Theresa Saldana, the actress known onscreen for starring in The Commish and Raging Bull and offscreen for surviving a grisly stalker attack and becoming a victims’ rights advocate, has died in Los Angeles. She was 61.
The Los Angeles Times confirmed the news.
On the 1990s television series The Commish, Saldana played Rachel Scali, the devoted wife of Michael Chiklis’s titular character, a former NYPD detective who becomes a suburban police commissioner in upstate New York. Saldana’s work on the show earned her a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actress in 1993.
Chiklis shared his condolences Tuesday on Twitter, writing that it was “painful to hear the news of Theresa’s passing.”
In Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed boxing drama Raging Bull, Saldana played Lenora LaMotta, the wife of Joe Pesci’s Joey LaMotta and sister-in-law of Robert De Niro’s Jake LaMotta.
In 1982, two years after Raging Bull, Saldana was nearly killed by a deranged fan who stabbed her several times outside her West Hollywood apartment. (The attacker, Arthur Richard Jackson, was convicted of attempted murder and inflicting great bodily injury, and served additional time for making continued death threats toward Saldana. He died in 2004.)
Surviving the harrowing ordeal, Saldana founded Victims for Victims, an organization that advocated for anti-stalking laws. She also played herself in the 1984 TV movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story.
Saldana’s other credits included I Wanna Hold Your Hand, The Evil That Men Do, T.J. Hooker, Cagney & Lacey, and Law & Order.