Unconventional thesp Susan Tyrrell, who was Oscar-nommed for her supporting actress role in John Huston’s 1972 “Fat City,” died Saturday in Austin, Texas. The cult actress, who often played whores, crazies and grotesques, was 67.
Born Susan Jillian Creamer in San Francisco, her father was a William Morris agent. She made her stage debut as a teenager in 1962 in “Time Out for Ginger.” After appearing in a number of New York stage productions as member of the Lincoln Center repertory company, she began to get film roles in pics including “Shoot Out” and “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me,” and won her Oscar nom in her fourth film job as a low-life boozer girlfriend opposite Stacy Keach’s washed-up boxer.
Her other roles in the 1970s included “The Killer Inside Me,” “Andy Warhol’s Bad,” “Islands in the Stream” and “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”
She continued her offbeat character roles in the 1980s and ’90s in films such as “Tales of Ordinary Madness,” “Forbidden Zone,” “Big Top Pee-Wee,” “Powder” and John Waters’ “Cry-Baby.” Tyrrell also made guest appearances on TV shows including “Baretta,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Kojak” and “Tales of the Crypt.”
In later years, she appeared in avant-garde theater productions in Los Angeles including her one-woman show “My Rotten Life: A Bitter Operetta” and did voices for cartoons such as “Cow and Chicken” and “Extreme Ghostbusters.” She moved to Austin in 2008.
She told the Los Angeles Weekly in 2000, “The last thing my mother said to me was, ‘SuSu, your life is a celebration of everything that is cheap and tawdry.’ I’ve always liked that, and I’ve always tried to live up to it.”
In 2000, she contracted a rare blood disease and had both legs amputated. Nonetheless, she continued to appear in films such as Larry Charles’ “Masked and Anonymous” and most recently appeared in Nathan and David Zellner’s “Kid-Thing.”