Born in 1949
in New York by former NBC president Sylvester (Pat)
and former actress Desiree (Liz) Weaver (a.k.a Elizabeth
Inglis), she was named Susan Alexander Weaver, though
her father wanted to call her Flavia, because of his
intense interest in Roman history. Her brother, though,
was named Trajan after the Roman emperor.
In a family with unusual
names it was natural for her to change her name to something
more fitting to the family standard, and after reading
The Great Gatsby, she chose the name of one of the minor
characters, and at the age of 14, became known as Sigourney
The whole family seems
to have close ties to showbusiness, the dad president
of NBC TV, her mom an actress, and her uncle Winstead Sheffield Weaver (Doodles Weaver) was also an
actor and member of the Spike Jones' Troup, and remembered
from the Professor Feitlebaum character.
She completed an university
education at Stanford and Yale Universities, before
she started her career on the screen, where she had
her breakthrough in Alien with the role as Lt. Ellen
Ripley, the astronaut who not only had to face evil,
man-eating aliens but also face up to the stupidity
of the mining corporation, that wants a new military
weapon! Later movies only showed, that she was an actress
that mastered most genres; from a gutsy, tough lady
as in the Alien Quatrology and Gorillas in the Mist,
through a sexy seductress in Ghostbusters, to a psychotic
nervous wreck in Copycat.
While portraying Dian
Fossey in the motion picture Gorillas in the Mist, Ms.
Weaver was so moved by her experiences with the gorillas
while filming that she became a supporter of the DFGF
(Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund). Now Sigourney is DFGF's
honorary to the board of trustees.
But even before she started
her career on the big screen, she was honing her skills
as an actress doing theater work almost five years before
debuting in the Woody Allen movie Annie Hall in 1977.
Her theater debut was in 1973 in the play Watergate
Classics. She's also an alumni of The Yale School of
Drama, in company with stars like Paul Newman, Stacy
Keach, Charles Dutton, and Meryl Streep to name a few.
Though perhaps best known
to the general audience for her perfomances in the Alien
Quatrology. The role as Lt. Ellen Ripley was originally
planned for Veronica Cartwright, but the producers chose
Sigourney Weaver instead.
Another stunning fact
is her salary rise! In 1977 she got $50 for her six
seconds appearance in Annie Hall, in 1997 she got $11
million for Alien Resurrection, a pay rise of 220,000%
in just 20 years, not bad -- huh?