Susan Tyrrell Biography

Home > Celebrity > S > Susan Tyrrell > Biography

Birth Name: Susan Tyrrell
Born: 03/18/1945
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA
Died: 06/17/2012

Flinty blonde actress Susan Tyrell specialized in spangly, trashy 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 females, like the loose woman discarded by Gene Hackman in "Zandy's Bride" (1974) and George C Scott's mistress in "Islands in the Stream" (1976). Capitalizing on these qualities, she played Carroll Baker's sloppy daughter-in-law in "Andy Warhol's Bad" (1976) and an unabashed 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.