Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver in The TV Set

Sigourney Weaver in “The TV Set”

If given the chance, Sigourney Weaver would love to make people laugh. She comes from a family of entertainers, and Sigourney herself took up acting following college at Stanford and law school at Harvard – she studied drama at Yale School of Drama. And then at some point, she was handed the reins of Queen of the Sci-Fi, as if her talent was limited to battling aliens. But what she really loves is comedy, and even in her most serious parts she seems she’s always in on the joke. Still, it’s to her credit she is a convincing badass – you know she can beat you up, and have a good time doing it.

Her first major movie appearance was in a comedy (a Best Picture at that): Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.” She’s Alvy Singer’s date at the end outside a movie theatre. The very brief cameo was enough for others to take notice, and within two years on the cusp of 30, Sigourney Weaver was cast as Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” Three years later she’d be Mel Gibson’s love interest in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” followed by her turn as possessed Dana Barrett in “Ghostbusters.” It was brilliant casting, culling comedic talent with the heroine of “Alien” into a perfect mesh of comedy and sci-fi. The cast would reunite in 1989 with “Ghostbusters II.” “Aliens” in brought Sigourney her first Oscar nomination in her reprisal of Ellen Ripley, and in 1988 she’d be nominated twice, as Best Supporting Actress in “Working Girl” and as the lead in “Gorillas in the Mist.”

In the latter part of her career, Sigourney has been able to do comedy more often, as in “Galaxy Quest” and “Heartbreakers,” and it seemed like a natural progression of an impressive career. Through it all, she is the undisputed Sci-Fi Queen – which will have its ultimate test in 2009 when she appears in James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

Sigourney on the Screen

It all started for Sigourney on the big screen as Woody Allen’s date in “Annie Hall.” The Israeli film “Madman” with F. Murray Abraham follows in 1978. Sigourney exploded in her born-to-play Ellen Ripley in “Alien.” The thriller “Eyewitness” follows in 1981, with Sigourney opposite Christopher Plummer and William Hurt. The Australian film by Peter Weir, “The Year of Living Dangerously,” featured Sigourney staring longingly into Mel Gibson’s eyes, she’s Mrs. DeVoto alongside Chevy Chase in the comedy “Deal of the Century” in 1983, there’s “Ghostbusters” a year later, “Aliens” in 1986, a breakout year in 1988 with “Working Girl” and “Gorillas in the Mist,” and the third “Alien” in 1992. She’s Queen Isabella in “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (her second teaming with Sir Ridley Scott), the comedy “Dave,” Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm” in 1997, “Alien: Resurrection” the same year, and the comedies “Galaxy Quest” and “Heartbreakers” in 2001. More recently she’s appeared in Shyamalan’s “The Village,” the Truman Capote movie “Infamous,” the animated fairy tale “Happily N’Ever After,” and Jake Kasdan’s “The TV Set.”

Sigourney on Video

Sigourney Weaver on “Aliens”
Sigourney discusses her iconic role.

Sigourney Says

On playing Ripley:
“I’m no Ripley. I had doubts that I could play her as strongly as she had to be played, but I must say that it was fun exploring that side of myself. Women don’t get to do that very often.”