Sigourney Weaver turns 70

Journeyer

Sigourney Weaver
by David Shankbone, from Wikipedia, 2008
Given the relatively few roles of hers that I’ve actually seen, I’ve nevertheless felt as though I’ve watched Sigourney Weaver in lots of films.

The first movie she was in, I’ve viewed several times, a non-speaking part as a date for Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) in Annie Hall (1977).

Then I went to see Alien (1979). OMG. She was fierce and strong and smart, and that was very appealing. No doubt that her character, Ripley, is one of the most significant female protagonists in all of cinema. I never watched any of the sequels – there were at least three – but I’m glad I saw the original. She did reprise Ripley briefly on the TV show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee in 2019.

In Ghostbusters (1984), Sigourney held her own as Dana in the mostly male film. I saw the sequel (1989) to this, but honestly, I’m not remembering it that much.

The performer played a real person, Dian Fossey, in Gorillas in the Mist (1988), a woman studying the primates and trying to stop their decimation. She was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for this role. She’s become a supporter of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and is now its honorary chairwoman.

Sigourney is the mean boss in Working Girl (1988). I know we’re supposed to root for the Melanie Griffith character over the conniving boss stealing her ideas, but Weaver, Oscar-nominated, was such a good villain! The Golden Globes picked as best supporting actress, meaning she won BOTH GG acting awards in the same year.

I loved Dave (1993), even though the Constitutional premise is absurd. Sigourney plays the First Lady, estranged from President Bill Mitchell (Kevin Kline). The White House staff use his doppelganger Dave (Kevin Kline) to cover up the fact that Mitchell had a stroke.

My, but The Ice Storm (1997) was depressingly good at portraying suburban ennui. She won the BAFTA Award – think British Oscars – for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Sigourney played The Warden in Holes (2003), and the voice of the ship’s computer in WALL-E (2008).

I wish I had seen the performer, trained at the Yale University School of Drama, on stage. She was a 1985 Tony nominee as Best Featured Actress In A Play in Hurlyburly.

On television, she’s hosted Saturday Night Live twice; I saw the 1986 episode but not the one in 2010. I’ve heard her speak fondly about her father, the late Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., better known as Pat. He virtually pioneered the very concepts of morning and late-night television programming in creating both the Today Show (1952) and Tonight! (1953).

Sigourney and Pat went to the Academy Awards together in 1987, when she was nominated for Best Actress for Aliens; she lost to Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God.

Susan Alexandra “Sigourney” Weaver took her first name from a minor character in The Great Gatsby. My spellcheck does not like that first name, wanting to change it to Journeyer, which would also be appropriate.

She received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 1999. Sigourney Weaver turns 70 today. Read this June 2019 interview in PARADE.