MOTW: Susan Sarandon: Acclaimed Actress and Activist

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
October 24th, 2013

MOTW: Susan Sarandon: Acclaimed Actress and Activist

Actress Susan Sarandon has starred in over a hundred film and television roles since beginning her career in 1969. A noted activist, she has championed a number of progressive causes ranging from human rights to economic issues. She was honored by being selected to carry the Olympic flag for the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. Daughter Eva Amurri has appeared in such films as 2004's "Saved!" and 2007's "The Education of Charlie Banks," as well as alongside her mother in "The Banger Sisters."

Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in 1946 in Queens, New York. She attended the Catholic University of America from 1964 until 1968, and it was there that she began dating actor Christopher Sarandon. The couple was married in 1967. Just two years later, she would land her first film role. While attending a casting call for the 1969 film "Joe," she was awarded a major part in the film. The role launched what would become a long and successful acting career. Over forty years later, Sarandon continues to enjoy a degree of professional and personal success that only a few of her fellow performers and Hollywood peers have been able to achieve.

Sarandon's early career consisted of a number of daytime television appearances and parts in a handful of lesser-known films. In 1975, she landed the role of Janet in the cult classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." She continued to work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood throughout the decade. She earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in 1980's "Atlantic City." Following a divorce in 1979, the actress chose to retain her screen name. After dating Italian filmmaker Franco Amurri, she gave birth to her first child in 1985.

Sarandon continued to star opposite legendary Hollywood stars such as Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando through the 1980s. Sarandon had many notable performances in movies such as "Bull Durham" and "The Witches of Eastwick." The '90s found the actress enjoying even greater success. She had three additional Academy Award nominations for "Thelma & Louise," "Lorenzo's Oil," and "The Client." In 1995, Susan Sarandon won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Dead Man Walking."

In 1988, the actress began a relationship with costar Tim Robbins while filming "Bull Durham." The couple's shared Welsh genealogy was explored in 2006 by the BBC documentary "Coming Home: Susan Sarandon." The couple had two sons, Jack Henry and Miles Guthrie, before their divorce in 2009. Notable for her many professional achievements and a career spanning over four decades, Sarandon has achieved a degree of fame that has cemented her place as Hollywood royalty.

In addition to her work in the film industry, Sarandon has a long history of political activism. Her early efforts date back to her involvement in a 1983 MADRE initiative to bring greater international attention to events in Nicaragua. She was also co-chair of theNational Steering Committee for Ralph Nader's presidential campaign in 2000, and she lent support to John Kerry in 2004. Sarandon adopted a high-profile anti-war stance that was shared with her then husband Tim Robbins.

Sarandon's own brand of activism has allowed her to lend her fame and recognition to a variety of causes. From a 2006 Mother's Day appearance opposite celebrated anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan to protesting the budget repair bill of Governor Scott Walker, Sarandon has managed to promote a number of social and political causes. In 2006, she was the recipient of the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award. She was also named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a spokesperson for Heifer International.

Susan Sarandon's long and celebrated film career has made her a household name. She has managed to achieve a degree of international fame shared by few other performers, and her contributions to so many well-known political activist campaigns have allowed her to use her fame to promote a number of social issues. Her work has established her position as one of the top actresses in Hollywood. With roles in upcoming films such as "Ping Pong Summer" and "The Calling," Sarandon shows no sign of slowing down in the years to come.