Susan Tyrrell of 'Cry-Baby,' 'Fat City,' dies at age 67
Susan Tyrrell, an Oscar nominee known for the 1972 movie "Fat City" and the cult film "Cry-Baby," which starred Jonny Depp, has died at age 67.
The actress passed away on Saturday, June 16, according to her official website and the news outlet Austin360.com, which attributed the information to one of her friends. The cause of her death was not revealed.
Tyrrell was in 2000 diagnosed with a rare blood disease called essential thrombocytosis, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee as a result of her ailment.
Tyrrell was born Susan Cremer in San Francisco, California and grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut. Her mother was a member of a convent in her native Britain and spent time in the Diplomatic Corps in China and The Philippines during World War II. Tyrell's father was a Hollywood agent who later worked in advertising. Tyrell lived in Austin, Texas in her final years and went by the nickname "SuSu."
"I'm a loner," Tyrrell told LA Weekly in 2000."I don't like beautiful people, but I find beauty in the grotesque. And in the sweet soul inside someone who has been able to get through their life without being a rat's ass. Such people should be collected, should be swept up immediately and kept in a box of broken people. I've collected people my whole life. Sometimes it ends badly, but it's absolutely never on my part."
"Because I know how fabulous I am," she added. "You're just going to have to take my word for it - I'm an incredible person. I do good deeds, and I love people, but the only way I can do these things is to stay apart. Because you can just stand so much. But the people who you meet in your life, who cross your path, the ones who are decent, should be collected."
Tyrell began her acting career in the 1960s and made her Broadway debut in 1965 as a replacement performer in the comedy "Cactus Flower." She went on to star in the plays "A Cry of Players," "The Time of Your Life" and "Camino Real."
She made her big screen debut in 1971 with the film "Shoot Out" alongside Gregory Peck. Tyrell went on to star in the 1972 boxing drama "Fat City" as Oma, a drunk, alongside main male leads Jeff Bridges and Stacy Keach. Tyrrell earned an Oscar nomination for her performance.
In 1977, she appeared in Andy Warhol film "Bad." She also starred in the 1982 fantasy comedy "Forbidden Zone" and in the 1984 thriller "Angel" and its 1985 sequel.
Younger viewers may remember her best from the 1990 musical film "Cry-Baby," which starred Depp as Cry-Baby, a "bad boy" Elvis Presley-like rock n' roll singer who seeks to win the heart of "good girl" Allison Vernon-Williams, played by Amy Locane. Tyrell played Cry-Baby's grandmother, Ramona Rickettes, while real-life rocker Iggy Pop portrayed his grandfather, Belvedere.
"Susie was just a great, great chick and a total hell raiser," Iggy Pop told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a statement. "She had a huge personality and the talent to back it up. She scared the living [expletive] out of me on a daily basis. Once, she hung a blow up doll from the head of my shower before I came home from the set. Thanks Susie, I love you and miss you."
Tyrrell went on to star in the 1995 mystery drama film "Powder" alongside Jeff Goldblum. She then reunited with Bridges for the 2003 Bob Dylan movie "Masked and Anonymous," playing Ella the Fortune Teller. Tyrrell's last on-screen role was in the 2012 independent film "Kid-Thing.""It was such a joy to have been pals with the one and only SuSu," the movie's Austin-based production company, Zellner Bros. said in a statement on Facebook. "Her lust for life, her fixation with provocation and the subversive was so refreshing and fun. And her absolute candor. Nothing was off limits with her - she didn't mince words, she loved what she loved and she hated what she hated. Whether you wanted to hear it or not, and often times you didn't."
"Soon after meeting she sent an email gushing about how much she loved 'Fiddlestixx' of all things, and that meant the world to me," the statement added. "She wasn't interested in anything else we did but geez louise she loved a monkey freaking out in front of a green screen. I'm so grateful that we got to work together on KID-THING. Until we screened the finished product for her we had no idea which way it would go, and were humbled by how proud of it she was. She will be sorely missed."