Susan Tyrrell


Actor
Susan Tyrrell

About

Also Known As
Susan Jillian Creamer
Birth Place
San Francisco, California, USA
Born
March 18, 1945
Died
June 17, 2012
Cause of Death
Undetermined

Biography

Flinty blonde actress Susan Tyrell specialized in spangly film femmes since she made her screen debut in "Shoot Out" (1971). Ironically, Susan Tyrrell began her career as a teenager playing the ingénue in the stage comedy "Time Out for Ginger" opposite Art Carney. After settling in New York City, however, she began to excel at playing women of questionable virtue in stage productions lik...

Biography

Flinty blonde actress Susan Tyrell specialized in spangly film femmes since she made her screen debut in "Shoot Out" (1971). Ironically, Susan Tyrrell began her career as a teenager playing the ingénue in the stage comedy "Time Out for Ginger" opposite Art Carney. After settling in New York City, however, she began to excel at playing women of questionable virtue in stage productions like "The Time of Your Life" and "Camino Real." In John Huston's "Fat City" (1972), Tyrrell offered a brilliant characterization of an alcoholic involved in an interracial romance, for which she won a richly deserved Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Like many female actors, however, she found good roles were few and far between as the years went by. Tyrrell was relegated to portraying hardened women, like George C. Scott's mistress in "Islands in the Stream" (1976). Capitalizing on these qualities, she played Carroll Baker's daughter-in-law in "Andy Warhol's Bad" (1976) and a lesbian apartment building manager in "Angel" (1984) and its sequel "Avenging Angel" (1985). She was delightful as Johnny Depp's acid-breathing grandmother with a soft spot for a bad kid in John Waters' "Cry Baby" (1990). Her performances as motorchicks or 1950s-style moms in films that were either self-consciously campy - like her turn as Midge in "Big Top Pee-Wee" (1988) - or so delirious that they descended into camp, as in "Rockula" (1990). Much of her small screen work was in a similar vein like her performance as a prisoner in "Willow B: Women in Prison" (ABC, 1980) and the lady of the evening who engages in fisticuffs with Elizabeth Taylor's "Poker Alice" (CBS, 1987). The beloved character actress passed away on June 18, 2012.

Life Events

1962

Won lead role in the touring company of "Time Out for Ginger", co-starring Art Carney; profiled by <i>LOOK</i> magazine

1969

Worked off-Broadway and in Lincoln Center productions, frequently cast as trollops and fallen women in such plays as "Camino Real" and "The Time of Your Life"

1971

Made feature film debut in "The Steagle"

1972

Landed breakthrough film role in "Fat City," directed by John Huston; received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as the blowsy alcoholic involved in an interracial romance

1973

Co-starred in "Catch My Soul," a musical based on Shakespeare's "Othello"

1978

Made TV debut in the NBC movie "Lady of the House"

1979

Co-starred in the Broadway play "Father's Day"; opened and closed on the same night

1980

Appeared with Anne Archer in "A Couple of White Chicks Sitting Around Talking"

1981

Series debut as a regular, played George Dzundza's wife on the ABC sitcom "Open All Night"

1983

Provided character voices for the animated feature "Fire and Ice"

1984

Cast as the lesbian landlady to the titular "Angel," a teenaged hooker played by Donna Wilkes

1985

Acted in the ABC crime drama "MacGruder and Loud"

1985

Reprised her role as the lesbian landlady in the sequel "Avenging Angel"

1986

Starred in the acclaimed L.A. production of Tom Eyen's "Why Hanna's Skirt Won't Stay Down" staged by Ron Link

1987

Appeared opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the CBS movie "Poker Alice"

1988

Co-starred in CBS miniseries "Sidney Sheldon's Windmills of the Gods"

1988

Played Midge Montana in the comedy sequel "Big Top Pee-wee"

1990

Played the title character's (Johnny Depp) grandmother in "Cry-Baby," written and directed by John Waters

1991

Wrote and performed the one-woman show "My Rotten Life"

1995

Co-starred in HBO original film "Comes the Dawn"

1997

Voiced the character Achira on the syndicated animated series "Extreme Ghostbusters"

1998

Stared in the L.A. premiere of Martin Sherman's play "A Table for a King"

1999

Acted in the psychological thriller "Buddy Boy"

1999

Made cameo as the mother of a lesbian in "Relax, It's Just Sex"

2003

Cast as Ella the Fortune Teller in Larry Charles' "Masked and Anonymous"

Bibliography