One of the most fascinating characters in Hollywood history, Warren Beatty was born Henry Warren Beaty in Richmond, Virginia on March 30, 1937. His mother, Kathlyn, was a drama teacher who gave it up to settle down in Virginia and raise a family, although it was never in doubt that Beatty and his sister, the actress and dancer Shirley MacLaine, would themselves be raised to pursue stardom - each was urged to be successful and achieve from a very early age.
Beatty attended high school in Arlington, Virginia and then Northwestern University, but, not to be outdone by his rising-star big sister, dropped out after his first year to study acting under the legendary Stella Adler. He found his first screen role, in the TV sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959), to be "ridiculous" and quickly abandoned it to work on the Broadway stage, the highlight of which was his Tony-nominated performance in "A Loss of Roses".
Beatty's first major film role came in the drama Splendor in the Grass (1961), as the confused Bud. Critics refused to take the handsome young Beatty seriously, and he strove to turn this around with his arty crime drama Mickey One (1965), directed by Arthur Penn, which got favorable notices but did not find an audience. Next he starred in a light-weight comedy, Promise Her Anything (1965), along with the lovely Leslie Caron and the charismatic Beatty, already a Lothario, began an affair with his married co-star which was cited in Caron's divorce proceedings.
Beatty teamed up again with Penn for the movie that would elevate his status in Hollywood, the classic Bonnie and Clyde (1967), in which he and co-star Faye Dunaway played the quirky outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The movie's powerful performances, strong direction and controversially graphic violence made it a huge hit, and Beatty finally found himself taken seriously.
Over the next decade, Beatty starred in, produced and occasionally directed some of the most important films in Hollywood, some critically praised, such as McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971); others prescient social commentaries, such as Shampoo (1975) which itself became an important event in popular culture; others were wonderful updates of Hollywood classics, such as Heaven Can Wait (1978). He capped this all off with his hugely ambitious recounting of the American radical journalist John Reed's experiences in Bolshevik Russia, Reds (1981), for which Beatty, already nominated for acting Oscars several times, finally won as best director. Beatty was an intrinsic part of the renaissance of Hollywood in the 1970s, when films were being made every year that were important as well as successful.
Beatty's remarkable career stalled in the 1980s. In fact, he was absent from the screen for most of that decade, and when his next film after Reds (1981) finally came, it was the legendarily disastrous Ishtar (1987), one of the biggest film catastrophes of not only the decade, but all time. Beatty's next movie, Dick Tracy (1990) was a summer blockbuster and received rave reviews from the critics as well. Following this came Bugsy (1991), a biopic of the life of gangster and Las Vegas visionary Bugsy Siegel, which was another box office failure. Beatty married his co-star, Annette Bening, and produced and starred with her in another costly disaster, Love Affair (1994). Beatty revisited his "Ishtar" nadir with his expensive 2001 comedy Town & Country (2001), which was both a box office and critical debacle.
Fortunately, in the midst of all this bad news Beatty's creative best resurfaced in 1998 with his Bulworth (1998), an arch political satire about a liberal California senator forced to resort to the right-wing politics of the day to retain his seat. Disillusioned, Bullworth puts out a contract on his own life and while waiting to die decides to graphically show the ugliness that has become politics to the public, but his fatal plan is complicated when he falls for a beautiful young woman from South Central LA (Halle Berry). Bulworth (1998) was a reminder that Beatty was still capable of making movies that are remarkable, entertaining and successful.
In his prime Beatty was almost as famous for his love life as he was for his movie-making, having been connected with a galaxy of beautiful starlets, a "who's who" list reported to include Madonna, Cher, Natalie Wood, Lana Wood, Diane Keaton, Julie Christie, Leslie Caron, Goldie Hawn, Isabelle Adjani, Liv Ullmann, Carly Simon, Inger Stevens, Janice Dickinson, Joan Collins, Michelle Phillips, Kate Jackson, Britt Ekland, Jean Seberg, Mamie Van Doren, Carol Alt, Brigitte Bardot, Justine Bateman, and Elle Macpherson. Notorious for his alleged "love 'em and leave 'em" treatment of many of these women, an aging Beatty had the tables turned on him by the sultry diva, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, who unceremoniously dropped Beatty to pursue W. Axl Rose of rock band 'Guns N' Roses'. Soon after that, Beatty settled down with Bening. The couple has four children.
Warren Beatty has been nominated for 15 Academy Awards, including winning the Best Director Award and its highest honor, the Irving G. Thalberg Award. He has been nominated for 16 Golden Globe Awards and won six, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which he received in 2007. Only Beatty and Orson Welles have been nominated for producer, director, writer and actor in the same film. Welles did it once (for Citizen Kane), and Beatty did it twice (for Heaven Can Wait and Reds).
Beatty was born Henry Warren Beaty in Richmond, Virginia on March 30, 1937. His mother, Kathlyn Corinne (nee MacLean), was a Nova Scotia-born teacher, and his father, Ira Owens Beaty, was a PhD. of educational psychology, a public school administrator, and dealt in real estate. His sister is actress Shirley MacLaine.
Upon graduation from high school Beatty studied liberal arts at Northwestern University, but left after his freshman year to move to New York City, where he studied acting with Stella Adler. Beatty started his career making appearances on television shows such as Studio One (1957), Kraft Television Theatre (1957), and Playhouse 90 (1959), though he gained considerable attention for Tony-nominated performance in William Inge's A Loss of Roses on the Broadway stage.
Following his Broadway success, Beatty made his film debut as Bud Stamper in Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961), opposite Natalie Wood. The film was a critical and box office success and Beatty was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, and received the award for New Star of the Year. Beatty's continued success landed him starring roles in six films over the next four years.
Then, in 1966, Beatty produced and acted in Bonnie and Clyde at age 29. He assembled writers Robert Benton and David Newman and director Arthur Penn, and took full responsibility for the production, including the cast, script and delivery of the film. It was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and received seven Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
After the success of Bonnie and Clyde, Beatty continued to star in, produce and occasionally direct some of the most important films in Hollywood. In 1974, Beatty produced, co-wrote and acted in Shampoo, directed by Hal Ashby, which was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay, as well as five Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. In 1978, Beatty directed, produced, wrote and acted in Heaven Can Wait. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay. It also won three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
In 1981, Beatty wrote, directed, produced and acted in Reds, an historical epic about the Communist journalist John Reed who observed the Russian October Revolution - a project Beatty had begun researching and filming for as far back as 1970. It was a critical and commercial success and received 12 Academy Award nominations, including four for Beatty for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay. Beatty won for Best Director. The film also received seven Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay. Beatty won the Golden Globe for Best Director.
In 1990, Beatty produced and directed Dick Tracy, and played the title role. The film was critically acclaimed and one of the highest grossers of the year. It received seven Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, including for Best Picture. In 1991, he produced and starred as the real-life gangster Bugsy Siegel in the critically and commercially acclaimed Bugsy, directed by Barry Levinson, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. The film also received eight Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor. In 1998, he wrote, produced, directed and starred in the political satire Bulworth, which was critically acclaimed and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. The film also received three Golden Globe Award nominations, for Best Picture, Actor, and Screenplay.
In addition to his work in film, Beatty has also been active in the Democratic Party since the 1960s. In multiple forums he has addressed campaign finance reform, the increasing disparity of wealth, universal health care, gun control, and the need for the Democratic Party to return to its roots. He also played active roles in the political campaigns of such candidates as Robert F. Kennedy, George McGovern, Jerry Brown and Gary Hart.
Beatty married actress Annette Bening on March 12, 1992. They have four children.
|Annette Bening||(3 March 1992 - present) 4 children|
Good looks somewhere between boyish and devilish
Tall frame, lean physique and dark hair
Films often portray edgy, iconoclastic anti-heroes
Known on-screen and off-screen for being highly charming to women
His political views expounded by the "new" Jay Bulworth in the movie Bulworth (1998) are really his own.
Younger brother of Shirley MacLaine.
Attended Northwestern University but dropped out after one year. Member Sigma Chi fraternity.
Has four children with Annette Bening: Kathlyn (b. January 8, 1992), Benjamin (b. August 23, 1994), Isabel (b. January 11, 1997), and Ella (b. April 8, 2000).
Was the first choice to play Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972), but he turned it down.
Was originally cast as the president in Mars Attacks! (1996).
Was the first choice to play the lead in The Way We Were (1973).
Received ten offers of football scholarship after graduating from high school. He turned them all down.
Is allergic to oysters.
Uncle of actress Sachi Parker.
Turned down the role of Bill in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) because of the violent nature of the movie.
Tested for the role of Tony in West Side Story (1961).
Rumored to have been the subject of Carly Simon hit, 'You're So Vain'.
He has a photographic memory for phone numbers. He can dial a touch tone phone using the same hand technique as telephone operators.
In the films he produces, he usually plays characters who lose something important by the end of the film.
Was an advisor on George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign.
Credited with founding the concept of a political fund-raising concert when he and his girlfriend Julie Christie backed the "Together with McGovern" concert in 1972 featuring Barbra Streisand, Carole King, James Taylor and even reuniting Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel (Simon and Garfunkel).
He directed 7 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Jack Warden, Dyan Cannon, Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Maureen Stapleton, Al Pacino and himself (in Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Reds (1981). Maureen Stapleton won an Oscar for her performance in Reds (1981).
Premiere Magazine ranked him as #29 on a list of the Greatest Movie Stars of All Time in their Stars in Our Constellation feature (2005).
Was slated to play the lead role in Francis Ford Coppola's dead project "Megaoplis".
John F. Kennedy wanted Beatty to play him in PT 109 (1963), after learning that director Elia Kazan had said that if anybody were to play JFK, it should be Beatty since they had so much in common. As Kazan stated, "Warren had everything Jack had. Looks, intelligence, cunning and a commanding eye with the girls. Warren also suffered from lower back trouble". Kennedy himself suggested Beatty to Warner Bros to play him. Jack L. Warner asked Beatty to fly over to Washington to meet JFK and talk about the movie with him, but Beatty did not want to make the trip, nor play the part. Beatty found the script too weak, that there was a surprising lack of action. His assessment turned out to be right: Cliff Robertson played the part and the movie flopped. Months later, JFK and Beatty met and Kennedy had to concede that Beatty's decision not to make the movie had been right. Beatty and Kennedy remained very good friends up until Kennedy's death in 1963.
Along with Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Richard Attenborough and Kevin Costner, he is one of six people to win and Academy Award for "Best Director", though they are mainly known as actors.
Said that if they ever made a movie about his life story, Colin Farrell is the only person he thinks could play him.
Lived with Julie Christie from 1967 to 1973.
A relative of his on his mothers side was the last sitting Communist member of the Canadian Parliament.
Turned down the lead in The Way We Were (1973), Beatty also rejected Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) because he wanted to work with George Stevens on The Only Game in Town (1970). Turned down The Sting (1973) and The Great Gatsby (1974) so that he could devote his time to the George McGovern presidential campaign.
Beatty first espied future long-term lover Julie Christie at the 1967 Royal Command Performance of the film Born Free (1966) in London, which he attended with his then-girlfriend, Leslie Caron. Caron and Beatty were situated near Christie in the reception line for Queen Elizabeth II, and Beatty first saw Christie in person when he turned to watch the Queen shake hands with her. Beatty inveigled his friend Richard Sylbert to tell her to call him. She did, he flew up to the San Francisco location of the Petulia (1968) shoot and, after a rocky start, they became lovers. She made her first public appearance with Beatty at a sneak preview of _Bonnie and Clyde (1967)_ for the Hollywood elite. It took them several months to rid themselves of their then-current lovers before they came together in a committed relationship, although they usually maintained separate households for the length of their long romance. Most of those who knew them said they shared a passion for the truth. Beatty told his friends he had asked Christie to marry him, but she refused as she did not want children. While filming Shampoo (1975) in 1974, Beatty bought his dream house and brought Christie over to view it. When she realized he had already assigned several rooms as nurseries, it dawned on her that their ideas for the future were too far apart to be able to maintain their relationship. She ended her long love affair with Beatty by phone, in the fall of 1974. His longest and most lasting relationship until he married Annette Bening, the mother of his four children, Beatty considered Christie his wife and told the press in 1971 that he would pay her alimony if they split up, if she wanted it. They did, but she didn't. When Beatty was awarded the Irving Thalberg Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in the year 2000, Christie was one of the friends and co-workers who appeared in a film tribute to her former lover.
Became close to Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Beatty's relationship with Robert F. Kennedy was closer than the one Beatty had had with John F. Kennedy. Beatty was particularly valuable during the campaign in firing up volunteers for such mundane activities as door-to-door canvassing. Robert F. Kennedy was impressed by Beatty's thorough understanding of the issues. After the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in Beatty's hometown of Los Angeles, Beatty became a vocal gun control advocate.
Once worked as a cocktail lounge pianist.
After coming to New York at 19 to pursue an acting career, he temporarily supported himself by working as a sandhog during the building of a new tube of the Lincoln Tunnel between New York and New Jersey.
His performance as Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is ranked #32 on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes & Villains. This is ranking he shares with Faye Dunaway, who portrayed Bonnie Parker.
Turned down the role of Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997). He later said that it was one of the few choices in his career that he regretted. Burt Reynolds garnered an Academy Award nomination for his performance in the film.
A political liberal, he personally campaigned for South Dakota Senator George McGovern in the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential primary in 1972.
What's New Pussycat (1965), a name he often called girlfriends, was written for him, but he turned down the role when Leslie Caron - his current flame - was turned down by producers for the other lead.
Long planned a biopic of Howard Hughes to produce and star in. It has yest to be made and it's uncertain whether or not Beatty has actually completed a script or if he also plans on directing it.
Claims he was offered the lead role in Rocky (1976).
Turned down a role in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).
Has expressed interest in producing, directing and starring in a live action Pokemon movie, with himself playing the villain Giovanni, as Pokemon is his youngest's and second youngest's favorite cartoon.
His two favorite cartoon characters are Daffy Duck (who is his all time favorite) and Johnny Bravo.
Only three times in Academy Award history have director-collaborators been nominated for Best Directing Oscars: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story (1961), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for No Country for Old Men (2007). (Wise/Robbins and the Coens actually won the award).
Despite their political differences, he is good friends with John McCain and Nancy Davis. He was also a longtime friend of Ronald Reagan since his early career in Hollywood. As President, Reagan invited Beatty to screen his film Reds (1981) at the White House.
He and Clint Eastwood are the only actor-directors to earn Best Actor and Best Director Oscar nominations for the same film two separate times.
Played two characters whose names differ by one letter: Joe Grady in "The Only Game in Town" and Joe Frady in "The Parallax View".
(On his attitude toward movie promotion): In a way, I'd rather ride down the street on a camel than give what is sometimes called an in-depth interview. I'd rather ride down the street on a camel nude. In a snowstorm. Backwards.
Charity is taking an ugly girl to lunch.
Lenin (V.I. Lenin) said that people vote with their feet. Well, that's what's happening. They either go, or they don't go. It's all politics. It's all demographics.
I'm old, I'm young, I'm intelligent, I'm stupid. My tide goes in and out.
Movies are fun, but they're not a cure for cancer.
When asked why he never married any of his many girlfriends: Just because you need a quart of milk doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a whole cow.
In a way, I'd rather ride down the street on a camel than give what is sometimes called an in-depth interview. I'd rather ride down the street on a camel nude. In a snowstorm. Backwards.
My notion of a wife at forty is that a man should be able to change her, like a bank note, for two twenties.
For me, the highest level of sexual excitement is in a monogamous relationship.
You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play.
Polygamy is dumb fun. Monogamy requires much more sensitivity.
On Stanley Kubrick: It was common knowledge that Stanley always knew something you didn't.
Marlon Brando was more than a uniquely gifted and influential actor. He was also an aroused citizen with broad social perspectives. Generous with his friendship and candid personal insights, he was an endlessly entertaining good neighbor. Annette [Annette Bening] and I will miss him very much.
[on former lover Madonna] She doesn't want to live off camera, much less talk.
(On doing stunts): You try to measure up the safety concerns with the adrenaline concerns, the narcissism concerns, and the ambition concerns, and hope you don't make a mistake. Usually I'd wear some kind of pad if I was going to fall.
A director needs to be in control, but he really shouldn't be in complete control, because then things could be very boring, and he wouldn't take advantage of unexpected developments and opportunities. There are people who storyboard everything. I don't do that. I'll storyboard some stuff, but mainly I'm ready for the unexpected. I think that's important. You can't plan too much. I always think of a quote from Napoleon when they asked him to explain the intricacies of his battle plan. He said, 'Well here's the plan. First we go there, and then we see what happens.'
It's best not to act and direct at the same time. When I direct myself, I do more takes than if I'm being directed by someone else. Rather than stop and look at it, I just do it again. And I like to have my fellow actors feel that they're directing it at the same time. I try to lead them into thinking it's sort of a fake democracy, when it's actually, ultimately, kind of a fascist dictatorship, one would have to admit.
|Splendor in the Grass (1961)||$15,000|
|The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961)||$30,000|
|All Fall Down (1962)||$60,000|
|Bonnie and Clyde (1967)||$200,000 + 40% gross|
|The Only Game in Town (1970)||$750,000|
|Dick Tracy (1990)||$9,000,000|
|Town & Country (2001)||$8,000,000|
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