Tuesday Weld - Actors and Actresses

Nationality: American. Born: Susan Ker Weld in New York City, 27 August 1943. Education: Attended public school in Fort Lauderdale, two years, and at various schools in New York, including the Professional Children's School. Family: Married 1) Claude Harz, 1965 (divorced 1971), daughter: Natasha; 2) the actor Dudley Moore, 1975 (divorced 1980), son: Patrick; 3) the musician Pinchas Zuckerman, 1985. Career: Fashion and catalog model from age three; also television actress; 1956—film debut in Rock, Rock, Rock , followed by a series of teenage films; 1959–60—in TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis . Address: P.O. Box 367, Valley Stream, NY 11582, U.S.A.

Films as Actress:


Rock, Rock, Rock (Price) (as Dori); The Wrong Man (Hitchcock) (as giggly girl)


Rally 'round the Flag, Boys! (McCarey) (as Comfort Goodpasture)


The Five Pennies (Shavelson) (as Dorothy Nichols, age 12 to 14)


Because They're Young (Wendkos) (as Anne); High Time (Edwards) (as Joy Elder); Sex Kittens Go to College ( Beauty and the Robot ) (Zugsmith) (as Jody)


The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (Zugsmith and Rooney) (as Vangie Harper); Return to Peyton Place (Ferrer) (as Selena Cross); Wild in the Country (Dunne) (as Noreen); Bachelor Flat (Tashlin) (as Libby Bushmill)


Soldier in the Rain (Ralph Nelson) (as Bobby Jo Pepperdine)


The Cincinnati Kid (Jewison) (as Christian); I'll Take Sweden (de Cordova) (as JoJo Holcomb)


Lord Love a Duck (Axelrod) (as Barbara Ann Greene)


Pretty Poison (Black) (as Sue Ann Stepanek)


I Walk the Line (Frankenheimer) (as Alma McCain)


A Safe Place (Jaglom) (as Susan/Noah)


Play It as It Lays (Perry) (as Maria Wyeth)


Reflections of Murder (Badham—for TV) (as Vicky)


F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood (Page—for TV)


Looking for Mr. Goodbar (Richard Brooks) (as Katherine Dunn)


Who'll Stop the Rain ( The Dog Soldiers ) (Reisz) (as Marge Converse); A Question of Guilt (Robert Butler—for TV)


Mother and Daughter: The Loving War (Brinckerhoff—for TV); Serial (Persky) (as Kate)


Madame X (Miller—for TV) (title role/Holly Richardson); Thief ( Violent Streets ) (Michael Mann) (as Jessie)


Author! Author! (Hiller) (as Gloria); The Rainmaker (for TV) (as Lizzie)


The Winter of Our Discontent (Hussein—for TV)


Once upon a Time in America (Leone) (as Carol); Scorned and Swindled (Wendkos—for TV)


Circle of Violence: A Family Drama (David Greene—for TV) (as Georgia Benfield); Something in Common (Glenn Jordan—for TV) (as Shelly Grant)


Heartbreak Hotel (Columbus) (as Marie Wolfe)


Falling Down (Schumacher) (as Mrs. Prendergast)


Feeling Minnesota (Baigleman) (as Norma Clayton)


By WELD: articles—

"Stormy Tuesday," interview with Lucy Saroyan, in Interview (New York), October 1988.

Interview with Henry Cabot Beck, in Interview (New York), March 1993.

On WELD: books—

Sinclair, Marianne, Hollywood Lolita: The Nymphet Syndrome in the Movies , London, 1988.

Conner, Floyd, Pretty Poison: The Tuesday Weld Story , New York, 1995.

On WELD: articles—

Current Biography 1974 , New York, 1974.

Druesne, M., "Tuesday Weld," in Films in Review (New York), February 1986.

Barra, Allen, "Tuesday Weld," in American Film (New York), January/February 1989.

Premiere (Boulder), March 1996.

Queenan, J., "All's Well that Ends Weld," in Movieline (Escondido), June 1996.

Rebello, S., "Tuesday Weld in 'Pretty Poison'," in Movieline (Escondido), January/February 1997.

* * *

Forty years into her career, Tuesday Weld still percolates through American pop culture. A 1995 biography is devoted to her, and a worldwide web site; she will soon appear in the off-mainstream Feeling Minnesota , her first movie since 1993's Falling Down (reportedly her first commercially successful film). Weld's uncredited picture adorns the cover of rock musician Matthew Sweet's 1991 Girlfriend album, epitomizing her continued if obscure relevance—but also suggesting that her signature star qualities of self-determining sexuality, insolence, and nearly self-destructive wastefulness (philosophically grounded in antimaterialism as it may be) fit the rock 'n' roll era's patterns more than classical Hollywood's.

As a post-studio system actress, Weld is sadly Hollywood-typical in that her talents have far outmatched her opportunities. Trash- and sex-associated, she distinguishes (and attracts cult status to) herself with the rock-star-like air of profligacy she assumes: "Do you think I want a success?. . . I like the particular position I've been in all these years, with people wanting to save me from the awful films I've been in." There is an abstractedness, always a lot left missing, in her characterizations, that in one way reflects the submerged place where new Hollywood fixed females, especially in the 1970s—but in another way fights against it, by revealing the eeriness and lostness of women unable to make their desires real, heard, or even clear to themselves. A chillingly transposed example occurs at the end of I Walk the Line when Gregory Peck takes on Weld's characteristic wide-eyed, blank but brimming expression after she has (probably) mortally wounded him, having (maybe) misled him about her true motivations for their affair. Interestingly, in this as in many of Weld's films, rock music gets used to fill in some of the gaps her physical choices (and the situations and dialogue given to her) leave.

Weld began her film career at 13, a former child model driven to alcohol and nearly suicide. For five years she played "sex kitten" variations: in movies, on television (with dozens of episodes throughout the 1960s), and in the press, for which she refused to either dress or comment politely while dating publicly and prolifically. In the mid-1960s she found meatier film roles, usually as someone's beautiful but jumbled girlfriend; by the early 1970s, she went deeper into such cracked-surface glamour girls with leads in Play It as It Lays and Reflections of Murder . Many of her feature and television films from 1977 to 1984 ground her "neurotic" type (quite literally) deadly in its feminist-influenced historical context. Weld's acting, however, insistently animates the subjectivities of her narratively unbalanced and decentered women: in her Oscar-nominated work in Looking for Mr. Goodbar and in Thief especially, she dramatically modulates her vocal pitch and volume and catches her characters' flickering meanings simply by tilting her head or turning her upper body. She thereby demonstrates that, in the principles of modern screen acting, she is highly skilled if—characteristically—proudly unschooled (she reports that the Actors Studio was too conventional for her; other sources claim that her application was rejected because she was too young).

—Susan Knobloch

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