Theresa Saldana's legacy shouldn't be overshadowed by her scary stalker attack

Jun 8, 2016 at 12:24 p.m. ET
Image: Harry Langdon/Getty Images

The death of 61-year-old actress Theresa Saldana is a tragic reminder of all the good work she's done for women throughout her life.

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Saldana, who starred in The Commish and Raging Bull, dedicated much of her life to helping women who were victims of stalking. After surviving an attack by a stalker during which she was stabbed 10 times, Saldana created the Victims for Victims organization, which advocated for anti-stalking laws all over the country. She also starred as herself in 1984's Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, an Emmy-nominated TV movie that chronicled her life and work as an advocate for stalking victims.

Family members told Los Angeles Times that Saldana died Monday. She had reportedly been hospitalized in L.A. with an undisclosed illness. The cause for her death hasn't been publicly released.

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During her acting career, Saldana appeared in the 1978 Beatles film I Wanna Hold Your Hand, as well as multiple TV series, including The Twilight Zone, All My Children, Law and Order, Matlock, T.J. Hooker and New Kids on the Block. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role alongside Michael Chiklis in The Commish.

"Painful to hear the news of Theresa's passing. My family and I extend our love, condolences & support to her family in their time of grieving," Chicklis tweeted Tuesday in response to reports that Saldana had died.

Saldana retired from acting in 2004, but never stopped working with Victims for Victims, tirelessly making the world a better, safer place for women, and we hope that's what she'll be remembered for.

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Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

celebrity deaths 2016 slideshow