Saldana in 1981
August 20, 1954|
New York, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 6, 2016
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||pneumonia|
Theresa Saldana (August 20, 1954 – June 6, 2016) was an American actress and author. She is known for her role as Rachel Scali, the wife of Police Commissioner Tony Scali, in the 1990s television series The Commish, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, in 1994. Major film roles include the part of 'Lenore La Motta', the wife of Joe Pesci's character, in the 1980 feature film Raging Bull and Robert Zemeckis's Beatlemania ensemble I Wanna Hold Your Hand. She was also known for raising public awareness of the crime of stalking, after surviving a murder attempt by an obsessed fan in 1982.
Saldana took dance lessons as a child. However, after suffering a serious shoulder injury while part of a tumbling team she enrolled in acting classes at age 12. After being spotted by a talent scout while performing in an Off Broadway musical called The New York City Street Show in 1977 she was cast in the 1978 film Nunzio.
On March 15, 1982, Saldana was the stalking victim of Arthur Richard Jackson, a 46-year-old drifter from Aberdeen. Jackson became attracted to Saldana after seeing her in the 1980 films Defiance and Raging Bull. He obtained Saldana's address by hiring a private investigator to obtain the unlisted phone number of Saldana's mother. Jackson then called Saldana's mother and posed as Martin Scorsese's assistant, saying he needed Saldana's residential address in order to contact her for replacing an actress in a film role in Europe.
Jackson approached Saldana in front of her West Hollywood residence in broad daylight and stabbed her in the torso 10 times with a 5½-inch (14 cm) knife, nearly killing her. His attack was so fierce that the blade bent. Although there were many nearby onlookers, the attack was only interrupted when delivery man Jeff Fenn intervened after hearing her cries, rushed from the second floor of an apartment building, and subdued Jackson. Saldana recovered after four hours of surgery and a four-month hospital stay at the Motion Picture Hospital. She relived the incident in the made-for-TV movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story and again in an episode of Hunter.
Jackson served almost 14 years in prison for the assault and making subsequent threats against Saldana and her rescuer while in prison. He was then extradited to the United Kingdom in 1996 to be tried for a 1966 robbery and murder. Jackson (who once saw himself as "the benevolent angel of death") was found not guilty by diminished responsibility in 1997 and committed to a British psychiatric hospital, where he died of heart failure in 2004 at age 68.
Jackson's method to find and approach Saldana inspired stalker Robert John Bardo to hire a private investigator to contact Rebecca Schaeffer, a young actress whom he subsequently murdered, also in West Hollywood, in 1989.
Following her long recovery, Saldana founded the Victims for Victims organization and participated in lobbying for the 1990 anti-stalking law and the 1994 Driver's Privacy Protection Act, both of which came into being partly as a consequence of the attack. The experience also inspired Saldana to play herself in the television movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, and she authored the book Beyond Survival, a memoir of her experiences after being attacked.
Performing arts advocacy
Saldana died at age 61 on June 6, 2016, following her hospitalization for pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Michael Chiklis, who played Saldana's husband on The Commish, wrote that it was "painful to hear the news".
|1978||I Wanna Hold Your Hand||Grace Corrigan|
|1984||Evil That Men Do, TheThe Evil That Men Do||Rhiana Hidalgo / Nancy|
|1988||Night Before, TheThe Night Before||Rhonda|
|1988||Double Revenge||Angie Corello|
|1989||Of Men and Angels||Maria|
|1999||Carlo's Wake||Theresa Brock|
|2004||Gang Warz||Carmela Cruz|
|1979||240-Robert||Rosie||Episode: "The Applicant"|
|1980||Sophia Loren: Her Own Story||Maria Scicolone||TV film|
|1981||Nurse||Rita||Episode: "The Gifts"|
|1983||Seven Brides for Seven Brothers||Angelina||Episode: "Promised Land"|
|1983||T. J. Hooker||Maria Santini||Episode: "Too Late for Love"|
|1983||American Playhouse||Episode: "Miss Lonelyhearts"|
|1985||Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone||Inez||Episode: "Dead Woman's Shoes"|
|1984||Theresa Saldana: The Theresa Saldana Story||Herself||TV Film|
|1985||Cagney & Lacey||Dr. Strathmore||Episode: "Old Ghosts"|
|1986||Simon & Simon||Mrs. Karnofsky||Episode: "Full Moon Blues"|
|1986||Matlock||Sonia Cardenas||Episode: "The Affair"|
|1986||Tales from the Darkside||Audrey Webster||Episode: "Black Widows"|
|1987||Hunter||Jennifer Hartman||Episode: "Any Second Now"|
|1987||Santa Barbara||Carlotta Quivar||Episodes 689 and 691|
|1987||CBS Schoolbreak Special||Laura Chacon||Episode: "Juvi"|
|1987||Highwayman, TheThe Highwayman||Angela Brown||TV film|
|1988||Buck James||Marta Ortiz||Episode: "Lives in the Balance"|
|1988||Falcon Crest||Pretty Woman||Episode: "False Faces"|
|1990||MacGyver||Maria||Episode: "The Treasure of Manco"|
|1990||New Kids on the Block||Rosa (voice)||Regular role (15 episodes)|
|1991–1996||Commish, TheThe Commish||Rachel Scali||Regular role (92 episodes)|
|1991||Confessions of Crime||series host|
|1993||Shameful Secrets||Rachel Morales||TV film|
|1994||Captain Planet and the Planeteers||Mame Slaughter (voice)||Episodes: "Orangu-Tangle", "Horns a'Plenty"|
|1995||Law & Order||Juror||Episode: "House Counsel"|
|1995||Jonny Quest Versus the Cyber Insects||Dr. Eve Belage (voice)||TV film|
|1996||She Woke Up Pregnant||Doris Cantore||TV film|
|1996||Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, TheThe Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||Estella Velasquez (voice)||Episode: "The Mummies of Malengue"|
|1997||Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, TheThe Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||Estella Velasquez (voice)||Episode: "The Robot Spies"|
|1997||Diagnosis: Murder||Kirsten Foxx||Episode: "In Defense of Murder"|
|1997||Nothing Sacred||Paula||Episodes: "Parents and Children", "Roman Catholic Holiday"|
|1997||All My Children||Christina Vargas||TV series|
|1998||Martial Law||Maria Hamilton||Episode: "Bad Seed"|
|1999||Thrill Seekers||Cortez||TV film|
|2000||Ready to Run||Sonja Ortiz||TV film|
|2001||Batman Beyond||Mother (voice)||Episode: "Unmasked"|
|2003||Bernie Mac Show, TheThe Bernie Mac Show||Lydia||Episode: "Maid Man"|
- "A Rising Star Lives to Shine Again After a Near Fatal Knifing". People. 8 November 1982. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Theresa Saldana Biography (1954–)". filmreference.com.
- USAToday.com Raging Bull actress Theresa Saldana dies. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- New York Times Theresa Saldana, Actress and Attack Survivor, Dies at 61. * june 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "truTV | Reality TV | Comedy". trutv.com.
- "http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/13/lkl.00.html1". cnn.com.
- "Jazz Tap Ensemble". jazztapensemble.org.
- according to her longtime friend, Soorya Townley
- Cavassuto, Maria (June 7, 2016). "Theresa Saldana, Raging Bull and The Commish Star, Dies at 61". Variety. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Theresa Saldana.|