Susan Abigail Sarandon (/səˈrændən/; née Tomalin; born October 4, 1946) is an American actress and activist. She has received an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and has also been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards and nine Golden Globe Awards. She is also known for her social and political activism for a variety of causes. She was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and received the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in 2006.
Sarandon began her career in the 1970 film Joe, before appearing in the soap opera A World Apart (1970–71). In 1974, she co-starred as a young Zelda Fitzgerald surrogate in the TV movie F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles' and in 1975, she starred in the popular cult film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Atlantic City (1980), Thelma & Louise (1991), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), and The Client (1994), before winning for Dead Man Walking (1995). She has also won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Client, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actressfor Dead Man Walking. Her other films include: Pretty Baby (1978), The Hunger (1983), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Bull Durham (1988), White Palace (1990), Little Women (1994), Stepmom (1998), Enchanted(2007), The Lovely Bones (2009), Tammy (2014), The Meddler (2015), and A Bad Moms Christmas (2017).
She made her Broadway debut in An Evening with Richard Nixon in 1972 and went on to receive Drama Desk Award nominations for the Off-Broadway plays, A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking (1979) and Extremities (1982). She returned to Broadway in the 2009 revival of Exit the King.
On television, she is a six-time Emmy Award nominee, including for her guest roles on the sitcoms Friends (2001) and Malcolm in the Middle (2002), and appearances in the TV films Bernard and Doris (2007) and You Don't Know Jack (2010). In 2017, Sarandon portrayed Bette Davis in the first season of FX's anthology television series Feud, which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination and two Primetime Emmy Awardnominations. She was also nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special for the documentary program Cool Women in History along with Jeff Eisenberg and Andrew Ames in 2002.
Sarandon was born in the Queens borough of New York City. She is the eldest of nine children of Lenora Marie (née Criscione; b. 1923) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin (1917–1999), an advertising executive, television producer, and one-time nightclub singer. She has four brothers, Philip Jr., Terry (deceased May 19, 2016), Tim and O'Brian, and four sisters, Meredith, Bonnie, Amanda, and Missy. Her father was of English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry, his English ancestors being from Hackney in London and his Welsh ancestors being from Bridgend. On her mother's side, she is of Italian descent, with ancestors from the regions of Tuscany and Sicily.Sarandon was raised Roman Catholic and attended Roman Catholic schools. She grew up in Edison, New Jersey, where she graduated from Edison High School in 1964. She then attended The Catholic University of America, from 1964 to 1968, and earned a BA in drama and worked with noted drama coach and master teacher, Father Gilbert V. Hartke.
In 1969, Sarandon went to a casting call for the motion-picture Joe with her then-husband Chris Sarandon. Although he did not get a part, she was cast in a major role of a disaffected teen who disappears into the seedy underworld (the film was released in the summer of 1970). Between 1970 and 1972, she appeared on the soap operas A World Apart and Search for Tomorrow, playing Patrice Kahlman and Sarah Fairbanks, respectively. In 1975, she appeared in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That same year, she also played the female lead in The Great Waldo Pepper, opposite Robert Redford. She was twice directed by Louis Malle, in Pretty Baby (1978) and Atlantic City (1981). The latter earned Sarandon her first Academy Award nomination.
Her most controversial film appearance was in Tony Scott's The Hunger in 1983, a modern vampire story in which she had a lesbian sex scene with Catherine Deneuve. In 1987, she appeared in the hit comedy-fantasy The Witches of Eastwick alongside Jack Nicholson, Cher, and Michelle Pfeiffer. However, Sarandon did not become a "household name" until her A-list breakthrough opposite Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins (who became her partner) in the 1988 film Bull Durham, which became a huge commercial and critical success.
Sarandon was nominated for an Academy Award four more times in the 1990s, as Best Actress in Thelma & Louise (1991), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), and The Client (1994), finally winning in 1995 for Dead Man Walking. She was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award in 1994. Additionally, she has received eight Golden Globe nominations, including for White Palace(1990), Stepmom (1998), Igby Goes Down (2002), and Bernard and Doris (2007).
Her other movies include Little Women (1994), Anywhere but Here (1999), Cradle Will Rock (1999), The Banger Sisters (2002), Shall We Dance (2004), Alfie (2004), Romance & Cigarettes (2005), Elizabethtown (2005), and Enchanted (2007). Sarandon has appeared in two episodes of The Simpsons, once as herself ("Bart Has Two Mommies") and as a ballet teacher, "Homer vs. Patty and Selma". She appeared on Friends, Malcolm in the Middle, Mad TV, Saturday Night Live, Chappelle's Show, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, and Mike & Molly.
Sarandon has contributed the narration to two dozen documentary films, many of which dealt with social and political issues. In addition, she has served as the presenter on many installments of the PBS documentary series, Independent Lens. In 1999 and 2000, she hosted and presented Mythos, a series of lectures by the late American mythology professor Joseph Campbell. Sarandon also participates as a member of the Jury for the NYICFF, a local New York City Film Festival dedicated to screening films made for children between the ages of 3 and 18.
Sarandon joined the cast of the adaptation of The Lovely Bones, opposite Rachel Weisz, and appeared with her daughter, Eva Amurri, in Middle of Nowhere; both films were made in 2007. In June 2010, Sarandon joined the cast of the HBO pilot The Miraculous Year, as Patty Atwood, a Broadway director/choreographer. However, the series was not picked up. In 2012, Sarandon's audiobook performance of Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding was released at Audible.com. Sarandon was the voice actor for the character of Granny Rags, an eccentric and sinister old lady, in the stealth/action video game Dishonored, released in 2012. She appeared in the films Arbitrage (2012), Tammy (2014), and The Meddler (2015). In 2017, Sarandon portrayed Bette Davis in the first season of FX's anthology series Feud.