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'Raging Bull' actress Theresa Saldana dies
Her best-known big-screen role was opposite Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's 1980 movie "Raging Bull," starring Robert De Niro.

LOS ANGELES (AFP).- "Raging Bull" actress and crime victims advocate Theresa Saldana has died in Los Angeles at the age of 61.

Saldana died on Monday in a Los Angeles hospital where she was being treated for pneumonia, news reports said.

Her best-known big-screen role was opposite Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's 1980 movie "Raging Bull," starring Robert De Niro.

Saldana also appeared in the 1991-96 television show "The Commish" -- for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe -- and a number of other TV shows.

Saldana gained notoriety in 1982 for surviving a knife attack outside her home in West Hollywood by a stalker. A water delivery man who happened to be at the scene stopped her attacker. 

She went on to become an outspoken advocate for crime victims, setting up support groups and encouraging others to do the same.

Michael Chiklis, who played her husband on "The Commish", expressed his condolences.

"Painful to hear the news of Theresa's passing. My family & I extend our love, condolences & support to her family in their time of grieving," he wrote in a tweet.

Saldana starred in a 1984 movie about her life, "Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story."

"As you see in the film, the period when I finally meet other victims is when I take a step toward help," she told NPR in a 1984 interview.

"When you meet with other people is when you realize you're not alone, and it's easier to cope when you're not the only one who's been through it."

Saldana is survived by her husband, fellow actor Phil Peters, and their daughter Tianna. 

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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