She was one of the most gleefully obscene women in cinema and she hoped for a joyful death. Oscar nominated Susan Tyrrell, star of cult hits like Flesh And Blood and Cry-Baby, died on Saturday at the age of 67. Her final film, Kid-Thing, will screen at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
A respected stage actress who might have been a mainstream star, Tyrrell chose from the outset to do things her way, choosing challenging and outré roles that deliberately provoked audiences. She was friends with John Waters and Andy Warhol, and worked with Oingo Boingo. She was crazy about rap musc and loved collecting insects. Alongside her film career she starred in popular TV programmes like Starsky And Hutch and Kojak. Even after losing both her legs to the blood disease thrombocythemia, she continued to work.
Receiving an Oscar nomination for her performance in John Huston's Fat City, Tyrrell always sought out the unusual. "I find beauty in the grotesque," she said, "and in the sweet soul inside someone who has been able to get through their life without being a rat's ass. Such people should be collected, should be swept up immediately and kept in a box of broken people. I've collected people my whole life. Sometimes it ends badly, but it's absolutely never on my part. Because I know how fabulous I am."