks, Weaver acted in off-Broadway shows, and had her big break in the 1979 film Alien. Weaver appeared in many films throughout the next three decades, including Ghost Busters, Working Girl, Aliens and Avatar. Weaver has been nominated for three Academy Awards.
Susan Alexandra Weaver was born on October 8, 1949, in New York City, and began calling herself Sigourney at the age of 14, after discovering the name in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The daughter of English actress Elizabeth Inglis and former NBC president Sylvester Weaver, Weaver grew up fully immersed in the entertainment business.
Despite a privileged childhood, Weaver's formative years weren't always easy. She lacked confidence in her own beauty, a trait brought on by the fact that she was generally taller than most girls she knew and by her mom, who told her at the age of 8 that she was simply "plain" looking. "I thought, well, if my mother doesn't think I'm pretty ... no one else will," Weaver once said.
At age 13, Weaver was sent to see a psychiatrist to address what her parents perceived to be their daughter's uncommunicative personality. "I never even spoke to the psychiatrist," Weaver recalled. "I was a normal teenager, and teenagers hate telling their parents anything."
After private high school in Connecticut, Weaver attended California's Stanford University. It was there that she realized her true dream was to become an actress. After graduating from Stanford with a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature in 1971, Weaver moved back east to Connecticut to attend Yale Drama School. She finished the program in 1974, one year before another actress and new friend, Meryl Streep.
Over the next several years, Sigourney Weaver found steady work in a host of off-Broadway shows. She also landed a role on the short-lived soap, Somerset, and earned a small part as Woody Allen's movie date in the now-classic film Annie Hall (1977).
But it was her performance as the tough Ripley in the 1979 megahit Alien that catapulted Weaver to stardom and offered her a lineup of other film work to choose from. Over the next decade she starred in a host of well-received films, including The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) with Mel Gibson and the wildly popular comedy Ghost Busters (1984).
In 1986, Weaver reprised her Ripley role for the Alien sequel, Aliens, which garnered the star an Academy Award nomination for best actress. Two years later, Weaver garnered two more Oscar nominations—in the best actress category for her performance in Gorillas in the Mist, and in the best supporting actress category for her portrayal of Katharine Parker in the film Working Girl (both released in 1988).
Weaver's busy workload continued throughout the 1990s. She reunited with castmates of the Alien series to play Ripley in Aliens 3 (1992), resurrecting the role yet again for Alien Resurrection (1997). In 1993, she took on a lighter role as a faux U.S. first lady in the playful hit Dave, also starring Kevin Kline. The pair teamed up again in 1997 for the indie drama The Ice Storm, a moody portrait of family and suburban life set in the 1970s. Additionally, in 1996, Weaver made a return to Broadway in Sex and Lounging.
In recent years, Weaver has continued to demonstrate her range as an actress and her willingness to seek out interesting projects. In 2004, she co-starred in the M. Night Shyamalan release The Village. Two years later, she was the face of a pair of indie releases: The TV Set and Snow Cake. In 2009, she paired up with Aliens director James Cameron for the big budget hit Avatar. In addition to her steady film work, Weaver has maintained a close connection to the stage, starring in variety of theatrical performances.
Sigourney Weaver is married to filmmaker Jim Simpson. They have one child together: a daughter, Charlotte, who was born on April 13, 1990. Weaver lives with her family in New York City.
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