Weld, c. 1960
Susan Ker Weld
August 27, 1943
New York City, New York, U.S.
Tuesday Weld (born Susan Ker Weld; August 27, 1943) is a retired American actress. She began acting as a child and progressed to mature roles in the late 1950s. She won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer in 1960. Over the following decade, she established a career playing dramatic roles in films.
Her work, often as a featured performer in supporting roles, was acknowledged with nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Play It as It Lays (1972), a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), an Emmy Award for The Winter of Our Discontent (1983), and a BAFTA for Once Upon a Time in America (1984). Since the late 1980s, her acting appearances have been infrequent.
Weld was born Susan Ker Weld in New York City. Her father, Lathrop Motley Weld, was a member of the Weld family of Massachusetts; he died in 1947 at the age of 49, shortly before his daughter's fourth birthday. Her mother, Yosene Balfour Ker, daughter of the artist and Life illustrator William Balfour Ker, was Lathrop Weld's fourth and final wife. Susan Ker Weld had two siblings, Sarah King Weld (born 1935) and David Balfour Weld (born 1937). Weld had her name legally changed to Tuesday Weld on October 9, 1959.
Left in financial difficulty by her husband's death, Weld's mother put Susan to work as a model to support the family. As the young actress told Life in 1971:
My father's family came from Tuxedo Park, and they offered to take us kids and pay for our education, on the condition that Mama never see us again. Mama was an orphan who had come here from London but so far as my father's family was concerned, she was strictly from the gutter. I have to give Mama credit--she refused to give us up... So I became the supporter of the family, and I had to take my father's place in many, many ways. I was expected to make up for everything that had ever gone wrong in Mama's life. She became obsessed with me, pouring out her pent-up love--her alleged love--on me, and it's been heavy on my shoulders ever since. Mama still thinks I owe everything to her.
Her name became Tuesday, an extension of her childhood nickname, "Tu-Tu", so named by her young cousin, Mary Ker, who could not pronounce "Susan". She officially adopted her name in October 1959.
Using Weld's résumé from modeling, her mother secured her an agent. Weld made her acting debut on television at the age of 12, and her feature film debut that year in a bit role in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock crime drama The Wrong Man.
In 1956 Weld played the lead in Rock, Rock, Rock, which featured record promoter Alan Freed and singers Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon, and Johnny Burnette. In the film Connie Francis performed the vocals for Weld's singing parts.
Weld was cast in a supporting role in the Paul Newman-Joanne Woodward comedy Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1958), made by 20th Century Fox. At Columbia, Weld was in The Five Pennies (1959), playing the daughter of Danny Kaye who called Weld "15 going on 27". She guest starred a number of times on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1958-59). She appeared in 77 Sunset Strip with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in the 1959 episode, "Secret Island."
Weld's performance in Flag Boys impressed executives at Fox, who signed her to a long term contract.
They put her in the CBS television series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, being paid $35,000 for one year. Weld played Thalia Menninger, the love interest of Dobie Gillis (played by Dwayne Hickman), whose rivals for Thalia's affection included Milton Armitage (played by Warren Beatty). Although Weld was a cast member for only one season, the show created considerable national publicity for her, and she was named a co-winner of a "Most Promising Newcomer" award at the Golden Globe Awards.
At Columbia, she had a leading role in a teen film, Because They're Young (1960), starring Dick Clark. She was second billed in Sex Kittens Go to College (1960) made by Albert Zugsmith at Allied Artists. She made a second film for Zugsmith, The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, made in 1959 but not released for two years.
At Fox, she played Joy, a free-spirited university student in High Time, starring Bing Crosby and Fabian Forte. She sang a love song to Fabian in the season opener of NBC's The Dinah Shore Chevy Show on October 9, 1960. Four weeks later, on November 13, Weld returned to the network as a guest star in NBC's The Tab Hunter Show. She guested in "The Mormons" for Zane Grey Theatre (1960).
For Fox, Weld had a supporting role in the sequel Return to Peyton Place (1961), in the part played by Hope Lange in the original. Her portrayal of an incest victim was well received, but the film was less successful than its predecessor. She supported Elvis Presley in Wild in the Country (1962), along with Lange. Weld had an off-screen romance with Presley.
Fox also used her as a guest star on Follow the Sun ("The Highest Wall") and Adventures in Paradise ("The Velvet Trap"). On November 12, 1961, she played a singer, Cherie, in the seventh episode of ABC's television series Bus Stop, produced by Fox, with Marilyn Maxwell and Gary Lockwood. It was an adaptation of the play by William Inge, with Weld in the role originated on screen by Marilyn Monroe.
Weld's mother was scandalized by her teen daughter's love affairs with older men, such as actor John Ireland, but Weld resisted, saying, "'If you don't leave me alone, I'll quit being an actress--which means there ain't gonna be no more money for you, Mama'. Finally, when I was sixteen, I left home. I just went out the door and bought my own house".
Weld took three months off to go to Greenwich Village in New York and "study myself". Then she starred along with Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen in Soldier in the Rain, written by Blake Edwards from a novel by William Goldman.
Weld won excellent reviews for "A Case Study of Two Savages" in Naked City (1962). She guest starred on Route 66 in "Love Is a Skinny Kid" (1962), Ben Casey in "When You See an Evil Man" (1962), The Dick Powell Theatre in "A Time to Die" (1962), and "Run Till It's Dark" with Fabian (1962).
In 1963 Weld guest-starred as Denise Dunlear in The Eleventh Hour, in the episode "Something Crazy's Going on the Back Room" alongside Angela Lansbury. She was in "The Legend of Lylah Clare" for The DuPont Show of the Week (1963), directed by Franklin J. Schaffner.
Weld appeared with Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen in the 1963 comedy Soldier in the Rain. Her performance was well received, but the film was only a minor success. That same year, she and former co-star Dwayne Hickman appeared in Jack Palance's circus drama The Greatest Show on Earth on ABC, in separate episodes. She could also be seen in episodes of Mr Broadway (1964) and The Fugitive (1964), playing a blind woman.
Weld appeared in 1965 in the successful Norman Jewison film The Cincinnati Kid, opposite Steve McQueen. There was some controversy when she refused to meet the local governor at a fund-raiser for hurricane victims, jumping out of a car in view of 70,000 people. The film was a big hit.
She followed it playing Abigail in a TV adaptation of The Crucible (1967), opposite George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst. After guest starring on Cimarron Strip (1967), Weld had the starring role in Pretty Poison (1968), co-starring Anthony Perkins. The film became a cult success.
Around this time, Weld became famous for turning down roles in films that succeeded at the box office, such as Bonnie and Clyde, Rosemary's Baby, True Grit, Cactus Flower, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. In a 1971 interview with the New York Times, Weld explained that she had chosen to reject these roles precisely because she believed they would be commercial successes: "Do you think I want a success? I refused 'Bonnie and Clyde' because I was nursing at the time, but also because deep down I knew it was going to be a huge success. The same was true of 'Bob and Carol and Fred and Sue' or whatever it was called. It reeked of success".
The films Weld did make included I Walk the Line (1970), opposite Gregory Peck; A Safe Place (1971), co-starring Jack Nicholson and Orson Welles and directed by Henry Jaglom, and Play It as It Lays (1972), again with Perkins, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Weld attracted attention as the favored, out-of-control Katherine in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; later she appeared in Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) opposite Nick Nolte; and the comedy Serial (1980).
She said she preferred television. "What I dig about TV is the pace," she said. "Two weeks for even a heavy part - great. Too much thinking about a role is a disaster for me. I mean, let's do it, let's get it done".
She played the lead in the TV films A Question of Guilt (1978), in which she plays a woman accused of murdering her children, Mother and Daughter: The Loving War (1980), a remake of Madame X (1981), and a new version of The Rainmaker (1982).
In feature films Weld had a good supporting role in Michael Mann's acclaimed 1981 film Thief, opposite James Caan. She played Al Pacino's wife in Author! Author! (1982) and co-starred with Donald Sutherland in the TV film The Winter of Our Discontent (1983). This performance earned her an Emmy nomination.
In 1984 she appeared in Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America, playing a jeweler's secretary, who is in on a plan to steal a shipment of diamonds. During the robbery, her character goads Robert De Niro's character, David "Noodles" Aaronson, into "raping" her with her complicity.
Weld was reunited with Anthony Perkins in an episode of Mistress of Suspense (1990).
In 1993 she played a police officer's neurotic wife in Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall. She had small supporting roles in Feeling Minnesota (1996), Investigating Sex (2001), and Chelsea Walls (2001).
Weld has been married three times. She was married to screenwriter Claude Harz from 1965 until their divorce in 1970. They had a daughter, Natasha, in 1966. Weld was awarded custody of Natasha in the divorce and $100 a month in child support payments. Weld told Guy Flatley of The New York Times in 1971:
Mama hated my husband--she's a jealous lover, you know. She's hated all the men I've ever been involved with. But I really felt that what I had been doing up to that time with my life was probably wrong, that maybe what I should be was a housewife. Our marriage lasted 5 years. It was just another one of my mistakes.
She married British actor, musician, and comedian Dudley Moore in 1975. In 1976 they had a son, Patrick, now an actor, director and editor, but they divorced in 1980. Five years later, she married Israeli concert violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman. They divorced in 1998.
Offhand references to Weld sometimes appear in fiction and music. Some works, though, have been more directly inspired by her:
|1956||Rock, Rock, Rock||Dori Graham|
|1958||Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!||Comfort Goodpasture|
|1959||The Five Pennies||Dorothy Nichols, age 12 to 14|
|1960||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre||Beth Lawson in "The Mormons"|
|Because They're Young||Anne Gregor|
|Sex Kittens Go to College||Jody|
|High Time||Joy Elder|
|The Private Lives of Adam and Eve||Vangie Harper|
|1961||Return to Peyton Place||Selena Cross|
|Wild in the Country||Noreen Braxton|
|1962||Bachelor Flat||Libby Bushmill aka Libby Smith|
|Naked City||Ora Mae Youngham||S03EP18 - 1962 02 07 "A Case Study of Two Savages"|
|1963||Soldier in the Rain||Bobby Jo Pepperdine|
|1965||I'll Take Sweden||JoJo Holcomb|
|The Cincinnati Kid||Christian Rudd|
|1966||Lord Love a Duck||Barbara Ann Greene|
|1968||Pretty Poison||Sue Ann Stepanek|
|1970||I Walk the Line||Alma McCain|
|1971||A Safe Place||Susan/Noah|
|1972||Play It as It Lays||Maria Wyeth Lang||Nominated--Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama|
|1974||Reflections of Murder||Vicky|
|1976||F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood||Zelda Fitzgerald||(TV)|
|1977||Looking for Mr. Goodbar||Katherine||Nominated--Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1978||Who'll Stop the Rain||Marge Converse|
|1978||A Question of Guilt||Doris Winters||Movie for TV|
|1980||Serial||Kate Linville Holroyd|
|1981||Madame X||Holly Richardson||(TV)|
|1982||Author! Author!||Gloria Travalian|
CableACE Award for Actress in a Theatrical or Non-Musical Program
|1983||The Winter of our Discontent||Margie Young-Hunt||(TV)|
Nominated--Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Miniseries or a Movie
|1984||Once Upon a Time in America||Carol||Nominated--BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role|
|1986||Circle of Violence||Georgia Benfield|
|1988||Heartbreak Hotel||Marie Wolfe|
|1993||Falling Down||Amanda Pendergast|
|1996||Feeling Minnesota||Nora Clayton|
|2001||Investigating Sex||Sasha Faldo|