Susan Tyrrell

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Susan Tyrrell
Susan Tyrrell 1970.jpg
Studio publicity photo
Born Susan Jillian Creamer
(1945-03-18)March 18, 1945
San Francisco, California, USA
Died June 16, 2012(2012-06-16) (aged 67)
Austin, Texas, USA
Cause of death
Essential thrombocythaemia
Resting place
Cremated
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1964–2012
Notable work(s) Andy Warhol's Bad, Cry-Baby, Fat City, Forbidden Zone, Tales of Ordinary Madness
Parents Gillian Tyrrell
John Belding Creamer
Website
Facebook page

Susan Tyrrell (born Susan Jillian Creamer; March 18, 1945 – June 16, 2012),[1] was an American actress who appeared in dozens of film, stage and television productions over a forty-year career. Her performance as Oma in John Huston's Fat City (1972) earned her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1978, Tyrrell received the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Andy Warhol's Bad (1977). Consisting of nearly 80 film and television credits, her work includes Forbidden Zone (1980), Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981), Night Warning (1982), Angel (1984) and its sequel, Avenging Angel (1985) and Cry-Baby (1990).

Early life and career[edit]

Tyrrell was born in San Francisco, California to Gillian (née Tyrrell 1913-2012);[2] and John Creamer, who divorced. She had two sisters, Candace and Carole, and a half-brother, Peter from her father's re-marriage. Her mother was from England and remarried to Thomas Hoyt; she was a socialite and member of the diplomatic corps in China and the Philippines during the 1930s and 1940s. Her father John was an agent with the William Morris Agency for Leo Carrillo, Loretta Young, Ed Wynn and Carole Lombard.[3] Tyrrell was raised in New Canaan, Connecticut; rebelling against her mother's expectations, she received poor grades and was frequently expelled from school. As a teenager, she became estranged from Gillian.[4] Tyrrell landed her first role through her father, starring with Art Carney in the New York City theatrical production of Time Out for Ginger (1963);[5][6] Although John persuaded Look magazine to follow her as she toured with the show, he died shortly afterwards from a reaction to a bee sting.[4] Tyrrell made her Broadway debut in 1965 as a replacement in the comedy Cactus Flower.[4] As a member of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center, she was in the ensemble of a 1968 production of King Lear and revivals of The Time of Your Life (1969) and Camino Real (1970). Off-Broadway, Tyrrell appeared in the 1967 premiere of Lanford Wilson's The Rimers of Eldritch and a 1979 production of Father's Day at The American Place Theatre.[4]

After this, the actress was typecast as a prostitute, alcoholic or sexpot.[4] Tyrrell made her television debut in Mr. Novak (1964) as a student accused of murdering her parents.

Career[edit]

1970s[edit]

After the actress' film debut in Shoot Out (1971), her performance as Oma in John Huston's Fat City earned her a 1972 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Tyrrell recalled in a 2000 interview how the 66-year-old director prepared her for the role by taking her on an alcohol-fuelled tour of northern California, during which Huston employed the casting couch: "I can't describe to you how horrible it was. Goddamn bastard. I still hate him."[7]

Despite an Academy Award-nominated role, finding steady work was difficult:

"It was hell, I couldn't even get a job as a bad lady. I went up for bad lady parts and they’d say, 'You're too beautiful now. We thought you were a bad lady from Fat City'. Then I’d go up for beautiful parts and they’d say, 'You’re not beautiful enough'."[8]

Tyrrell's next role was Emilia in Patrick McGoohan's Catch My Soul (1974), a film loosely based on Shakespeare's Othello. Other roles included a local woman in Jan Troell's Zandy's Bride (1974) and a sadomasochistic prostitute in Burt Kennedy's The Killer Inside Me (1976), a film adaptation of Jim Thompson's 1952 novel of the same name. In 1977 Tyrrell played warmhearted prostitute Lil in Franklin J. Schaffner's Islands in the Stream, an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's 1970 novel. That year, her performance in Andy Warhol's Bad earned her the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.[9] This was followed by roles as an institutionalized woman in Anthony Page's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977), a film based on the Joanne Greenberg novel; Lisa Blount's scandalous mother in James Bridges' September 30, 1955 (1977) and a teacher in Claude Lelouch's Another Man, Another Chance (1977).

1980s[edit]

Tyrrell played the lewd Queen Doris in Richard Elfman's low-budget indie Forbidden Zone (1980), and was credited with a song ("Witch's Egg") in the film; its soundtrack was composed primarily by Elfman's younger brother Danny and his band, Oingo Boingo. Other roles included an incarcerated woman in the made-for-television film Willow B: Women in Prison (1980), a police officer's drug-addicted wife in Subway Riders (1981) and the provocative, offensive Vera in Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981). From 1981 to 1982, Tyrrell starred as an eccentric wife in ABC's short-lived situation comedy series Open All Night. She then played a woman harboring incestuous fantasies about her nephew in the exploitation horror film Night Warning (1982) and the madam of a local brothel in the prison drama Fast-Walking (1982).

In 1985 Tyrrell played Solly, a tough, foul-mouthed lesbian, in the sexploitation film Angel and its sequel, Avenging Angel. In the first film Solly sparred with co-star Dick Shawn over a game of cribbage; in the sequel, Solly acted as a den mother to a group of transvestite prostitutes and raised an abandoned baby. Roles as a pregnant prostitute in Paul Verhoeven's adventure film Flesh+Blood, a reporter in the Vincent Price anthology horror film From a Whisper to a Scream (1985) and a circus owner's extremely-small wife in Big Top Pee-wee (the 1988 sequel to 1985's Pee-wee's Big Adventure) followed.

1990s[edit]

The actress played the title character's grandmother in John Waters' Cry-Baby (1990); a lesbian vampire biker in the Tales from the Crypt episode, "Comes the Dawn" (1995); the voice of the disease-spreading ghost Achira in the two-part opening of Extreme Ghostbusters (1997); a hunted mayor of a futuristic city in the direct-to-video film The Demolitionist (1995); the mother of a lesbian daughter in the ensemble film Relax...It's Just Sex (1998), and an alcoholic mother in the psychological thriller film Buddy Boy (1999).

2000s[edit]

Later roles included a fortune teller in Bob Dylan's Masked and Anonymous (2003) and a high priestess in The Devil's Due at Midnight (2004). Tyrrell's final role (2012) was a woman trapped in a well in Nathan and David Zellner's Kid-Thing.

Personal life[edit]

In early 2000, Tyrrell lost both legs below the knees as a result of blood clots from the rare blood disease essential thrombocythemia.[10] In 2008 she moved to Austin, Texas to be closer to her niece, Amy Sweet, and died there on June 16, 2012.[1] According to Sweet, Tyrrell kept a journal; a January 2012 entry read, "I demand my death be joyful and I never return again."[11]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1971 Shoot Out Alma
1972 Fat City Oma See awards section
1974 Catch My Soul Emilia
Zandy's Bride Maria Cordova
1976 The Killer Inside Me Joyce Lakeland
1977 Islands in the Stream Lil
Andy Warhol's Bad Mary Aiken See awards section
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Lee
September 30, 1955 Melba Lou
Another Man, Another Chance Alice
1980 The Forbidden Zone Queen Doris of the Sixth Dimension
1981 Subway Riders Eleanor Langley
Tales of Ordinary Madness Vera
Open All Night (TV series) Gretchen Feester
1982 Night Warning Aunt Cheryl
Fast-Walking Evie
1984 Angel Solly
1985 Avenging Angel Solly
Flesh+Blood Celine
1987 From a Whisper to a Scream Beth
1988 Big Top Pee-Wee Midge Montana
1990 Cry-Baby Ramona
1995 The Demolitionist Mayor Eleanor Grimbaum Direct-to-video
1999 Buddy Boy Sal
2003 Masked and Anonymous Ella
2012 The Devil's Due at Midnight High Priestess
Kid-Thing Esther

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1964 Mr. Novak (TV series) Phyllis Freuchen Episode: "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"
1995 Tales from the Crypt (TV series) Mona Episode: "Comes the Dawn"
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters (animated TV series) Achira (voice) Episodes: "Darkness at Noon, Part 1", "Darkness at Noon, Part 2"

Source:"Susan Tyrrell". IMDB. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Category Result
1973 Fat City NSFC Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Fat City NYFCC Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Fat City Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1978 Andy Warhol's Bad Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Won

Source:"Susan Tyrrell". IMDB. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Odam, Matthew. "Actress Susan Tyrell Dies at 67". Austin Movie Blog. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  2. ^ http://www.salemnews.com/obituaries/x1951914371/Gillian-Tyrrell-Hoyt-100 accessed 8/17/2014
  3. ^ "Susan Tyrrell - Biography - IMDb". IMDB.com. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Simonson, Robert (19 Jun 2012). "Susan Tyrrell, Eccentric Presence of Stage and Film, Dies at 67". Playbill. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Adams Sloan, Robin (Oct 2, 1972). "Susan Tyrrell, Electric Actress". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  6. ^ McLellan, Dennis (June 20, 2012). "Susan Tyrrell dies at 67; actress an Oscar nominee for 'Fat City'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Susan Tyrrell". The Daily Telegraph (London). August 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ Musto, Michael (June 19, 2012). "Susan Tyrrell: "I Don't Like Watching My Tits Fall"". The Village Voice. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "S". IMDB.com. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Paul Cullum (November 1, 2000). "My So-Called Rotten Life Susan Tyrrell's sentimental journey through money, fame, sex and amputation". LA Weekly. 
  11. ^ Stengle, Jamie (June 19, 2012). "Susan Tyrrell Dead: Oscar Nominated Actress Dies at 67". Huffpost Celebrity. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 

External links[edit]