Obituary: Susan Tyrrell / Oscar nominee for 'Fat City'
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Susan Tyrrell, an eccentric, husky-voiced character actress best known for her Oscar-nominated supporting role as a blowsy barfly in director John Huston's 1972 movie "Fat City," has died. She was 67.
Ms. Tyrrell died June 16 at her home in Austin, Texas, according to the Travis County medical examiner. The cause of death is not yet known.
The actress, whose many film credits included "Islands in the Stream" (1977), "Angel" (1984) and "Cry-Baby" (1990), already had played a number of colorful character roles on stage in New York City before being cast in "Fat City," a boxing drama starring Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges.
Mr. Keach also starred with Ms. Tyrrell in the 1976 film "The Killer Inside Me" in which she played a prostitute who became the victim of Mr. Keach's psychopathic sheriff.
"She always played these sort of battered, sensual, sexy, vulnerable women; sort of a beat-up Marilyn Monroe," he said. "She always had a vulnerability about her that was engaging, and she had a wonderful sense of humor. She was one of a kind."
Ms. Tyrrell's personal life was seemingly as colorful as the characters she played and included being pulled in to Andy Warhol's orbit. Typically, she resisted joining his circle.
"I'm a loner and an outsider," she told The Austin American-Statesman in 2010. "Those things strangle me. For me, there is not strength in numbers."
During the Warhol days, she said, she wasn't into drugs. "But later on in life I found beer and acid. They were my best drugs. And mescaline."
She described her acting career as "disappointing, to say the least. I loved Bette Davis, and I felt I was going to be the next Bette Davis. I knew I had it in me to do a dossier of roles. I so wanted it."
One highlight of her life, she repeatedly said, was falling in love with actor Herve Villechaize, who played Tattoo in the TV series "Fantasy Island." They met in the mid-'70s and lived together for two years in a house in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon.
She was born Susan Jillian Creamer in San Francisco on March 18, 1945, and grew up in New Canaan, Conn.
Ms. Tyrrell contracted a rare chronic blood disorder, essential thrombocythemia, in 2000 and had to have her legs amputated below the knees. Yet she continued to act occasionally.
First Published July 7, 2012 12:00 am