When Susan Sarandon spoke at a lunch at La Dolce Italia in Melbourne recently she delivered one of her famous, jaw-dropping lines she’s so well-known for when explaining why she’s not a supporter of Democrat’s Hillary Clinton but is a staunch supporter of the Democrat, Bernie Sanders.
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“I go by issues; I don’t vote with my vagina,” the 69-year-old veteran actress said and the 150-strong star-studded audience at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium, who laughed with her, enjoying her candour and outspokenness. Sarandon agreed to speak at the event while visiting our shore as she has some Italian background and says she likes that La Dolce Italia is a strong supporter of the Bully Zero Foundation Australia.
Sarandon explains her backing of Sanders over Clinton in this clip
Along with her international fame for roles in iconic films such as Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma and Louise and Dead Man Walking, Sarandon is well-known for her political activism and the fact she’ll speak out on anything she feels strongly about.
Thelma and Louise
Moving away from the Presidential campaign, the Oscar-winning actress spoke about her well-known movie, Thelma and Louise, considered to be one of the original ground-breaking movies for women and feminist values even now, 25 years after it was made.
Sarandon admitted they had no idea it would become such an iconic film when they were making it, saying: “… we didn’t see it coming.” But she added, it was “… important that women supported one another.”
On ageing: “When what you look like becomes less and less an issue, and what you are is the point.”
Sarandon with 'Thelma and Louise' co-star Geena Davis in the film (top) and in 2014 (below) (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
On getting older
Sarandon says that a lot of women are persisting and the business is changing, so there are now more roles for older women in Hollywood. She has said she likes to choose projects which she can talk about for a long time, “… because now you do publicity for as long as it took to shoot the movie.”
Sarandon, 69, is famously outspoken
“I think the only reason I remain an actor is that you can never quite get it right,” she says. “So there is a challenge to it. It’s always so painful to watch yourself. That never changes. I still sit there and think, ‘Oh, that scene is missing? Wasn’t I good? What happened there?’”
On being positive: “When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.”
Her humble beginnings
Having graced our screens for close to 50 years, Susan Sarandon was born in Queens, New York and was the eldest of nine children to her parents, Lenora and Phillip Tomalin.
A young Susan Sarandon at her First Communion (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
Her maternal grandfather, Giuseppe Criscione, immigrated to the US from Ragusa, Sicily in 1916 and her maternal grandmother, Anita Evelyn Rigali, was the daughter of immigrants from Tuscany, Italy. Sarandon studied at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC where she earned a BA in drama in 1967.
Beautiful then and beautiful now: Sarandon back in 1975 (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
At the age of 20, she married fellow student and actor, Chris Sarandon. She broke into acting when she went along with Chris to an audition for a feature film, Joe, and unintentionally landed her first movie role.
Sarandon scored her first role in Hollywood when her then-husband took her along to one of his auditions (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
On her social conscience: “I try to live my life every day in the present, and try not to turn a blind eye to injustice and need.”
Sarandon starred in the 1998 thriller 'Twilight' alongside Paul Newman and Gene Hackman (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
Rocky Horror Picture Show a cult hit and dating David Bowie
Her next role as Janet in the 1975 cult hit, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, catapulted her to stardom and that same year she starred in The Great Waldo Pepper, opposite Robert Redford.
She kept making movies and following her divorce from Chris Sarandon in 1979, she began a relationship with Atlantic City director, Louis Malle. In the early 1980’s, she had a brief affair with David Bowie, while filming The Hunger.
Sarandon played Mary Beth in the 1975 drama film, 'The Great Waldo Pepper' (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
In 1984 she dated film director, Franco Amurri, and became pregnant with her first child, Eva Amurri. It was later, in 1988, she met actor Tim Robbins on the set of the movie, Bull Durham, and the couple went on to have two sons, John and Miles.
“I think the only reason I remain an actor is that you can never quite get it right. So there is a challenge to it.”
Sarandon with her two sons and daughter, along with actor Brad Renfro and director Joel Schumacher on the set of 'The Client' (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
One of the movies she has been most passionate about is Dead Man Walking. She convinced her partner, Robbins, to take on the project and so while he directed the movie, Sarandon portrayed Sister Helen. This role earnt her an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in 1996.
Sarandon with Christopher Walken in the 1982 film 'Who Am I This Time?' (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
On plastic surgery: “Just because I haven't yet had any plastic surgery, I'm not going to knock it, because I think women have the right to do whatever they want to their bodies that make them feel good about themselves.”
In 1996, U.S magazine 'People' listed Susan Sarandon as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
A new direction
In 2009, Sarandon split from her partner of 21 years, Tim Robbins, 57, and from 2010 to 2015 she dated another younger man, Jonathan Bricklin, 38. Together they launched SPiN – a highly successful chain of ping-pong social clubs in New York Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco.
SPiN's offical queen of ping pong, Sarandon, has been at the forefront of the franchise since it's early loft days in Tribeca, NY (Image: Twitter / Susan Sarandon)
Although no longer in a relationship with Bricklin, Sarandon is still passionate about her SPiN projects. The organisation raises funds and advocates on behalf of the American Youth Table Tennis and Sarandon is often the host for benefits at the venues, raising money for various causes.
We have seen her most recently on the big screen playing an overbearing mother in the film The Meddler with Rose Bryne.
Next she is taking on the role of iconic movie star Bette Davis opposite Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford in an eight-part miniseries scheduled for release in 2017. It also stars Judy Davis and Stanley Tucci. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford famously came together for the 1962 sibling drama Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? which won five Oscars.
At a Cannes event Kering Woman in Motion conversation Sarandon said, “I don't know how it's going to turn out. I’m doing Bette Davis next, with Jessica Lange playing Joan Crawford … I'm kinda scared.”
Susan's first ever headshot (Image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
With her 70th birthday coming up in October we can’t help wonder what will this film star and amazing powerhouse will surprise us with next?
(Feature image: Facebook / Susan Sarandon)
What do you think of Susan Sarandon and her outspoken views? Let us know in the comments section below.