Theresa Saldana

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Theresa Saldana
Saldana in 1981
Born(1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 60)
New York, New York, U.S.
Years active1978–2004
Spouse(s)Phil Peters (1989–present)
ChildrenTianna Peters
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Theresa Saldana
Saldana in 1981
Born(1954-08-20) August 20, 1954 (age 60)
New York, New York, U.S.
Years active1978–2004
Spouse(s)Phil Peters (1989–present)
ChildrenTianna Peters

Theresa Saldana (born August 20, 1954) is an American actress, known for her work in motion pictures and television. She is perhaps best known for her role as Rachel Scali, the wife of Police Commissioner Tony Scali, in the 1990s television series The Commish, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, in 1994. Major film roles include the part of 'Lenore La Motta', the wife of Joe Pesci's character, in the 1980 feature film Raging Bull and Robert Zemeckis's Beatle-mania ensemble I Wanna Hold Your Hand. She also appeared in Home Movies with Kirk Douglas and Nancy Allen for director Brian De Palma in 1980. She is also known for bringing the crime of stalking to early attention after surviving a murder attempt by an obsessed fan in 1982.

Early life[edit]

Saldana was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the daughter of Divina and Tony Saldana.[1]

Stalking incident[edit]

On March 15, 1982, Saldana was the stalking victim of Arthur Richard Jackson, a 46-year-old drifter from Aberdeen, Scotland. Jackson became attracted to Saldana after seeing her in the 1980 films Defiance and Raging Bull.[2][3] He acquired Saldana's address by hiring a private investigator to obtain the unlisted phone number of Saldana's mother. Jackson then called Saldana's mother and posed as Martin Scorsese's assistant, saying he needed Saldana's residential address in order to contact her for replacing an actress in a film role in Europe.

Jackson approached Saldana in front of her West Hollywood residence in broad daylight and stabbed her in the torso 10 times with a 5 12-inch (14 cm) knife, nearly killing her. His attack was so fierce that he bent the blade. Although there were many nearby onlookers,[3] the attack was only interrupted when delivery man Jeff Fenn heard her cries, rushed from the second floor of an apartment building, and subdued Jackson. Saldana recovered after four hours of surgery and a four-month hospital stay at the Motion Picture Hospital. She relived the incident in the made for TV movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story and again in an episode of Hunter.

Jackson served almost 14 years in prison for the assault and making subsequent threats against Saldana and her rescuer while in prison. He was then extradited to the United Kingdom in 1996 to be tried for a 1966 robbery/murder. Jackson (who once saw himself as "the benevolent angel of death") was found not guilty by diminished responsibility in 1997 and committed to a British psychiatric hospital, where he died of heart failure in 2004 at age 68.

Jackson's method to find and approach Saldana inspired stalker Robert John Bardo to hire a private investigator to contact Rebecca Schaeffer, a young actress whom he subsequently murdered in 1989.

Victim advocacy[edit]

Following her long recovery, Saldana founded the Victims for Victims organization and participated in lobbying for the 1990 anti-stalking law and the 1994 Driver's Privacy Protection Act, both of which came into being partly as a consequence of the attack. The experience also inspired Saldana to play herself in the television movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, and she authored the book Beyond Survival, a memoir of her experiences after being attacked.

Performing arts advocacy[edit]

Saldana supports awareness for The Jazz Tap Ensemble, of which her daughter is a member. The group raises money for training gifted teenaged dancers.[4][citation needed]



1978I Wanna Hold Your HandGrace Corrigan
1980Home MoviesJudy
1980Raging BullLenore
1984Evil That Men Do, TheThe Evil That Men DoRhiana Hidalgo / Nancy
1988Night Before, TheThe Night BeforeRhonda
1988Double RevengeAngie Corello
1989Of Men and AngelsMaria
1990Angel TownMaria
1999Carlo's WakeTheresa Brock
2004Illusion InfinityMaria
2004Gang WarzCarmela Cruz


1979240-RobertRosieEpisode: "The Applicant"
1980Sophia Loren: Her Own StoryMaria ScicoloneTV film
1981NurseRitaEpisode: "The Gifts"
1983Seven Brides for Seven BrothersAngelinaEpisode: "Promised Land"
1983T. J. HookerMaria SantiniEpisode: "Too Late for Love"
1983American PlayhouseEpisode: "Miss Lonelyhearts"
1985Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight ZoneInezEpisode: "Dead Woman's Shoes"
1985Cagney & LaceyDr. StrathmoreEpisode: "Old Ghosts"
1986Simon & SimonMrs. KarnofskyEpisode: "Full Moon Blues"
1986MatlockSonia CardenasEpisode: "The Affair"
1986Tales from the DarksideAudrey WebsterEpisode: "Black Widows"
1987HunterJennifer HartmanEpisode: "Any Second Now"
1987Santa BarbaraCarlotta QuivarEpisodes 689 and 691
1987CBS Schoolbreak SpecialLaura ChaconEpisode: "Juvi"
1987Highwayman, TheThe HighwaymanAngela BrownTV film
1988Buck JamesMarta OrtizEpisode: "Lives in the Balance"
1988Falcon CrestPretty WomanEpisode: "False Faces"
1990MacGyverMariaEpisode: "The Treasure of Manco"
1990New Kids on the BlockRosa (voice)Regular role (15 episodes)
1991–1996Commish, TheThe CommishRachel ScaliRegular role (92 episodes)
1991Confessions of Crimeseries host
1993Shameful SecretsRachel MoralesTV film
1994Captain Planet and the PlaneteersMame Slaughter (voice)Episodes: "Orangu-Tangle", "Horns a'Plenty"
1995Law & OrderJurorEpisode: "House Counsel"
1995Jonny Quest Versus the Cyber InsectsDr. Eve Belage (voice)TV film
1996She Woke Up PregnantDoris CantoreTV film
1996Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, TheThe Real Adventures of Jonny QuestEstella Velasquez (voice)Episode: "The Mummies of Malengue"
1997Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, TheThe Real Adventures of Jonny QuestEstella Velasquez (voice)Episode: "The Robot Spies"
1997Diagnosis: MurderKirsten FoxxEpisode: "In Defense of Murder"
1997Nothing SacredPaulaEpisodes: "Parents and Children", "Roman Catholic Holiday"
1997All My ChildrenChristina VargasTV series
1998Martial LawMaria HamiltonEpisode: "Bad Seed"
1999Thrill SeekersCortezTV film
2000Ready to RunSonja OrtizTV film
2001Batman BeyondMother (voice)Episode: "Unmasked"
2003Bernie Mac Show, TheThe Bernie Mac ShowLydiaEpisode: "Maid Man"



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