Weaver began using the name "Sigourney Weaver" in 1963 after a minor character (Sigourney Howard) in F. Scott Fitzgerald´s novel The Great Gatsby. She is known especially for the lead role of Ellen Ripley in the Alien movie franchise Alien, Aliens, Alien³ and Alien Resurrection. She is also well known for her roles in the Ghostbusters films, Gorillas in the Mists Working Girl and Avatar.
After private high school in Connecticut, Weaver attended California's Stanford University. It was there, that she realised her true dream was to become an actress. After graduating from Stanford with a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature in 1971, Weaver moved back east to Connecticut to attend Yale Drama School. She finished the program in 1974, one year before another actress and new friend, Meryl Streep.
She first appeared in the TV series Somerset (1976) and later she achieved the breakthrough in Hollywood through the movie Alien (1979). Her 1986 Academy Award nomination for Aliens is considered as a landmark in the recognition of science fiction, action and horror genres, as well as a major step in challenging the gender role in cinema. Weaver progressively received fame for her numerous contributions to the science fiction film history (including minor roles in successful works such as Futurama, WALL-E, Paul and the Cabin in the Woods) and gained the nickname of "The Sci-Fi Queen". She also played the lead role as Secretary of State Elaine Barrish on USA Network´s Political Animals miniseries.
Weaver has been nominated for three Academy Awards:Best Actress for Aliens and Gorillas in the Mist, The Story of Diane Fossey, and Best Supproting Actress for Working Girl. She also won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Ice Storm and Saturn Awards for Aliens and Avatar. She also earned Emmy Award, Dram Desk Award and Tony Award nominations. She has been nominated for seven Global Award nominations and won both Best Actressin Drama and Best Supporting Actress in 1988 for Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl, becoming the first person ever to have won two acting Golden Globe Awards in the same year.