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Theresa Saldana of 'Raging Bull,' 'Commish,' dead at 61

By Yvette C. Hammett

LOS ANGELES, June 8 (UPI) -- Actress Theresa Saldana, known for her roles in Raging Bull and television's The Commish, has died at 61 after an illness.

The Golden Globe nominee, though a prominent actress, was probably best known for living through a near-death knife attack by a stalker in 1982, the L.A Times reported.

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

Saldana was attacked by a disturbed fan outside of her West Hollywood apartment in 1982 and stabbed 10 times. It was.one of the earliest cases to bring attention to the issue of celebrity stalking.

She played herself in a 1984 television movie, Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, which was nominated for a prime-time Emmy Award. Saldana also published a memoir and founded a group called Victims for Victims, which fought for anti-stalking laws.

Saldina, speaking about playing herself and recreating the attack, said she hoped it would make a difference, "not just to victims of crime but to others who have been through a tragedy, that you can get through almost anything."

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The actress starred in numerous films in the 1970s, gaining traction for her career when she starred in Robert Zemeckis' 1978 film I Wanna Hold your Hand, Variety reported.. She later appeared in Raging Bull playing the wife of Joey LaMotta, played by Joe Pesci.

Michael Chiklis, who played Saldana's TV husband in The Commish, tweeted his sadness at hearing of her passing.

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

She is survived by her husband, Phil Peters, and a daughter.

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