Weaver attended the Ethel Walker School, a prep school in Simsbury, Connecticut and graduated from Stanford University (BA, English, 1972). She earned an MFA (1974) at Yale Drama, where she appeared in the chorus of a production of Aristophanes' "The Frogs" and as one of a mob of Roman soldiers in another production as well as, later, in original plays by friend and classmate Christopher Durang. She later appeared in the 1981 off-Broadway production of his comedy Beyond Therapy.
Weaver also appeared in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II as Dana Barrett. She played the role of the agoraphobic criminal psychologist Helen Hudson in the 1995 movie Copycat, and went on to become the most highly paid actress of the 1990s. In addition to her trademark role as Ripley, Weaver has recently concentrated on smaller, more challenging roles such as 1999's A Map of the World. Despite being fifty at the time, Weaver created a stir for appearing nude in that film. Other recent work includes 2006's Snow Cake. Critics have also noted her consistent performances in comedic roles, such as in Jeffrey (1994), Galaxy Quest (1999), and Heartbreakers (2001), in which she starred with Jennifer Love Hewitt.
In 1997, Weaver won the BAFTA Award for her supporting role in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. In 2003, she was voted 20th in british television's Channel 4's countdown of the 100 greatest movie stars of all time. She was one of only two women in the top 20 (the other was Audrey Hepburn). That year, she also played The Warden in the movie Holes. In 2006, Weaver returned to Rwanda for the BBC special Gorillas Revisited.
Weaver was approached to star as the ADA in the The Accused but felt the nature of the story was too violent. Jane Campion wanted a 'Sigourney Weaver type' for her film The Piano but Weaver's agent turned the film down without consulting Weaver. Holly Hunter went on to win the Oscar for the role, and Weaver fired her agent. Bryan Singer originally wanted Sigourney for the role of Emma Frost in X-Men: The Last Stand but Singer (and screenwriter Dan Harris, who directed Weaver in Imaginary Heroes) left the project and the idea to include Frost was dropped. In 2008, Weaver plays the Mom in the TV film Prayers for Bobby, due to air February 2009. She will also guest-star in the TV show Eli Stone in the fall of 2008.
Weaver also has done voice work in television and film. She had a guest role in the Futurama episode "Love and Rocket" in February 2002, playing the female Planet Express Ship. In 2006 she was the narrator for the American version of the Emmy Award-winning series Planet Earth. In 2008 Weaver was featured as a voice in the Pixar Animation Studios and Disney release, WALL•E. She will also voice a narrating role in another computer animated film, The Tale of Despereaux based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo set for release December 2008.
After making Gorillas in the Mist, she became a supporter of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and is now the DFGFI's honorary chairperson. Weaver is an environmentalist. In October 2006 she drew international attention through a news conference at the start of a United Nations General Assembly policy deliberation. She outlined the widespread threat to ocean habitats posed by deep-sea trawling, an industrial method for harvesting fish. She also narrated the American version of the BBC/Discovery Channel show Planet Earth, which focuses on the wonders of our world. On April 8, 2008, she hosted the annual gala of the Trickle Up Program, a non-profit organization focusing on those in extreme poverty, mainly women and the disabled, in the Rainbow Room.
In 2007, Weaver reprised her role of Ellen Ripley in a commercial for DirecTV. In the commercial Weaver in the power loader vehicle from the movie Aliens is battling the queen xenomorph while explaining to watchers how DirecTV is a better deal than cable.
The restaurant from the teen scifi drama TV show Roswell features a sandwich named after Weaver.
|1977||Annie Hall||Alvy's Date Outside Theater|
|1982||The Year of Living Dangerously||Jilly Bryant|
|1983||Deal of the Century||Catherine DeVoto|
|1985||Une Femme ou Deux||Jessica Fitzgerald|
|1986||Half Moon Street||Dr. Lauren Slaughter|
|Aliens||Ellen Ripley||Academy Award nomination for Best Actress|
|1988||Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey||Dian Fossey|
|Working Girl||Katharine Parker|
|1989||Ghostbusters II||Dana Barrett|
|1492: Conquest of Paradise||Queen Isabella|
|1994||Death and the Maiden||Paulina Escobar|
|1997||The Ice Storm||Janey Carver|
|Snow White: A Tale of Terror||Claudia Hoffman|
|Alien: Resurrection||Ellen Ripley Clone||Co-Producer|
|1999||A Map of the World||Alice Goodwin|
|Galaxy Quest||Gwen DeMarco/Lieutenant Tawny Madison|
|The Guys||Joan||Directed by husband Jim Simpson, starring daughter Charlotte Simpson.|
|2004||Imaginary Heroes||Sandy Travis|
|The Village||Alice Hunt|
|2006||Snow Cake||Linda Freeman|
|The TV Set||Lenny|
|2007||Happily N'Ever After||Frieda||Voice only|
|''The Girl in the Park||Julia Sandburg||premiere at the Toronto Festival 2007|
|2008||Vantage Point||Rex Brooks|
|Be Kind Rewind||Ms. Lawson|
|Baby Mama||Chaffee Bicknell|
|The Tale of Despereaux||The Narrator||post-production; voice only|
|2009||Avatar||Dr. Grace Augustine||post-production|
|Crazy on the Outside||TBA||post-production|