Theresa Saldana (August 20, 1954 – June 6, 2016) was an American actress, activist, and writer. She is known for her role as Rachel Scali, the wife of Police Commissioner Tony Scali, in the 1990s television series The Commish, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, in 1994. Major film roles include Lenora LaMotta, the wife of Joe Pesci's character in the 1980's Raging Bull, and as a Beatles fan in Robert Zemeckis' Beatlemania ensemble I Wanna Hold Your Hand. She was also known for raising public awareness of the crime of stalking after surviving a murder attempt by an obsessed fan in 1982.
Saldana in 1981
|Born||August 20, 1954|
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
|Died||June 6, 2016 (aged 61)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Saldana took dance lessons as a child. After suffering a serious shoulder injury while part of a tumbling team, she enrolled in acting classes at age 12. After being spotted by a talent scout while performing in an Off Broadway musical called The New York City Street Show in 1977, she was cast in the 1978 film Nunzio.
On March 15, 1982, Saldana was the stalking victim of Arthur Richard Jackson, a 46-year-old drifter from Aberdeen, Scotland. Jackson became obsessed with Saldana after seeing her in the 1980 films Defiance and Raging Bull. He obtained Saldana's address by hiring a private investigator to obtain the unlisted phone number of Saldana's mother. Jackson then called Saldana's mother and posed as Martin Scorsese's assistant, saying he needed Saldana's residential address in order to contact her for replacing an actress in a film role in Europe.
Jackson approached Saldana in front of her West Hollywood residence in broad daylight and stabbed her in the torso ten times with a 5½-inch (14 cm) knife, nearly killing her. His attack was so fierce that the blade bent. Although there were many nearby onlookers including children, the attack was interrupted only when a deliveryman, Jeff Fenn, intervened after hearing her cries, rushed from the second floor of an apartment building, and subdued Jackson. Saldana recovered after four hours of surgery and a four-month hospital stay at the Motion Picture Hospital. She relived the incident in the made-for-TV movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story and again in an episode of Hunter.
Jackson served almost 14 years in prison for the assault and making subsequent threats against Saldana and her rescuer while in prison. He was then extradited to the United Kingdom in 1996 to be tried for a 1966 robbery and murder. Jackson (who once saw himself as "the benevolent angel of death") was found not guilty by diminished responsibility in 1997 and committed to a British psychiatric hospital, where he died of heart failure in 2004, at the age of 68.
Jackson's method to find and approach Saldana inspired stalker Robert John Bardo to hire a private investigator to contact Rebecca Schaeffer, a young TV sitcom star whom he subsequently murdered, also in West Hollywood, in July 18, 1989.
Following her long recovery, Saldana founded the Victims for Victims organization and participated in lobbying for the 1990 anti-stalking law and the 1994 Driver's Privacy Protection Act, both of which came into being partly as a consequence of the attack. The experience also inspired Saldana to play herself in the television movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, and she authored the book Beyond Survival, a memoir of her experiences after being attacked.
Saldana's first marriage was to Fred Feliciano from February 11, 1979 to 1986. In March 1989, she married for second time, to Phil Peters, with whom she had a daughter, Tianna Saldana Peters (born on August 30, 1989, in Los Angeles). They remained together until her death.
Saldana died at age 61 on June 6, 2016, following her hospitalization for pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Michael Chiklis, who played Saldana's husband on The Commish, wrote that it was "painful to hear the news".
|1978||I Wanna Hold Your Hand||Grace Corrigan|
|1980||Raging Bull||Lenora LaMotta|
|1984||The Evil That Men Do||Rhiana Hidalgo / Nancy|
|1988||The Night Before||Rhonda|
|1988||Double Revenge||Angie Corello|
|1989||Of Men and Angels||Maria|
|1990||Angel Town||Maria Ordonez|
|1999||Carlo's Wake||Theresa Brock|
|2004||Gang Warz||Carmela Cruz|
|2004||Illusion Infinity||Maria||(final film role)|
|1979||240-Robert||Rosie||Episode: "The Applicant"|
|1980||Sophia Loren: Her Own Story||Maria Scicolone||TV film|
|1981||Nurse||Rita||Episode: "The Gifts"|
|1983||Seven Brides for Seven Brothers||Angelina||Episode: "Promised Land"|
|1983||T. J. Hooker||Maria Santini||Episode: "Too Late for Love"|
|1983||American Playhouse||Pregnant Again||Episode: "Miss Lonelyhearts"|
|1984||Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story||Herself||TV Film|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Inez||Episode: "Dead Woman's Shoes"|
|1985||Cagney & Lacey||Dr. Strathmore||Episode: "Old Ghosts"|
|1986||Simon & Simon||Mrs. Karnofsky||Episode: "Full Moon Blues"|
|1986||Matlock||Sonia Cardenas||Episode: "The Affair"|
|1986||Tales from the Darkside||Audrey Webster||Episode: "Black Widows"|
|1987||Hunter||Jennifer Hartman||Episode: "Any Second Now"|
|1987||Santa Barbara||Carlotta Quivar||Episodes 689 and 691|
|1987||CBS Schoolbreak Special||Laura Chacon||Episode: "Juvi"|
|1987||The Highwayman||Angela Brown||TV film|
|1988||Buck James||Marta Ortiz||Episode: "Lives in the Balance"|
|1988||Falcon Crest||Pretty Woman||Episode: "False Faces"|
|1990||MacGyver||Maria||Episode: "The Treasure of Manco"|
|1990||New Kids on the Block||Rosa (voice)||Regular role (15 episodes)|
|1991–1996||The Commish||Rachel Scali||Regular role (92 episodes)|
|1991||Confessions of Crime||Herself||Series host (13 episodes)|
|1993||Shameful Secrets||Rachel Morales||TV film|
|1994||Captain Planet and the Planeteers||Mame Slaughter (voice)||Episodes: "Orangu-Tangle", "Horns a'Plenty"|
|1995||Law & Order||Juror||Episode: "House Counsel"|
|1995||Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects||Dr. Eve Belage (voice)||TV film|
|1996||She Woke Up Pregnant||Doris Cantore||TV film|
|1996–1997||The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||Estella Velasquez (voice)||Episodes: "The Mummies of Malengue," "The Robot Spies"|
|1997||Diagnosis: Murder||Kirsten Foxx||Episode: "In Defense of Murder"|
|1997||Nothing Sacred||Paula||Episodes: "Parents and Children", "Roman Catholic Holiday"|
|1997||All My Children||Christina Vargas||TV series|
|1998||Martial Law||Maria Hamilton||Episode: "Bad Seed"|
|1999||Thrill Seekers||Cortez||TV film|
|2000||Ready to Run||Sonja Ortiz||TV film|
|2001||Batman Beyond||Mother (voice)||Episode: "Unmasked"|
|2003||The Bernie Mac Show||Lydia||Episode: "Maid Man"|
- "A Rising Star Lives to Shine Again After a Near Fatal Knifing". People. November 8, 1982. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- "Theresa Saldana Biography (1954–)". filmreference.com.
- "Raging Bull actress Theresa Saldana dies". USA Today. Mclean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Associated Press. June 8, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- Grimes, William (June 8, 2016). "Theresa Saldana, Actress and Attack Survivor, Dies at 61". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- "truTV | Reality TV | Comedy" Archived June 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. trutv.com.
- "http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/13/lkl.00.html1"[permanent dead link]. cnn.com.
- according to her longtime friend, Soorya Townley
- Cavassuto, Maria (June 7, 2016). "Theresa Saldana, Raging Bull and The Commish Star, Dies at 61". Variety. Retrieved June 7, 2016.