Theresa Saldana

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Theresa Saldana
Saldana in 1981
Born (1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 61)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1978–2004
Spouse(s) Phil Peters (1989–present)
Children Tianna Peters

Theresa Saldana (born August 20, 1954) is an American actress, known for her work in motion pictures and television. She is perhaps best 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 Beatle-mania ensemble I Wanna Hold Your Hand. She also appeared in Home Movies with Kirk Douglas and Nancy Allen for director Brian De Palma in 1980. She is also known for bringing the crime of stalking to early attention after surviving a murder attempt by an obsessed fan in 1982.

Early life[edit]

Saldana was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the daughter of Divina and Tony Saldana.[1]

Stalking incident[edit]

On March 15, 1982, Saldana was the stalking victim of Arthur Richard Jackson, a 46-year-old drifter from Aberdeen, Scotland. Jackson became attracted to Saldana after seeing her in the 1980 films Defiance and Raging Bull.[2][3] He acquired 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 he bent the blade. Although there were many nearby onlookers,[3] the attack was only interrupted when delivery man Jeff Fenn heard 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/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.

Victim advocacy[edit]

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[edit]

Saldana supports awareness for The Jazz Tap Ensemble, of which her daughter is a member. The group raises money for training gifted teenaged dancers.[4][citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 I Wanna Hold Your Hand Grace Corrigan
1978 Nunzio Maryann
1980 Defiance Marsha
1980 Home Movies Judy
1980 Raging Bull Lenore
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
1990 Angel Town Maria
1999 Carlo's Wake Theresa Brock
2004 Illusion Infinity Maria
2004 Gang Warz Carmela Cruz


Year Title Role Notes
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"
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"



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