Elizabeth carved out a career in her native Britain in plays and movies before heading to the U.S. to star alongside Bette Davis in William Wyler's 1940 film noir The Letter.

The Letter proved to be her final fully credited film role as she quit acting and married Sigourney's U.S. TV executive father Sylvester "Pat" Weaver just two years later.

The Alien star revealed that when she suffered a Hollywood setback Elizabeth hinted that a similar bad experience was behind her decision to quit Tinseltown.

"I never heard anything about it (her mother's film career)," Sigourney told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper. "Once, I was in Hollywood and something discouraging happened and she said, 'Well now you see why I gave it up'."

It was only after her mother died in 2007 that she became fully aware of Elizabeth's illustrious past on stage and screen.

"You know it was years later, after she died that I found all her playbills," the actress said. "She was in repertory (theatre) in England and she was a big star on the London stage in a couple of plays. I would have loved to have talked to her about it but she was so private."

Elizabeth even went so far as to attempt to dissuade her daughter from becoming a film actress.

Speaking about her mother in a 2010 interview with The Guardian Sigourney said, "When I told her I wanted to act, she said: "No, dear, they (the film industry) will eat you alive!"

Luckily, the 67-year-old did not take her mother's advice, with her star-making role as Ellen Ripley in the 1979 science-fiction classic Alien propelling her to a stellar career and three Oscar nominations.

In her seventh decade, the actress is showing no signs of slowing up, as she stars in new movie A Monster Calls, has plans to reprise the role of Ripley in a new Alien movie and is signed up to appear in three of the sequels to James Cameron's Avatar franchise.