Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon

Over the last four decades, Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon has pulled off just about every role available, from seriously smart to sexy comedy.

In her latest movie, The Lovely Bones, the 63-year old screen veteran is entering new acting territory as she assumes the role of a grandma. FemaleFirst decided to look back at the incredible career of Susan Sarandon.

Born in New York in 1946 to parents of Welsh, Irish, English and Italian (Sicilian) ancestry; she was the eldest of nine children. Following her father's lead as a performer she graduated from The Catholic University of America in 1968 with a BA in Drama.

Susan landed her first film role at 21 when her then-husband Chris Sarandon took her along to one of his auditions. He was rejected but Susan scored a major role in the 1970 film, Joe. The demanding role centred on a film heavily involving the seedy issues of murder, drugs, bigotry and guns.

After a brief stint in US soap opera A World Apart, Susan completely revolutionised her acting style when five years later she made The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), as the naïve, virtuous yet easily corrupted Janet. She sang in the cult comedy classic and cemented her place as a flexible actress, capable of making us laugh too.

A leading female role opposite Robert Redford in The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) and one box office flop later (Hunger: 1983) Susan made a breakthrough in 1988 film Bull Durham, a film which achieved huge commercial success but also saw Susan find love with co-actor Tim Robbins twelve years her junior.

Together they had two children (Susan's second and third child after having given birth to a girl in 1985 with previous partner, Franco Amurri) and refused to marry but were still considered one of Hollywood's strongest couples until late 2009 when they ended their 21 year relationship.

Since her Bull Durham success, Sarandon has worked consistently in film and TV and her career has been acknowledged with five Academy Oscar Award nominations for best actress, finally winning in 1995 for her role in Dead Man Walking. She keeps the Oscar in her bathroom.

Her other films include the likes of Thelma and Louise (1991), Cradle will Rock (1999) Elizabethtown (2005) and Enchanted (2007) amongst others. Susan recorded a duet for Cradle Will Rock with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder which appeared on the end credits.

Susan once said: "I feel I've always been on the outside and always on the edge of an abyss. The women I portray, and the woman I am, are ordinary but maybe find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances, and what they do is at great cost."

Susan is staunchly Liberal and is also widely recognised for her social and political activism. She was once arrested for disorderly conduct during a protest in New York over the unarmed shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo by four policemen in 1999.

The same year she was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Embassador and has actively supported the organisations global advocacy.

Susan remains a star on the screen and has matured with grace, being awarded one of the 50 most beautiful in the world by leading US magazine People Magazine - USA.

Her role in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, adapted from the book of the same name, is set to be a striking character as she plays the eccentric alcoholic, Grandma Lynn.

FemaleFirst - Carla Pearce