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'Sexy' Sigourney Weaver is first lady of sci-fi

Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver's character from the Alien film series, has been named the number one Sci-Fi Woman Of All Time by leading genre website Totalscifionline.com.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Buffy Summers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, came in second place, while Battlestar Galactica's Starbuck played by Katee Sackhoff, completed the top three.

Ripley first appeared in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), in which the plucky Warrant Officer emerged as the sole survivor of the Nostromo's encounter with an acid-blooded alien. The character was originally written as a male role, but 20th Century Fox executive Alan Ladd, Jr suggested they change Ripley to become female to make the protagonist stand out in the genre.

Matt McAllister, Editor of Totalscifionline.com said: "Ripley is one of cinema's seminal characters. She is strong, smart, self-reliant and sexy.

Sigourney Weaver's confident and utterly believable performance also challenged female stereotypes in Hollywood, and proved a far more inspiring action icon than a thousand Arnies."

Ripley was developed further in the smash hit sequel, Aliens (1986), which saw Ripley proving tougher than a unit of marines but also highlighted her motherly bond with the orphan, Newt. Subsequent sequels Alien 3 (1992) and Alien Resurrection (1997) introduced new dimensions to the action heroine, leading to one of the most critically analysed characters in the history of cinema.