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Susan Sarandon: Young 'Rocky Horror' Heroine, Then And Now

Icons | May 16, 2018

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 12: (EDITOR'S NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Susan Sarandon departs the Martinez Hotel during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2016. (Getty Images)

From her early films Joe and The Rocky Horror Picture Show Susan Sarandon quickly became one of those beautiful actresses moviegoers couldn’t get enough of. She's been a regular, smoldering presence on the big screen with her beauty, brains and award-winning acting chops. It didn’t take long for America to discover that wrapped up in that beautiful package was an explosive movie star personality.

Susan Sarandon's First Movie Role Was In 'Joe'

Susan Sarandon in 'Joe' (1970). Source: IMDB

Sarandon’s epic acting career began with the 1970 film Joe. She played the role of Melissa Compton, alongside fellow actors Peter Boyle, Dennis Patrick and Audrey Clair. It was her big debut into the world of Hollywood. Joe was a very poignant film. It was released on the heels of the Democratic National Convention uproar in 1968. The storyline lent itself to several roles for young people, the likes of which who had disrupted the Democratic National Convention at the time.

Susan Sarandon and her (then) husband, Chris, had recently graduated from Catholic University. Chris had been studying to be an actor and was hopeful to land a role. In 1969, Chris and Susan went to a casting call for roles in Joe. His hopes of being offered a role in the film were dashed when he wasn’t chosen. But Susan was just what producers were looking for, and landed a major role.

'Joe' Foreshadowed The Great Career To Come

Sarandon’s first major role was that of a teenage girl who disappeared into a seedy underworld. It was a challenging role, but she was up for it. Through her role in Joe, she captured Hollywood’s attention and the rest is history.

Susan Sarandon's Star Continued To Rise

Shortly after her debut in Joe, Sarandon landed a role appearing in American daytime soap operas Search for Tomorrow and A World Apart, from 1970 to 1971 and she was well on her way! 1972 was the year of her big Broadway debut when she appeared in An Evening with Richard Nixon.

In 1974, Sarandon co-starred in the television movie F. Scott Fitzgerald and "The Last of the Belles." Though Sarandon was well on her way to becoming an important and critically acclaimed actress, it was her next performance -- as Janet Weiss in the campy Rocky Horror Picture Show -- that would secure her fame as a major part of the greatest cult classic of all time.

Susan Sarandon Was In One Of The Most Beloved Films Of All Time

In 1975, Susan Sarandon was cast in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you remember the film, it had a huge cult-like following. Audiences really got into the film which was frequently billed as the “midnight movie.” Crowds would flock to the theater at midnight wearing outrageous costumes and actually acting out the story as they watched. It seems a little bizarre now but at the time, it felt right.

Sarandon Can Play Anything

Sarandon starred in the film Pretty Baby in 1978.

Susan Sarandon was such a stellar actress that she could pull off any role. Her style and look lend themselves to a variety of roles. She can pull off beautiful, sexy, innocent and creepy. She is so versatile that she could be dropped into about any role and have us on the edge of our seats.

Sarandon is an Academy Award and BAFTA Award Winner

Although Susan Sarandon stole our hearts in the 70’s, her career didn’t end there. Sarandon was cast in countless popular and successful films throughout her career, including The Witches of Eastwick (alongside ageless screen sirens Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer), Thelma & Louise and Dead Man Walking, to name a few. Her talent seems to know no bounds.

Sarandon Also Got Involved In Many Causes

Susan Sarandon is so much more than a beautiful woman and talented actress. Besides being celebrated by Hollywood, Sarandon has also been known to be a social and political activist. There are a number, and a variety, of causes near and dear to her heart. She was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1999 and received the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in 2006. She truly believes in giving back.

Sarandon Uses Her Fame To Draw Attention To Issues She Cares About

Susan has long been known as an anti-war activist. She is a staunch humanitarian and views pre-emptive attacks on other countries to be inhumane. She was especially vocal regarding the invasion of Iraq in 2003. She quickly made her opinion known and appeared in commercials and other public platforms in support of her position.

Over the years, Sarandon has forged her way through Hollywood but has also done her best to prove that there is more to life than fame and fortune. She has enjoyed much success in her acting career but that is not really who she is. Those are roles on a screen. What is really important to her is that she honor her responsibility as a humanitarian and to do as much for her fellow man as she can. Fortunately, she has the public spotlight to bring attention to the causes she champions. The reason she does it is not for the attention, but for the good of the people.

Tags: Celebrities When They Were Young | Ladies | Susan Sarandon | The 1970s | Then And Now

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.