Susan Tyrrell: "I Don't Like Watching My Tits Fall"
Susan Tyrrell, who died the other day, got recognized for her full-throttle acting when she was Oscar-nominated for John Huston's Fat City, the 1972 drama in which she played a spiteful alkie who throws herself into a fading boxer's life.
But in 1983, SuSu told me her life didn't change after that at all.
"It was hell," she moaned to me for a Details cover story, her eyes on fire.
"I couldn't even get a job as a bag lady. I went up for bag lady parts and they'd say, 'You're too beautiful now. We thought you were a bag lady from Fat City.' Then I'd go up for beautiful parts and they'd say, 'You're not beautiful enough'.
"An actor has to act, man. Lilies that fester smell fouler than weeds. You get sick. You die inside. And I'm not going to be anybody's asshole.
"I have to do the right things, and if that's every five years, what do I do with myself every day? Pussy on ice. You have to put her on ice and wait--and that's an art. Not to get fat, not to get too old. I hate aging. I don't want to grow old. I don't like watching my tits fall. I like my tits. That's the biggest heartbreak.
"It's all over," she continued, distraught. "I hate acting, and it was my life. I'm not embarrassed, ashamed--it just sucks. I didn't know the industry was all over, that there was no more Bette Davis.
"Life sucks, basically. Life is sad. Life is waiting for years and years to do one little scene maybe. I'm not Bobby DeNiro, with Martin Scorsese to shoot every shit I take. That's what I need. That's what Diane Keaton had with Woody Allen--to find someone who thinks you're so charming and wonderful and shoots you inside out.
"You do a couple of films and everyone knows what you're about. If you don't do that, you're on the line--on the breadline with every other actress. But I wait. It'll pay off sooner or later. I thought, 'Maybe I'm not good enough or maybe I'm too good'. My friend Pat Resnick, who wrote Nine To Five, said, 'SuSu, you always look 40, it doesn't make any difference. It's coming for you'."
It didn't. She mainly did some oddball if fun films (including one with Herve Villechaize, whom she dated--and told me he was extremely well hung, by the way!)
But Hollywood never really embraced her--she was too strong, fiery, talented, unsculptable. Too unique.
And then came the health issues.
Oh, SuSu, I loved you so. I wish your mind was on ice forever.