Though she is a classically trained dramatic actress and has played a variety of roles, Sigourney Weaver is still best known for her portrayal of the steel-jawed, alien-butt-kicking space crusader Ellen Ripley from the four Alien movies. The formidably beautiful, 5'11'' actress was born Susan Weaver to NBC president Pat Weaver and actress Elizabeth Inglis. Her father had a passion for Roman history and originally wanted to name her Flavia, but after reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby at the age of 14, Weaver renamed herself Sigourney, after one of the book's minor characters.
After being schooled in her native New York City, Weaver attended Stanford University and then obtained her master's at the Yale School of Drama where, along with classmate Meryl Streep, she appeared in classical Greek plays. After earning her degree, Weaver was only able to find work in experimental plays produced well away from Broadway, as more conventional producers found her too tall to perform in mainstream works. After getting her first real break in the soap opera Somerset (1970-1976), she made her film debut with a bit part in Woody Allen's Annie Hall in 1977.