Los Angeles – Actress Theresa Saldana passed away last Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been revealed as of yet.

Theresa Saldana dies at 61
Advocate for stalked celebrities, Theresa Saldana, died at 61. Credit: Santabarbara-online.com

Her passing was announced by fellow director and friend Michael Chiklis on his Twitter account.

Saldana’s career

New Yorker Theresa Saldana came to public attention after starring in “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” an early Beatlemania comedy, in 1978. Years later, she would co-star along with Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull,” a film by Martin Scorcese. She played Lenore LaMotta, the wife of Joe Pesci’s character. Raging Bull was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two for Best Editing and Best Actor.

Saldana also starred in “The Commish,” a TV series that ran from 1991 to 1996, spanning 94 episodes. Her role as Rachel Scali in the series earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 1994.

She is also known to have appeared in Brian De Palma’s “Home Movies,” along Nancy Allen and Kirk Douglas. Saldana retired from acting in 2004.

Stalking incident

Saldana’s stalker was Arthur Richard Jackson, who became obsessed with her after seeing “Defiance” and then Raging Bull. Through a private eye, he managed to call her mother and bait her into telling him Theresa’s address. He impersonated an assistant of Scorcese’s, thus soliciting Saldana’s address.

As Saldana left her house on March 15, 1982, Arthur Jackson proceeded to stab Saldana ten times on her torso, an attack so reckless that his 6-inch knife bent. A man came to help her and held Jackson down. The same method used by Jackson has inspired other stalkers, including Robert John Bardo, who killed Rebecca Schaefer, known for playing Patricia Russell in CBS’s “My Sister Sam.”

Saldana’s and Schaefer’s murders served as the first steps in drafting the first anti-stalking regulations in the state of California. Jackson was incarcerated for almost 14 years and then extradited to the U.K. for robbery and murder. Then, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital where he would spend the rest of his days until his death due to heart failure. Robert John Bardo is still serving life sentence without parole.

After recovering, Saldana became an advocate for stalking victims. She worked on the lobby talks for anti-stalking laws in 1990 and then again for 1994’s Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. She then published a book named Beyond Survival, where she narrates the subsequent events of her life after being assaulted.

California stalking laws were initially drafted by defining a “stalker” as someone who “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person,” posing as a significant threat and forcing the victim to feel fear for its safety.

State laws now prohibit the public access to addresses and driving records in California. Celebrity stalkers have been a troubling event over the course of the past one hundred years, as many horrifying cases of attacks and successful murders have saturated people’s lives and the media.

Source: Daily Mail UK