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Theresa Saldana

  • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
  • Birthday: August 20
Date of passing: 
June 06, 2016

Obituary

Obituary: 

Theresa Saldana was a film and television actress best known for playing Joe Pesci's wife in the 1980 boxing drama Raging Bull, and for her work with Victims for Victims, the organization she established in the aftermath of a 1982 assault in which she was severely injured by a stalker who attacked her with a knife as she was leaving her apartment in West Hollywood, California. Her experience inspired the 1984 made-for-television movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, in which she starred as herself.

Theresa Saldana was a film and television actress best known for playing Joe Pesci's wife in the 1980 boxing drama Raging Bull, and for her work with Victims for Victims, the organization she established in the aftermath of a 1982 assault in which she was severely injured by a stalker who attacked her with a knife as she was leaving her apartment in West Hollywood, California. Her experience inspired the 1984 made-for-television movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, in which she starred as herself.

A native of Brooklyn, Saldana began performing as an adolescent. A 1977 appearance in the Off Broadway play The New York City Street Show led to her first film, Nunzio, released in 1978. That same year marked the release of I Wanna Hold Your Hand, in which she costarred as a New Jersey teen caught up in Beatlemania.

A high point came when director Martin Scorsese cast her as Lenore, wife of Joey LaMotta, played by Pesci, and sister-in-law of Jake LaMotta, played by Robert DeNiro.

Her other movies included Defiance, starring Jan-Michael Vincent, and The Evil That Men Do, starring Charles Bronson.

Saldana also worked extensively in television. In addition to costarring as Michael Chiklis's wife on the ABC drama The Commish, she appeared in episodes of such series as T.J. Hooker, Cagney & Lacey, Simon & Simon, Matlock, Falcon Crest, The Bernie Mac Show and many others.

On March 15, 1982, on her way to a music class, Saldana was assaulted by a man who reportedly had become obsessed with her after seeing her in I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Defiance. He stabbed her 10 times in the chest, arms and legs before a bottled-water deliveryman who was driving by saw what was happening and rushed to the scene, restraining the attacker and saving her life. 

In the years that followed, while resuming her acting career, she remained devoted to Victims for Victims, offering support to others who suffered violent atacks and advocating for anti-stalker legislation.
 
Saldana died on June 6, 2016, in Los Angeles. She was 61.
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