Theresa Saldana, the Raging Bull actress who survived a stalker’s brutal attack to become a crime victim’s advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with The Commish and other TV shows, has died. She was 61.
Saldana had been suffering from pneumonia and died Monday at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to her longtime friend, Soorya Townley, who called the actress a “warm, caring person who always put others’ needs before her own.
Saldana co-starred in the 1991-96 drama The Commish as the supportive wife of Michael Chiklis’ police commissioner. Her most notable big-screen role was opposite Joe Pesci in Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film starring Robert De Niro.
In 1982, Saldana was repeatedly stabbed by an obsessed man in front of her West Hollywood apartment. The attack was stopped by a then-water deliveryman, Jeff Fenn, who held the man for police.
Scottish drifter Arthur Jackson served more than a decade in prison for the crime before he was extradited to GreatmBritain to face charges in a case there.
Saldana, who endured a prolonged hospitalization, was both physically and mentally scarred and received treatment for both problems. She went on to found a support and lobbying group, Victims for Victims, and played herself in the 1984 TV movie Victims For Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story. She also wrote Beyond Survival, a memoir.