Film: Fan Facts; Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver stars in `The Ice Storm', which opens today.

Done Roman: Until the age of 14, Sigourney was plain old Susan Weaver. Then she read The Great Gatsby and decided she would take the name of one of the novel's minor characters. Anyone who thinks this an odd choice ought to bear in mind the moniker Sigourney's father had in mind for her: Flavia. He was interested in Roman history and Sigourney should be grateful she got away with "Susan" - her brother wound up as Trajan.

The percentage game: Try this pay-scale on your boss. Sigourney's debut film role in 1977, a part in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, netted the actress $50. Twenty years and 220,000 per cent later, her salary for her part in Alien Resurrection was said to be $11m.

Below decks: Sigourney has claimed that the turning point in her acting career came with a part in Christopher Durang's play Titanic: "I played this little girl with braids who was quite insane and kept a pet hedgehog in her vagina. After that I realised there was no looking back."

Lost in space: She got her big break when the producers of Alien chose the unknown actress over Veronica Cartwright, for whom the role of Lt Ellen Ripley had been envisaged. Her ongoing tussles with the aliens sometimes proved to be a burden, though. The 48-year-old reportedly missed out on Alien director Ridley Scott's acclaimed Thelma and Louise because of her involvement in the third instalment.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Weaver beat Demi Moore to a slaphead by a good five years when she she shaved her hair for Alien3. The 5'11'' actress cut an imposing figure: "My husband pretended he liked it, then told me when it had grown back that he hated it. My baby daughter tried not to look at me for a while [although] she didn't have any hair either! I found it very liberating having no hair at all. None of us had hair, the whole cast, so if you saw a bald person at Pinewood you knew that it was a friend of yours."

Mike Higgins

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