Sigourney Weaver

Born Oct. 8, 1949, in New York City, Sigourney Weaver cut her acting teeth in summer stock. But her statuesque height often kept her from being cast in lead roles.

During the 1970s, she performed in theater, appeared in commercials and landed prime parts in soap operas, but her breakthrough came playing the steely heroine Ellen Ripley in Alien (1979). Weaver repeated the role in three sequels and was later nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for Aliens (1986).

Weaver has found success in dramas and comedies alike, including The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), 1984's Ghostbusters (and its 1989 sequel), The Ice Storm (1997) and Galaxy Quest (1999). She was nominated for two Oscars in 1988 -- as Best Supporting Actress for Working Girl and as Best Actress for Gorillas in the Mist. Her small-screen work has also been recognized with Emmy and Golden Globe nods for Prayers for Bobby (2009).