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Women’s History NJ: Susan Sarandon

Actress Susan Abagail Tomalin (now Susan Sarandon) was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York on October 4, 1946. She is the oldest child of five girls and four boys. Her father, Phillip, worked as a television producer and advertising executive in the city. When Sarandon was young, her family relocated to Edison, NJ where she grew up.

After graduating from Edison High School in 1964, she enrolled at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama in 1968. While in college, she met Chris Sarandon; the two wed in 1967, though they eventually divorced 12 years later.

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Early Career

Women's History NJ: Susan SarandonIn 1969, Sarandon put her acting skills to the test and attended a casting call for a dramatic motion picture. The following year, she made her big screen debut in that same film, entitled Joe. For the next few years, she played minor roles on soap operas and other television series and movies; then, in 1975, she was cast as Janet Weiss in the cult classic film, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This year was huge for Sarandon, as she also starred alongside Robert Redford in the adventure film, The Great Waldo Pepper.

It wasn’t until 1982 when Susan Sarandon earned her first Academy Award nomination for her role in Atlantic City. She went on to receive four other Academy Award nominations before finally winning Best Actress in a Leading Role; she won for her depiction of Sister Helen Prejean in the 1995 crime drama, Dead Man Walking. Sarandon has also starred in a number of award-winning films, including Thelma & Louise, The Client and White Palace.

Though Sarandon has relished a prolific acting career, she is also recognized as an activist in Hollywood. For the past few decades, Sarandon has spent much of her time donating, working with a number of different charitable organizations, and expressing support for a variety of human rights causes. (She often documents her work on Facebook and Instagram.) She even received the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in 2006 and has also worked as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and an advocate for starving families within our nation and abroad.

Current Projects

While Sarandon is active in the world of charity today, she also continues to act, starring and playing guest roles on a number of television shows and feature films, like Feud: Bette and Joan and The Lovely Bones.
Women's History NJ: Susan Sarandon
Sarandon currently has three children. Her first was a daughter with writer Franco Amurri; later, she had two sons with actor Tim Robbins, who she was with from 1986 to 2009. Though they are not quite similar in appearance, Susan Sarandon has stated she is often mistaken for Sigourney Weaver; of course, the latter famously portrayed Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise. While accepting an award at the Glamour 2016 Women of the Year event, she took the opportunity to make it clear that they are not the same person.

Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Sillygoosefilms / Wikimedia Commons
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
GabboT / via Wikimedia Commons
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