The Info List - Sigourney Weaver

Susan Alexandra Weaver (born October 8, 1949), known professionally as Sigourney Weaver (/sɪˈɡɔːrni ˈwvər/), is an American actress. Following her film debut as a minor character in Annie Hall (1977), she quickly came to prominence with her first lead role as Ellen Ripley in Alien (1979). She reprised the role in three sequels: Aliens (1986), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress; Alien 3 (1992), and Alien Resurrection (1997). She is also known for her starring roles in the box-office hits Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), and Avatar (2009).

Weaver was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for the 1980 Off-Broadway play Das Lusitania Songspiel, and received a Tony Award nomination for the 1984 Broadway play Hurlyburly. A seven-time Golden Globe Award nominee, she won both Best Actress in Drama and Best Supporting Actress for her work in the films Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl (both in 1988), becoming the first person to win two acting Golden Globes in the same year.[1] She also received Academy Award nominations for both films.

For her role in the film The Ice Storm (1997), she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Additionally, she has received three Emmy Award nominations and won two Saturn Awards.

Weaver acquired the nickname of "the Sci-Fi Queen" for her numerous contributions to science-fiction film history.[2] Other popular works she has appeared in include Avatar (2009), Galaxy Quest (1999), Futurama (2002), WALL-E (2008), Paul (2011), The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Finding Dory, and A Monster Calls (both in 2016).[3][4] She returned to Broadway in 2013 to star in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Weaver played Alexandra Reid, the main antagonist, in The Defenders which premiered on August 18, 2017.

Early life

Weaver was born in Manhattan, New York City, the only daughter of Elizabeth Inglis (née Desiree Mary Lucy Hawkins; 1913–2007), an actress, and NBC television executive and television pioneer Sylvester "Pat" Weaver (1908–2002).[5][6][7] Her uncle, Doodles Weaver (1911–1983), was a comedian and actor. Her mother was English, from Colchester, Essex, and her father, who was American, had English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and Dutch ancestry, including roots in New England.[8][9] Weaver began using the name "Sigourney Weaver" in 1963 after a minor character (Mrs. Sigourney Howard, Jordan Baker's aunt) in Chapter 3[10] of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.[11]

Weaver attended the Ethel Walker School, a girls' preparatory school in Simsbury, Connecticut. She also attended The Chapin School and The Brearley School. Sigourney was reportedly 5 ft 10 12 in (179 cm) tall by the age of 14, although she only grew another inch during her teens to her adult height of 5 ft 11 12 in (182 cm). In 1967, at the age of 18, Weaver visited Israel and volunteered on a kibbutz for several months.[12]

Weaver attended Sarah Lawrence College. In 1972, she graduated with a B.A. in English from Stanford University,[13][14] where she first began her involvement in acting by living in Stanford's co-ed Beta Chi Community for the Performing Arts.[15] Weaver earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the Yale University School of Drama in 1974,[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

Film career

Weaver with her father Pat Weaver at the 1989 Academy Awards

Weaver's first role is often said to be in Woody Allen's comedy Annie Hall (1977) playing a minor role opposite Allen.[19] Weaver appeared two years later as Warrant Officer / Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's blockbuster film Alien (1979), in a role initially designated to co-star Veronica Cartwright, until a late change in casting.[citation needed]

She reprised the role in the three sequels of the Alien movie franchise, 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."[20]

In the sequel Aliens directed by James Cameron, critic Roger Ebert wrote, "Weaver, who is onscreen almost all the time, comes through with a very strong, sympathetic performance: She's the thread that holds everything together."[21] She followed the success of Alien appearing opposite Mel Gibson in The Year of Living Dangerously released to critical acclaim and as Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.

Weaver at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Baby Mama, in which she appears.

By the end of the decade, Weaver appeared in two of her most memorable and critically acclaimed performances. In 1988, she starred 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.[22][citation needed]

She gave birth to her daughter Charlotte Simpson (born on April 13, 1990) taking a few years' break from the movie business and focusing on her family. She returned to the big screen with Alien 3 (1992) and Ridley's Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) in which she played the role of Queen Isabella. In the early 1990s, Weaver appeared in several films including Dave opposite Kevin Kline and Frank Langella. In 1994, she starred in Roman Polanski's drama Death and the Maiden as Paulina Escobar. She played the role of agoraphobic criminal psychologist Helen Hudson in the movie Copycat (1995). Weaver also concentrated on smaller and supporting roles throughout the decade such as Jeffrey (1994), Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (1997), earning her another Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and winning a BAFTA Award, followed by Galaxy Quest (1999), and A Map of the World (1999) earning her another Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.[23][citation needed]

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. She appeared in several films throughout the decade including Holes (2003), the M. Night Shyamalan horror film The Village (2004), Vantage Point (2008), and Baby Mama (2008). Weaver also returned to Rwanda for the BBC special Gorillas Revisited. She was voted 20th in Channel 4's countdown of the 100 Greatest Movie Stars of All Time, being one of only two women in the Top 20 (the other was Audrey Hepburn).[24][citation needed]

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,[25] Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. She also made a rare guest appearance on television in an episode of the television series Eli Stone in the fall of 2008.[26] She reunited with Aliens director James Cameron for his film Avatar (2009), with Weaver playing a major role as Dr. Grace Augustine, leader of the AVTR (avatar) program on the film's fictional moon Pandora.[27][citation needed]

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.[28][citation needed] In 2006 she also 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.[29][citation needed]

In 2008, Weaver was featured as the voice of the ship's computer in the Pixar and Disney release, WALL•E.[30][citation needed] She also voiced a narrating role in another computer-animated film, The Tale of Despereaux (2008), based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo.

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. In March 2010, she was cast for the lead role as Queen of the Vampires in Amy Heckerling's Vamps.[31] She was honored at the 2010 Scream Awards earning The Heroine Award which honored her work in science fiction, horror and fantasy films.[32]

Weaver in December 2009

In May 2010, there were reports that Weaver had been cast for the lead role Margaret Matheson in the Spanish thriller film Red Lights.[33]

In September 2011, it was confirmed that Weaver will be returning to Avatar 2, with James Cameron stating that "no one ever dies in science fiction."[34] In 2014, he revealed that she would be featured in all three sequels.[35]

In 2014, Weaver reprised the role of Ripley for the first time in 17 years by voicing the character in the video game Alien: Isolation. Her character has a voice cameo in the main story, and has a central role in the two DLCs set during the events of Alien, with most of the original cast voicing their respective characters.[36][37]

Weaver appeared in the film Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) playing Tuya, directed by Ridley Scott, alongside Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley.[38]

In 2015, she co-starred in Neill Blomkamp's science-fiction film Chappie, and stated that she would agree to appear in an Alien sequel, provided that Blomkamp directs.[39] On February 18, 2015, it was officially announced that an Alien sequel will be made, with Blomkamp slated to direct.[40] On February 25, 2015, Weaver confirmed that she would reprise her role as Ellen Ripley in the new Alien film.[41] On January 21, 2017, in response to a fan question on Twitter asking what the chances were of his Alien project actually happening, Blomkamp responded "slim".[42][43]

Principal photography for Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 started on September 25, 2017, with Weaver returning; however, she stated that she would portray a different, currently unknown character.[44][45][46] She had to learn both free-diving and scuba diving for the film.[47]

Personal life

Weaver has been married to the stage director Jim Simpson since October 1, 1984.[48] They have one daughter, Charlotte Simpson (born April 13, 1990).[49]

After making Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, she became a supporter of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and is now its honorary chairwoman.[50] She was honored by the Explorers Club for this work. Weaver is considered to be an environmentalist.[51]

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 catching fish.[52]

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 disabled people, in the Rainbow Room.[53]

She is a longtime friend of Jamie Lee Curtis, with whom she starred in the romantic comedy You Again (2010). In a 2015 interview together, Curtis admitted to Weaver that she never saw Alien in its entirety because she was too scared.[19] In 2017, Weaver made a cameo in English television series Doc Martin, she revealed that the reason behind her appearance was because of her 40-year friendship with Doc Martin star Selina Cadell.[54]


Weaver has been nominated three times for an Academy Award, three BAFTA Awards (one win) and seven Golden Globe Awards (two wins). She has also earned Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for her work on the stage.



Year Title Role Notes
1977 Annie Hall Alvy's date outside theater
1978 Madman
1979 Alien Ripley
1981 Eyewitness Tony Sokolow
1982 The Year of Living Dangerously Jilly Bryant
1983 Deal of the Century Catherine DeVoto
1984 Ghostbusters Dana Barrett
1985 One Woman or Two Jessica Fitzgerald French language role
1986 Half Moon Street Dr. Lauren Slaughter
Aliens Ellen Ripley
1988 Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey Dian Fossey
Working Girl Katharine Parker
1989 Ghostbusters II Dana Barrett
1992 The Snow Queen Narrator (voice) Short film
Alien 3 Ellen Ripley Also co-producer
1492: Conquest of Paradise Queen Isabella
1993 Rabbit Ears: Peachboy Narrator Short film
Voice role
Dave Ellen Mitchell
1994 The Wild Swans Narrator Short film
Voice role
Death and the Maiden Paulina Escobar
1995 Copycat Helen Hudson
Jeffrey Debra Moorhouse
1997 The Ice Storm Janey Carver
Alien Resurrection Ellen Ripley Also co-producer
1999 A Map of the World Alice Goodwin
Galaxy Quest Gwen DeMarco / Lieutenant Tawny Madison
2000 Company Man Daisy Quimp
2001 Heartbreakers Angela Nardino / Max Conners / Olga Ivanova
Big Bad Love Betti DeLoreo Voice role
2002 Tadpole Eve Grubman
The Guys Joan
2003 Holes Lou Walker The Warden
2004 Imaginary Heroes Sandy Travis
The Village Alice Hunt
2006 Snow Cake Linda Freeman
The TV Set Lenny
Infamous Babe Paley
2007 Happily N'Ever After Frieda Voice role
The Girl in the Park Julia Sandburg
2008 Vantage Point Rex Brooks
Be Kind Rewind Ms. Lawson
Baby Mama Chaffee Bicknell
WALL•E Axiom Computer Voice role
The Tale of Despereaux Narrator
2009 Avatar Dr. Grace Augustine
2010 Crazy on the Outside Vicky Zelda
You Again Ramona Clark
2011 Cedar Rapids Marcy Vanderhei
Paul "The Big Guy"
Abduction Dr. Geraldine "Geri" Bennett
Rampart Joan Confrey
2012 The Cabin in the Woods The Director
Red Lights Margaret Matheson
The Cold Light of Day Jean Carrack
Vamps Cisserus
2014 Exodus: Gods and Kings Tuya
2015 Chappie Michelle Bradley
2016 Finding Dory Herself Voice role
Ghostbusters Dr. Rebecca Gorin Cameo appearance
A Monster Calls Grandma
The Assignment Dr. Rachel Jane
2017 The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Herself
Rakka Jasper Short film
2020 Avatar 2 TBA Filming
2021 Avatar 3


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Somerset Avis Ryan 1 episode
1977 The Best of Families Laura Wheeler Miniseries
1979 3 by Cheever: The Sorrows of Gin Marcia Lawton Miniseries: episodes 1 and 2
1986, 2010 Saturday Night Live Host / Herself / Various Season 12 premiere
Season 35, episode 12
1997 Snow White: A Tale of Terror Lady Claudia Hoffman Originally slated for theatrical release but debuted on Showtime in the United States
2002 Futurama The Female Planet Express Ship Episode: "Love and Rocket": voice role
2008 Eli Stone Therapist Episode: "The Path"
2009 Prayers for Bobby Mary Griffith Movie
2012 Political Animals Elaine Barrish Miniseries (6 episodes)
My Depression (The Up and Down and Up of It) Voice role
2015 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Lady Starblaster Episode: "Lady Starblaster"; voice role
2015, 2017 Doc Martin Beth Traywick Cameos in "Facta Non Verba" and "All My Trials"[55][56]
2016 Years of Living Dangerously Herself[57] Episode: "Uprising"
2017 The Defenders Alexandra Miniseries (6 episodes)


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Helmut Newton: Frames from the Edge Herself
1999 Why Dogs Smile & Chimpanzees Cry Narrator Voice role
2001 The Roman Empire In The First Century
2003 National Geographic Specials: The Lost Film of Dian Fossey
Search for the Afghan Girl
2006 Planet Earth
Gorillas Revisited Herself BBC production
2009 ACID TEST: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification Narrator Voice and image
2015 Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words Herself
2016 The Beatles: Eight Days a Week
2017 Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist Dian Fossey Voice role
2018 Dream the Future Narrator Voice role

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2009 James Cameron's Avatar: The Game Dr. Grace Augustine Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii version
2014 Alien: Isolation Ellen Ripley Voice role: lead role in "Crew Expendable" and "Last Survivor" DLCs
2015 Lego Dimensions Dana Barrett Archive sound

Audio books

Year Title Author Publisher
1992 The Snow Queen Lightyear Entertainment, L.P
1994 Peachboy Rabbit Ears
2007 Little Bear Else Holmelund Minarik HarperFestival

Stage credits

Soundtrack discography

Year Title Track
1993 Dave "Tomorrow"
2001 Heartbreakers "Back in the U.S.S.R."
2006 Snow Cake "Deep in the Heart of Texas"
2007 The Girl in the Park "Ooh Shoo Be Doo Be"


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External links