The American actress Sigourney Weaver was born October 8, 1949 in New York City to Elizabeth Inglis and Pat Weaver. Both parents were in show business; her mother a British-born actress and father an early television pioneer through his work as an NBC executive. An uncle, Doodles Weaver, was a popular actor/comedian during the 1950s. Educated at Sarah Lawrence, Stanford and Yale, Weaver's performing career began with minor roles in several stage productions before making her film debut in 1974's Serpico.
Breaktrough in space
Sigourney Weaver first gained the public's attention with her unforgettable performance as the tough-as-nails, no-nonsense Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's iconic Alien (1979). Regularly lauded as perhaps the greatest female film character of all time, Weaver infuses the Ripley character (a role she would recreate in three subsequent sequels) with bravery and sensitivity as she becomes the lone survivor aboard the space ship Nostromo, which has fallen victim to a deadly alien stowaway.
Her career hasn't slowed down since, appearing in nearly fifty films including such box-office and critical successes as Ghostbusters, Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl, The Ice Storm and Avatar. Her film, stage and television performances have earned her numerous nominations for Academy Awards, Golden Globes, the Emmy and Tony Awards.
Sigourney Weaver demonstrated her heretofore largely untapped comedic talents in 1984's Ghostbusters with her role as Dana Barrett, a New York City resident who employs "paranormal exterminators" to rid her apartment of a demonic spirit, only to find herself possessed by the sought-after entity.
1988's Gorillas in the Mist gave Ms. Weaver an opportunity to portray a real-life character. Her role as the celebrated naturalist Dian Fossey during her groundbreaking research with mountain gorillas in Rwanda earned her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress, of which she won the latter.
As Dr. Grace Augustine in James Cameron's landmark 2009 3-D epic film Avatar, Weaver once again portrays a strong female character in her role as head of the Avatar program. Her performance was widely praised and earned her the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Perhaps more than any other actress of her generation, Sigourney Weaver's career has been one that showcases versatility, fearlessness and a willingness to take on roles that most other female performers wouldn't even consider attempting. Filmgoers have come to expect dedication, professionalism, believability and realism from her portrayals, qualities that are rare in the modern celebrity-driven world of show business.