"I feel I've always been on the outside and always on the edge of an abyss. The women I portray, and the woman I am, are ordinary but maybe find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances and what they do is at great cost." Susan Sarandon
Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon has been nominated four times for Best Actress Academy Awards for starring in Atlantic City (1980), Thelma and Louise (1990), Lorenzo's Oil (1992) and The Client (1994), before she eventually won the coveted award for portraying Sister Helen Prejean in Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking (1995). An actress since the 1970s, Susan Sarandon, sometimes credited as Susan Tomalin, has starred in such films as the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Hunger (1983), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Bull Durham (1988), White Palace (1990), Stepmom (1998), Anywhere But Here (1999), Cradle Will Rock (1999), Moonlight Mile (2002), The Banger Sisters (2002), Shall We Dance (2004), Alfie (2004), Romance & Cigarettes (2005) and Elizabethtown (2005). Her upcoming films include Irresistible, Mr. Woodcock, A Whale in Montana, and Bernard and Doris.
The talented actress received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 5, 2003, and was one of Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" (October 1997). A former Ford model, hazel-eyed, 5' 7 1/2" tall Susan Sarandon has 37C-26-36 measurements and was chosen as one of People (USA) magazine’s “The 50 Most Beautiful in The World” (1996).
"The thing that's bad about breasts is that you have to choose between having a mind and having breasts. It'd be nice if you could have both. Anyway, I think my breasts have been highly overrated." Susan Sarandon
As for her personal life, Sarandon was linked to her Pretty Baby (1978) and Atlantic City (1980) director Louis Malle (together in the late '70s), actor Sean Penn (born on August 17, 1960; dated briefly in 1984) and director Franco Amurri (born on September 12, 1958; dated in the 1980s; has one daughter with him). The ex-wife of actor Chris Sarandon, Susan Sarandon has been together with actor-director Tim Robbins since 1988 and has two sons with him.
Adding to her acting career, Sarandon and companion Robbins are also well known for their involvement in left-wing and liberal political causes. Sarandon, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, is also involved with many charity organizations and is a founding member of the Creative Coalition.
"Well, I was always political. I was arrested in high school for Vietnam and civil rights protests...all kinds of things. When I was little, I would always make sure that my dolls alternated their clothes. I didn't want one to always be dressed nicer than the other." Susan Sarandon
Childhood and Family:
On October 4, 1946, Susan Abigail Tomalin was born in New York City, New York, to Welsh-American father Phillip Leslie Tomalin (TV and advertising executive) and Italian-American mother Lenora Marie Criscione. The eldest of 9 children (5 girls and 4 boys; one of her brothers is Terry Tomalin, a sportswriter), Susan attended Edison High School in Edison, New Jersey, where she was a cheerleader. After graduating from high school in 1964, she went to study Drama and English at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and graduated with a B.A. degree in 1968. Susan also studied math, philosophy and military strategies.
While studying at the Catholic University of America, Susan met Chris Sarandon (actor; born on July 24, 1942) and they married on September 16, 1967. However, the couple divorced after 12 years of marriage, in 1979. On the set of Bull Durham (1988), Susan met costar actor Tim Robbins (born on October 16, 1958). Since then, they lived together and have two children: sons Miles Robbins (born on May 5, 1992) and John Henry Robbins (born in May 1989). Susan also has one daughter from her relationship with director Franco Amurri (born on September 12, 1958), Eva Maria Livia Amurri (born on March 15, 1985).
"I'm certainly not an expert, but Tim and I just celebrated 17 years together, which in Hollywood years I think is 45. I think the key is just focusing on this one person and not keeping one eye on the door to see who might be better." Susan Sarandon
In Atlantic City
"I choose projects I can talk about for days because now you do publicity for as long as it took you to shoot the movie." Susan Sarandon
Commencing her showbiz career as a model with the Ford Agency, Susan Sarandon switched to acting and got her first acting job with a regular role in the ABC daytime soap "A World Apart" (1970-1971). Unexpectedly, when Susan accompanied then-husband Chris Sarandon to his audition for the film Joe (1970), Susan was recruited instead, to play the rebellious hippie daughter in her debut big screen work. She then appeared as a guest on a December 1971 episode of the TV series "Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law" and was cast to play a role on the daytime soap "Search for Tomorrow" the next year. Susan also debuted on the Broadway stage, playing Tricia Nixon in Gore Vidal's "An Evening With Richard Nixon and . . ."
More acting jobs arrived in the subsequent years. Susan landed roles in Lovin' Molly, Billy Wilder's ill-advised remake of The Front Page and portrayed the fictionalized superwoman in ABC’s dramatization F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Last of the Belles (all in 1974). She garnered attention for playing a costarring role as Janet Weiss, a virginal ingénue, in the decade’s cult hit, the horror spoof The Rocky Horror Picture Show (opposite Tim Curry) and became the leading lady to Robert Redford in George Roy Hill's The Great Waldo Pepper (both in 1975). Susan then co-produced and costarred in 1977's The Great Smokey Roadblock (formerly known as The Last of the Cowboys). She also made her first film with director Louis Malle, portraying the mother of a 12-year-old prostitute (played by Brooke Shields) in Pretty Baby (1978).
On stage, Susan made her first off-Broadway appearance in a production of "A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking" (1980). Also that year, Susan received her first Best Actress Academy Award nomination for starring as a drowsy casino worker who becomes involved with older Burt Lancaster in Louis Malle’s brilliant Atlantic City. Though she did not win the Oscar, Susan nabbed Canada's Oscar equivalent, the Genie, for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress in 1981. Following the Oscar nomination, Susan was hired to act opposite John Cassavetes and wife Gena Rowlands in Paul Mazursky's loose adaptation of Shakespeare's play, Tempest (Susan won a Venice Film Festival Best Actress), portrayed the Beauty in “Beauty and the Beast” episode of Showtime's “Faerie Tale Theatre,” and starred opposite Christopher Walken in the applauded PBS drama Who Am I This Time? (1982).
In 1983, Susan became the lesbian lover of vampire Catherine Deneuve in Tony Scott's stylish vampire flick The Hunger (also with David Bowie), which raised a slight uproar for Susan’s love scene with Deneuve. Two years later, she costarred as the dictator's daughter, Edda Ciano, in the HBO historical miniseries "Mussolini: The Decline and Fall of Il Duce” (with Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins) and played the lead role in the comedy-drama Compromising Positions (Susan was pregnant with first child during the filming). After joining filmmaker George Miller in his film The Witches of Eastwick (1987, with Jack Nicholson and Cher), Susan met future companion Tim Robbins while costarring as an alluring, middle-aged baseball groupie in the hit baseball comedy Bull Durham (1988, opposite Kevin Costner). She also played a supporting role in A Dry White Season (1989), a social drama set in South Africa during the apartheid era.
Moviegoers saw Susan as an older waitress, who falls for younger James Spader, in White Palace (1990, Susan won London Film Critics Circle’s Actress of the Year), before she earned a second Best Actress Academy Award nomination for portraying the level-headed Louise Davis in Ridley Scott's hit female buddy movie Thelma & Louise (1991). Though she did not win the luminous award, Susan was awarded a National Board of Review's Best Actress and London Film Critics Circle’s Actress of the Year. Commenting on the film Thelma & Louise, Susan said, "I was surprised that the film struck such a primal nerve. I knew when we were filming that it would be different, unusual and hopefully entertaining. But shocking? I guess giving women the option of violence was hard for a lot of people to accept."
In Tim Robbins’ vehicle, Robert Altman-directed The Player (1991), Susan had a cameo appearance as herself, and then reunited with Robbins in his directional debut feature, the satiric Bob Roberts (1992), playing a funny cameo as a newscaster. A third Best Actress Academy Award nomination arrived after Susan joined director George Miller in Lorenzo's Oil (1992). She followed it up with a fourth Best Actress Academy Award nomination for portraying a Southern lawyer in Joel Schumacher’s slick legal thriller, based on John Grisham’s bestseller novel, The Client (1994). That same year, Susan also appeared in Gillian Armstrong's Little Women, as the matriarch of the March family.
After four Academy Award nominations, Susan Sarandon eventually became a Best Actress Academy Award winner, thanks for the portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean, the Louisiana nun who becomes the spiritual counselor to Sean Penn’s death row killer, in the Tim Robbins-directed film Dead Man Walking (1995). The film also handed her several other awards, including a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. After her victory, Susan lent her voice to the seductive Polish spider in James and the Giant Peach (1996) and presented the documentary The War Zone (1998). Susan returned in front of the camera as Gene Hackman’s film star wife in Robert Benton's Twilight (1998, also starring Paul Newman), costarred with Ed Harris and Julia Roberts in Chris Columbus' drama comedy Stepmom (1998, Susan also executive-produced) and played a woman taken hostage by a bank robber in the HBO movie, adopted from the novel by Anne Tyler, Earthly Possessions (1999, alongside Stephen Dorff). The rest of the 1990s watched Susan in a cameo role as Mussolini's mistress in Tim Robbins' feature The Cradle Will Rock and as a single mother coping with a new love and a rebellious teenager in Wayne Wang's Anywhere But Here (with Natalie Portman, both in 1999).
Entering the new century, Susan had a cameo role as painter Alice Neel in Stanley Tucci’s period drama Joe Gould's Secret and voiced the character Coco La Bouche in the animated film Rugrats in Paris - The Movie. TV viewers watched her appear as a guest in an episode of the NBC hit series “Friends,” playing a soap opera actress, which gave Susan an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She picked up another Emmy nomination in the same category the following year after guest starring in the series “Malcolm in the Middle.”
Back on the silver screen, Susan provided her voice for the dog Ivy in the feature Cats & Dogs (2001), acted opposite Dustin Hoffman in the psychological drama Moonlight Mile (also with Jake Gyllenhaal), and played a former rock groupie with Goldie Hawn in The Banger Sisters (both in 2002). Susan also earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and won a Las Vegas Film Critics Society’s Sierra Award for Best Supporting Actress for portraying the title role’s mother in Igby Goes Down (2002). Additionally, Susan made rare appearances on TV, on Sci Fi Channel's expansive, elaborate TV adaptation of the Frank Herbert classic, Children of Dune, playing Princess Wensicia Corrino, and on Lifetime's biographical adventure drama Ice Bound (both in 2003), playing female explorer Jerri Nielsen, who becomes trapped at the South Pole. That same year, on August 5, Susan got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
"I am so honored and thrilled. Being from New York, it's great to have a little bit of real estate in L.A. when I am here." Susan Sarandon (about her Hollywood Walk of Fame star)
Recent years witnessed Susan as Richard Gere's wife in a remake of the 1996 Japanese film, Shall We Dance, and in a remake of the 1966 film Alfie (both in 2004), playing successful businesswoman Liz. She also acted opposite Orlando Bloom in Cameron Crowe's drama Elizabethtown and costarred with James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet and Elaine Stritch in the musical Romance & Cigarettes, a film about a husband torn between his mistress and his wife. Currently, Susan is on set completing her upcoming films, Irresistible, Mr. Woodcock, a comedy film which centers around a young man returning to his homeland to stop his mother from marrying his hated high school gym teacher. She will also star in A Whale in Montana, and Bernard and Doris (alongside Ralph Fiennes), in which she will portray the billionaires Doris Duke.
"I think the only reason I remain an actor is that you can never quite get it right. So there is a challenge to it." Susan Sarandon
- Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award - Best Supporting Actress, Igby Goes Down, 2003
- Nashville Independent Film Festival: Freedom in Film Award, 2002
- Taos Talking Picture Festival: Maverick Award, 2002
- Kids' Choice: Blimp Award - Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie - Rugrats II, 2001
- Munich Film Festival: CineMerit Award, 1997
- David di Donatello: Best Foreign Actress, Dead Man Walking, 1996
- Academy Awards: Best Actress, Dead Man Walking, 1996
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, Dead Man Walking, 1995
- National Board of Review: Best Actress, Thelma & Louise, 1991
- London Film Critics Circle: Actress of the Year, Thelma & Louise and White Palace, 1991
- Venice Film Festival: Best Actress, Tempest, 1982
- Genie: Best Actress in a Foreign Film, Atlantic City, 1981