Susan Tyrell, known for her eccentric appearances in films such as “Cry Baby” and “Fat City”–which earned her an Oscar nomination–has died. She was 66 years old.
Tyrell began her acting career as a teenager in the stage production of “Time Out For Ginger”. She built up quite a career based on playing seedy characters after that, and became known as something of a gypsy in Hollywood, taking parts that a lot of other actresses wouldn’t touch and making them her own with a ferocity that was unmatched. Tyrell was proud of her varied screen history; she once touched upon it by quoting her mother’s last words to her.
“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.”
Tyrell became a cult favorite after starring in movies like the Oingo Boingo flick “Forbidden Zone” and “Big Top Pee-Wee”, as well as playing Johnny Depp’s outlandish grandmother in “Cry Baby”. When Tyrell was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that led to the amputation of both her legs in 2000, Depp and several friends hosted an auction to benefit Tyrell and help offset her medical bills.
Tyrell once commented on her views about other people, saying she preferred to be alone, but when one good person came along, she would do what she could to keep them.
“I’m a loner. 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. 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.”