Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Susan Tyrrell

The world of the Not Very Famous lost an icon a few days ago when Susan Tyrrell passed away on June 16, 2012. Fans of the bizarre know her mainly as Queen Doris of the Sixth Dimension in the cult musical, Forbidden Zone, while Oscar buffs remember her powerful nominated performance as Oma, the alcoholic girlfriend of a down-and-out boxer in John Huston's Fat City.

And while her name may sound vaguely familiar to the mainstream public, her wonderfully strange work is rarely seen by the masses. This is a shame, for her performances in just about every role she played showed a courage and originality that is rarely seen in movies made today.

From Andy Warhol's Bad  to Tales of Ordinary Madness and Fast-Walking  to Cry Baby, and and so many others too numerous to mention, Susan Tyrrell not only added intensity to every scene she was in, but also gave the audience characters that stayed with them long after the movie was over.

Part performance artist and part great actor, Susan Tyrrell brought to the screen the best of both worlds in a manner that was never pretentious or showy. She had this ability to make strangeness seem natural, while somehow always managing to hang a shadow of sadness over all of her characters.

As an actor she was a daredevil and should be an inspiration to any artist stuck in their comfort zone. She will be missed and her work in film should serve as a teacher for those actors not afraid to perform without a net.

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