Susan Tyrrell

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Susan Tyrrell
Susan Tyrrell 1970.jpg
Publicity still for Camino Real, 1970.
Born Susan Jillian Creamer
(1945-03-18)March 18, 1945
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died June 16, 2012(2012-06-16) (aged 67)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Cause of death Essential thrombocythaemia
Resting place Cremation
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1964–2012
Notable work Fat City, Andy Warhol's Bad, Forbidden Zone, Cry-Baby
Parent(s) Gillian Tyrrell
John Belding Creamer

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, and had considerable success as a character actress. Born in San Francisco, California, Tyrrell began acting in theater in New York City in the 1960s, where she was in numerous Broadway and off Broadway productions before her film debut in 1971's Shoot Out. Her performance as Oma in John Huston's Fat City (1972) the following year 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). After nearly-eighty television and film appearances, the actress succumbed to the rare blood disease essential thrombocythemia, in 2012.

Early life[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 remarriage. Her mother was originally from the United Kingdom 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] Raised in New Canaan, Connecticut, she rebelled against her mother's expectations and received poor grades and was frequently expelled from school. As a teenager, she became estranged from her mother.[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] The actress made her television debut in Mr. Novak (1964).


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 was lured into was into Andy Warhol's circuit. In 1978, the actress earned the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in his film, Bad (1977).[7]

Later, Tyrrell starred as Queen Doris in the indie Forbidden Zone (1980), and was credited with a song ("Witch's Egg") in the film. A year later, she portrayed Vera in Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981). From 1981 to 1982, Tyrrell starred as Gretchen Feester, in ABC's short-lived situation comedy series Open All Night. She then had a starring role in the exploitation horror film Night Warning.

In 1985 Tyrrell played Solly, in the sexploitation film Angel and its sequel, Avenging Angel. Roles in the adventure film Flesh+Blood, the Vincent Price anthology horror film From a Whisper to a Scream (1987), the animated feature film The Chipmunk Adventure (1987), and Big Top Pee-wee (the 1988 sequel to 1985's Pee-wee's Big Adventure) followed.

Later, the actress had a supporting role in John Waters' Cry-Baby (1990). In 1992, she performed her own one-woman show, Susan Tyrrell: My Rotten Life, a Bitter Operetta.[8] Roles in the Tales from the Crypt episode, "Comes the Dawn" (1995); the animated series Extreme Ghostbusters (1997); and the psychological thriller film Buddy Boy (1999) followed.

More recent work includes Bob Dylan's Masked and Anonymous (2003), and The Devil's Due at Midnight (2004). Her final appearance was in the 2012 independent film 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.[9] The same year, Johnny Depp hosted a benefit at the Viper Room to help defray Tyrrell's medical bills. Megan Mullally, Jack Black and Chloe Webb were among those that attended.[10]

In 2008, the actress 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." Following her death, she was cremated and her ashes scattered. [11]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 Shoot Out Alma
1972 Fat City Oma New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, Best Supporting Actress (2nd place)
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1976 The Killer Inside Me Joyce Lakeland
1977 Andy Warhol's Bad Mary Aiken Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Best Supporting Actress
1980 The Forbidden Zone Queen Doris of the Sixth Dimension / Ruth Henderson
1981 Tales of Ordinary Madness Vera
1982 Night Warning Cheryl Roberts (Aunt Cheryl)
1983 Fire and Ice Juliana (voice)
1984 Angel Solly Mosler
1985 Avenging Angel Solly Mosler
Flesh+Blood Celine
1987 From a Whisper to a Scream Beth Chandler
The Chipmunk Adventure Claudia Furschtein (voice)
1988 Big Top Pee-wee Midge Montana
1990 Cry-Baby Ramona Rickettes
1999 Buddy Boy Sal
2012 Kid-Thing Esther (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
1964 Mr. Novak Phyllis Freuchen Episode: "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt"
1971 Bonanza Mrs. Jill Conway Episode: "Fallen Woman"
1975 Baretta Pamela/Jenny Episode: "Double Image"
1976 Starsky and Hutch Annie/Isabelle Oates Episode: "The Collector"
1978 Kojak Mary Torino Episode: "In Full Command"
1981 Open All Night Gretchen Feester 1981-82
1995 Tales from the Crypt Mona Episode: "Comes the Dawn"
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters Achira (voice) Episodes: "Darkness at Noon, Part 1", "Darkness at Noon, Part 2"

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. 


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Rimers of Eldritch Patsy Johnson Cherry Lane Theatre
1968 Cactus Flower Botticelli's Springtime [Replacement]

Toni (Understudy) [Replacement]

1969 King Lear Ensemble Broadway
Invitation to a Beheading[12] Marthe The Public Theater
A Cry of Players Jenny Broadway
The Time of Your Life Kitty Duval Broadway
1970 Camino Real Esmeralda Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center
1979 Father's Day Louise The American Place Theatre
1992 Susan Tyrrell: My Rotten Life, a Bitter Operetta The Woman n.a
1997 The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite [13] Patsy, Older Woman, Waitress Center Theatre Group

Source:"Susan Tyrrell - Broadway Theatre Credits, Photos, Who's Who - Playbill Vault". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 17 September 2015. 


  1. ^ a b Odam, Matthew. "Actress Susan Tyrell Dies at 67". Austin Movie Blog. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  2. ^ accessed 8/17/2014
  3. ^ "Susan Tyrrell biography". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d 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. ^ "S". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Simonson, Robert (19 Jun 2012). "Susan Tyrrell, Eccentric Presence of Stage and Film, Dies at 67". Playbill. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Paul Cullum (November 1, 2000). "My So-Called Rotten Life Susan Tyrrell's sentimental journey through money, fame, sex and amputation". LA Weekly. 
  10. ^ "Susan Tyrrell - Biography - IMDb". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  11. ^ Stengle, Jamie (June 19, 2012). "Susan Tyrrell Dead: Oscar Nominated Actress Dies at 67". Huffpost Celebrity. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Invitation to a Beheading". Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Long, Quincy (1999). The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite. Dramatists Play Service Inc. p. 3. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 

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