She played the resourceful action hero Ellen Ripley in Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and Alien Resurrection. She also played Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II and Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar.
She attended Stanford University and Yale University.
She challenged genre gender roles by playing a strong feminine character in science fiction, action, and horror movies.
She played her first minor role in Woody Allen's comedy, Annie Hall.