Her title role in the 1987 thriller "Black Widow" hasn't been fatal to her career, but Theresa Russell has had to fight her femme fatale image.

"I hope people's image of me is not that of a bimbo," the California-born actress, who now resides in London, said recently. "I wish I didn't have the femme fatale image. I'm not comfortable with it, and I think it's kind of silly. But I'm most afraid that people in the industry have that image, and I don't want to be pigeonholed in the parts I'm offered."

Russell said she discovered early that her beauty could open doors.

"It sounds terribly conceited to talk about it, but you do learn very early how to get certain things with your beauty. It's not fair and it's not nice, but it's true."