Died June 17, 2012. Born March 18, 1945.
American actress of Irish descent, known for her Academy Award-nominated performance as Oma in Fat City and her role as Ramona Rickettes in the film Cry-Baby.
Tyrrell was born in San Francisco, California. Her father was a top agent at one time with the William Morris Agency. She built up her résumé in summer stock and regional plays, usually cast in standard ingénue roles, although her theatre roles would grow larger once she came to New York City, where she appeared in The Rimers of Eldritch, Cactus Flower, King Lear, Camino Real, and The Time of Your Life, among others.
After her film debut in Shoot Out (1971), her performance as Oma in Fat City brought her a 1972 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Susan Tyrrell played Solly, a tough, foul-mouthed lesbian, in both 1980s cult-films Angel and Avenging Angel. In the first film she sparred with co-star Dick Shawn over a game of cribbage, and in the sequel, Solly acted as den-mother to a group of transvestite prostitutes and raised an abandoned baby. She appeared in the cult classic film Cry Baby in 1990 as Ramona Rickettes.
In early 2000, she suffered the loss of both legs as a result of blood clots due to the rare blood disease essential thrombocythemia. She has continued to work, playing Ella the Fortune Teller in Masked and Anonymous (2003) and the High Priestess in The Devil's Due at Midnight (2004).
She is sometimes credited as Susan Tyrell in her early films. At her request, her narration for Ralph Bakshi's Wizards was uncredited. However, the film brought her so much work, she later told Bakshi she regretted not taking a credit.
She is also a composer, credited with the song "Witch's Egg" in Forbidden Zone, in which she starred, a 1980 low-budget indie film directed by Richard Elfman with musical group Oingo Boingo (known as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo then).
In 2000, she contracted a rare blood disease and had both legs amputated. Nonetheless, she continued to appear in films such as Larry Charles' "Masked and Anonymous."