Susan Sarandon booking

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As well known for her political activism as for her varied screen roles, actress Susan Sarandon defied being stereotyped in both her career and her personal life. The former Ford model, often playing seductive older women, demonstrated throughout her career considerable range and fearlessness, excelling equally as devoted mother and sultry screen siren. Though her film debut was in 1970, Sarandon made her first measurable impression as the wide-eyed, WASP-ish ingenue in the long-running “Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1975, then achieved critical acclaim and an Oscar nod as a casino worker run afoul with the mob in “Atlantic City.” But it was her performance as the sexy baseball groupie in “Bull Durham” that propelled her to stardom. What followed was a string of Oscar-nominated roles in “Thelma & Louise,” “Lorenzo’s Oil” and “The Client” that paved the way for Academy Award gold with a strong, dignified performance as a Catholic nun fighting for the redemption of a death row inmate (Sean Penn) in “Dead Man Walking.”

Born Oct. 4, 1946 in Jackson Heights, NY, Sarandon was raised the oldest of 10 siblings by Phillip, a nightclub singer during the big band era who later became an advertising executive, and Lenora, a homemaker. She was a quiet, shy child who grew up in suburban Metuchen, NJ, where she attended Edison High School in nearby Edison. After graduation in 1964, she went to Catholic University in Washington, D.C. In 1967, she married her first husband, Chris Sarandon, whom she had met at Catholic University. Shortly after getting married, Sarandon followed her husband to New York City, where he auditioned for an agent. On a whim, he brought Sarandon into the room with him in order to have a friendly face to read to — the agent came away impressed with both actors and signed both as his clients. Less than a week later, Sarandon was sent to read for a leading role in “J,” playing a drugged-out hippie thrown into a mental institution after her father guns down her dealer boyfriend, who then teams up with a gun-crazed bigot to track her down in Greenwich Village after she escapes.

Despite stumbling upon an acting career, Sarandon took to her newfound calling with abandon, though not without its initial difficulties. She appeared in several smaller features roles before turning to television with a regular role as Sara Fairbanks on “Search for Tomorrow.” After landing more substantial parts with bigger names, Sarandon made herself known when she starred in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the cult classic that survived for decades with successive midnight showings that created a subculture of freaks and geeks dressing like the characters and acting out scenes in the theater. Sarandon was Janet, one half of a WASP-ish couple who stumble upon a mansion occupied by a motley crew of Transylvanian weirdos led by Dr. Frank N. Furter, a transvestite claiming to be from another planet.

Around the time she had a co-starring role in the Robert Redford film “The Great Waldo Pepper,” Sarandon and her husband, Chris, divorced. But her career continued unabated. She appeared in “Dragonfly,” then followed with a small supporting role in the goofy road comedy “The Great Smokey Roadblock.” Following turns in “Crash” and “The Other Side of Midnight,” she played a New Orleans prostitute at the turn of the century whose 12-year-old daughter, Violet, attracts the attention of a photographer shooting a photo series on prostitutes in the controversial “Pretty Baby,” directed by her then-companion, Louis Malle. She was directed by Malle in “Atlantic City,” the crime drama that finally turned her into a star. Sarandon’s exceptional turn earned her an Oscar nod for Best Actress.

After co-starring in a contemporary telling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” she played a premature aging expert who gets sucked into the blood-thirsty seduction of a vampire in “The Hunger.” Sarandon then found prominent work on television, starring in movies-of-the-week like “A.D.” and “Women of Valor,” before getting back on track in features in “The Witches of Eastwick.” She then starred in “Bull Durham,” deftly playing Annie Savoy, a sultry groupie to a minor league baseball team who takes in a member of the hapless Durham Bulls as her lover every season. She decides to have an affair with a young, but dumb pitcher, Nuke LaLoosh, only to find herself falling for his mentor, aging catcher, Crash Davis.
Thanks to “Bull Durham,” Sarandon found herself in demand like never before and with a new man in her life, in the form of co-star Tim Robbins. Meanwhile, she starred in “Sweet Hearts Dance,” and then opposite heavy hitters Marlon Brando and Donald Sutherland in the political drama about South African apartheid, “A Dry White Season.” All throughout the 1980s, Sarandon — who had always been politically active — increased her public advocacy of progressive ideals, including traveling as part of a delegation to Nicaragua in 1983 to promote social and economic justice, and making contributions to EMILY’s List, a political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice Democrats. As she wore her political activism on her sleeve, Sarandon’s career continued its ascent, as did Robbins’ — who was equally politically outspoken. After starring in the offbeat cop thriller “The January Man” and the steamy May-December romantic drama “White Palace,” Sarandon left an indelible mark on cinema history with “Thelma & Louise.” For her portrayal, Sarandon earned her second Academy Award nomination.

Fresh off her triumph with “Thelma & Louise,” Sarandon made cameo appearances as a news anchor in Tim Robbins’ political satire “Bob Roberts,” and herself in Robert Altman’s “The Player,” before giving a powerful and heartbreaking performance in “Lorenzo’s Oil” as a mom who, along with her dedicated husband, desperately tries to find a cure for their son’s supposedly incurable ALD, a debilitating and fatal nerve disease. Sarandon earned her third Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actress. She followed with another award-worthy performance in “The Client.” Once again, Sarandon found herself the recipient of an Oscar nomination for Best Leading Actress. After narrating the documentary short, “School of Assassins,” she gave fine performances as a mother raising her four daughters during the Civil War in “Little Women” and as another mother raising seven sons in the family dramedy “Safe Passage.”

Sarandon then played an anti-death penalty crusader Sister Helen Prejean in “Dead Man Walking.” Both audiences and critics responded enthusiastically to her unrelentingly dignified performance, finally leading to an Oscar win for the Best Leading Actress. Meanwhile, after voicing the seductive Polish spider in the animated “James and the Giant Peach,” Sarandon easily slipped back into her femme fatale persona for Robert Benton’s “Twilight” before giving another tough, but endearing performance as a mother struggling with raising her kids while fighting cancer in “Stepmom.” Following a starring role as a mother who packs everything and moves with her daughter to Beverly Hills in search of a new life in “Anywhere But Here,” Sarandon joined a large ensemble cast for Robbins’ third directing effort, “Cradle Will Rock.”

In 1999, Sarandon was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a position traditionally given to celebrities in order to draw attention to the plight of impoverished children around the world. After playing a supporting role as Greenwich Village painter Alice Neel in “J Gould’s Secret,” Sarandon voiced a pair of animated features — “Rugrats in Paris: The Movie” and “Cats & Dogs.” In 2001, a rare sitcom performance as a soap opera diva on “Friends” led to an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She then appeared in films like “The Banger Sisters,” “Igby Goes Down” and “Moonlight Mile.” Back on television, she appeared in the elaborate TV adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic “Children of Dune.”

Back on the big screen, Sarandon played Richard Gere’s wife in “Shall We Dance?” That same year, she appeared in the remake of “Alfie,” playing Liz. It was then back to the small screen for the telepic “The Exonerated,” the story of six wrongly convicted people whose death row sentences were eventually overturned through the hard work of dedicated lawyers. Sarandon then co-starred in Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown.”

Sarandon had a recurring role on “Rescue Me,” playing a wealthy Manhattanite who starts a relationship with Franco, only to steal his daughter from him so she can have a better life. After appearing in the low-budget “Romance and Cigarettes,” Sarandon landed a pair of big studio movies — “Mr. Woodcock” in Disney’s “Enchanted.” She gave a great performance in “In the Valley of Elah” as a mother whose former military husband spearheads an investigation into the sudden disappearance of their son after he returns from fighting in Iraq.

Sarandon then had a superficial role as Mom Race in “Speed Racer” and then gave a compelling performance as tobacco millionaire, philanthropist and avid socialite Doris Duke, who controversially willed her entire fortune to her butler, Bernard Lafferty, in the television movie “Bernard and Doris.” Sarandon earned an eighth Golden Globe nomination; this time receiving a nod for Best Actress in the miniseries or television movie category. Meanwhile, after a 30-year absence, Sarandon returned to Broadway to play the elder ex-wife of a dying monarch in Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist drama, “Le Roi se meurt (Exit the King).” Back on the big screen, she was the grandmother of a murdered girl who watches over her distressed family from heaven in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of “The Lovely Bones.” Prior to her supporting role as the mother of twin sons in Tim Blake Nelson’s “Leaves of Grass,” Sarandon portrayed Hemlock Society activist Janet Good in “You Don’t Know Jack,” director Barry Levinson’s acclaimed biopic about the notorious right-to-life physician Jack Kevorkian. Her performance earned Sarandon Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.

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