'The Commish' star Theresa Saldana dead at 61 from illness

Carla Harmon
June 19, 2016

A family member broke the news of her death, but no information has been released on a specific cause of death.

The Commish actress Theresa Saldana has died aged 61, according to reports. She was 61. Two friends confirmed her death in Facebook posts Monday.

Brooklyn native Saldana had appeared in a number of films in the late 1970s and early '80s, including as the wife of Joey La Motta (Joe Pesci) in Best Picture Oscar nominee Raging Bull, when she was the victim of a horrific assault. "I have such good memories of working with her on Raging Bull, and I always admired the way that she handled the horrifying attack by a stalker the good that she made of it".

The TV movie was nominated for a prime-time Emmy Award.

Saldana also starred in "The Commish", a TV series that ran from 1991 to 1996, spanning 94 episodes.

She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, in 1994 for her part.

After her attack, Saldana spent several years recovering, before eventually going on to found Victims For Victims, a support and advocacy group devoted to helping those who had been similarly attacked. She is survived by her second husband, Phil Peters, and a daughter. Through a private eye, he managed to call her mother and bait her into telling him Theresa's address.

Saldana also hit headlines in 1982 when overzealous Scottish fan Arthur Richard Jackson stalked the actress and then brutally stabbed her outside her Los Angeles home. She survived the attack, and the man was convicted of attempted murder. 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 served as the voice for the raising issue of violence against celebrities.

The Scottish man served nearly 14 years in prison for the assault and passed away in 2004 from heart failure. Robert John Bardo is still serving a life sentence without parole.

Chiklis took to Twitter to enquire about Saldana's health yesterday after hearing she had passed away.

State laws now prohibit the public access to addresses and driving records in California.

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