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Annette Bening Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (40) | Personal Quotes (106) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 29 May 1958Topeka, Kansas, USA
Birth NameAnnette Francine Bening
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Annette Carol Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of four children of Shirley (Ashley), a soloist and church singer, and Arnett Grant Bening, an insurance salesman. She is of German and British Isles ancestry. Her family moved to California when she was young, and she grew up there. She graduated from San Francisco State University and began her acting career with the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, eventually moving to New York where she acted on the stage (including a Tony-award nomination in 1987 for her work in the Broadway play "Coastal Disturbances") and got her first film roles, in a few TV movies.

As is so often the case, her first big-screen role was in a forgettable movie, The Great Outdoors (1988), in which she had little screen time. However, her next work on-screen was in Milos Forman's Valmont (1989), a film adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' "Les Liaisons Dangereuses". Unfortunately, de Laclos' story had also just served as the source of a more Hollywoodized and successful movie version, Dangerous Liaisons (1988), which had been released the previous year, and Foreman's treatment went little noticed. Bening's career turned an important corner the following year when she co-starred with Anjelica Huston and John Cusack in Stephen Frears's powerful, entertaining screen adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel The Grifters (1990), and her artful turn as a con artist gained her the first of several Academy award nominations. On the strength of this performance Warren Beatty cast Bening as Virginia Hill, Bugsy Siegel's fiery actress moll, in his Bugsy (1991), the story of Siegel's founding of Las Vegas. Although the movie itself did not fare well, it resulted in a relationship with Beatty which led to Bening's pregnancy and then her marriage to Beatty in 1992 - it was the second marriage for Bening, who had been separated from her first husband since 1986 but did not finalize her divorce until 1991. The couple then collaborated on the extravagant flop Love Affair (1994), though the next year her career rebounded with her turn as Queen Elizabeth in the highly-regarded 1995 production of Richard III (1995). Notable performances have since included an obsessive, pushy real estate agent in American Beauty (1999), and as the eponymous character in István Szabó's screen adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham novel Being Julia (2004) - both were duly noted by the Academy, with Oscar nominations.

Bening has great poise and screen presence and, at her best, can turn in a very strong performance. Although her resume often features long stretches of mediocre productions before the next good part turns up, when it does, it proves worth the wait. Bening has four children with Beatty.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Larry-115

Spouse (2)

Warren Beatty (3 March 1992 - present) (4 children)
J. Steven White (26 May 1984 - 1991) (divorced)

Trivia (40)

Publicly criticized Hillary Clinton's 2000 bid for a seat in the Senate representing New York as the work of an opportunist.
Studied at San Diego Mesa College, and completed her drama degree at San Francisco State University. Studied at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater and joined its acting company.
Has two brothers, Brad and Byron Bening, and one sister, Jane Bening. She is the youngest.
Attended and graduated from Patrick Henry High School in San Diego, California, where she studied drama (1975).
Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1990" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 42.
Was the first choice to play the role of Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty (1999).
At The 63rd Annual Academy Awards (1991), host Billy Crystal introduced Bening by saying, "She'll soon be appearing as none other than Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992)", a role that the studio gave to Michelle Pfeiffer when Bening became pregnant.
Sister-in-law of actress/producer/director/writer Shirley MacLaine.
Aunt of actress Sachi Parker.
Has four children with Warren Beatty: Kathlyn (born January 8, 1992), Benjamin (born August 23, 1994), Isabel (born January 11, 1997), and Ella (born April 8, 2000).
Has appeared on The Sopranos (1999) as herself and was married to actor John Heard in the episode.
She said that her idols are Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman.
Has appeared in three films directed by Mike Nichols: Postcards from the Edge (1990) (in a small role), Regarding Henry (1991) and What Planet Are You From? (2000).
Was the subject of an urban legend claiming that she had been the model for the Columbia Pictures logo. This rumor was untrue but so widespread that Bening, herself, told Roger Ebert that she believed it to be true.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1987 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for "Coastal Disturbances".
Hired to play the romantic lead on the sitcom Just in Time (1988). After the first table read, the producers fired her saying they "wanted to move the character in a new direction". She was replaced by Patricia Kalember.
During an early part of her career in New York, she auditioned for a role on the soap opera Loving (1983). A screen-test was offered, and after thinking about it, she declined to pursue the matter.
Former board member of the small Los Angeles theater company "The Actors' Gang".
Shortly after Bugsy (1991) wrapped up production, Annette learned she was pregnant with hers and Warren's daughter, Kathlyn Beatty.
She was originally slated to play Tess Coleman in Freaky Friday (2003). She backed out shortly before filming and was replaced by Jamie Lee Curtis.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6927 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California in November 10, 2006.
Once spent a year on a charter boat, working as a cook.
Her first husband was American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) director J. Steven White. They married in 1984, separated in 1986 and divorced in 1991.
In California, she finished high school in three years at Patrick Henry High School and studied theater for two years at San Diego Mesa College. She subsequently attended San Francisco State University and was certified with a drama degree.
Twice lost to Hilary Swank for the Best Actress Oscar, once for 1999 and again for 2004.
Actor Steven Schub (lead singer of ska band The Fenwicks) and actress Teri Hatcher were among her students at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
She was offered US$1 million for the role of Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992), which went to Michelle Pfeiffer.
Received the American Riviera Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 28, 2011.
Returned to work four months after giving birth to her son Benjamin in order to begin filming The American President (1995).
Was eight months pregnant with her daughter Ella when she attended The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000), where she was nominated for Best Actress.
Replaced Julianne Moore for the role of Deidre Burroughs in Running with Scissors (2006) and in Danny Collins (2015). She and Moore would co-star in The Kids Are All Right (2010).
Worked on Open Range (2003) for just two weeks. Director Kevin Costner filmed all of Bening's scenes in succession so she could leave location early and return to her family.
In 2001, she was in talks to star in a biography of Judy Garland titled "Rainbow's End", but the film never came to be.It was to have been executive produced by director Oliver Stone and Sid Luft, Judy Garland's ex husband with it focusing on the behind the scenes story of Judy's disastrous weekly television variety series in the early 1960's.
Turned down Robin Wright's role in The Playboys (1992). Ironically, 17 years later, Wright turned down the role of Bening's daughter in Mother and Child (2009).
Has played a real estate agent three times: Regarding Henry (1991), American Beauty (1999) and What Planet Are You From? (2000).
Is the chairman of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences (AMPAS).
The longest she has gone without an Oscar nomination is nine years, between The Grifters (1990) and American Beauty (1999).
She has German, English, Irish and Welsh ancestry. Her surname is German.
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Bugsy (1991), American Beauty (1999) and The Kids Are All Right (2010). American Beauty (1999) won in the category.
Oldest daughter Kathlyn revealed she was transgender at age 14. She changed her name from Kathlyn Elizabeth to Stephen Ira Beatty.

Personal Quotes (106)

The movie business is tough. It's driven by economics and economics are about trying to get a lot of people into the theater. That's the reality of the business, the culture we're in.
I think where I've instinctively found myself is that I am somewhat guarded in my public life. Being interviewed or being photographed or just in public attention I have a certain reserve. But when I'm working I feel like I'm very open. At least I like to believe that I feel like nothing is held back when I'm in front of a camera. That's my job.
[on working with Michel Hazanavicius in The Search (2014)] I knew The Artist (2011) of course, shot in L.A. It's a marvelous film. I was very impressed when I learned the director was preparing such a different film. It's very brave of Michel to have taken the time to throw himself into such a project. Michel is very direct, unpretentious. It's very easy to communicate with him, as it is with Bérénice [Bejo]. Both are professionals who, like me, also like to have fun. Even during the most serious moments there's always a place for laughter. They have a real love of life and a great curiosity towards the world. Me too. We had some excellent times together. I was delighted to be part of such an important film.
I still remember the five points of salesmanship: attention, interest, conviction, desire and close.
I remember hearing someone say that good acting is more about taking off a mask than putting one on, and in movie acting, certainly that's true. With the camera so close, you can see right down into your soul, hopefully. So being able to do that in a way is terrifying, and in another way, truly liberating. And I like that about it.
It used to be the one or the other, right? You were the 'bad girl' or the 'good girl' or the 'bad mother' or 'the good mother,' 'the horrible businesswoman who eschewed her children' or 'the earth mother who was happy to be at home baking pies,' all of that stuff that we sort of knew was a lie.
I am really looking forward as I get older and older, to being less and less nice.
Acting is not about being famous, it's about exploring the human soul.
It's easier to see in someone else, another actor, how they kind of disappear and then this other persona appears. A great actor is a thing of mystery.
Five billion people have played Hamlet. "To be or not to be". And how do you do that and find your way into your own journey, your own way of telling it?
I wanted to be a classical actress. I plodded along. I went to junior college in San Francisco, I was in a Repertory Company. My hero was Eva Le Gallienne, who was a great theater actress at the turn of the century who created her own company, and she wrote these hilarious autobiographies at the time.
Our children see us a certain way, and we want to be seen by them in a certain way. I certainly want to be a strong, stable, loving, consistent presence in my children's lives. But we are human beings, too.
It's kind of a mystery to me, as far as my own life experiences and what I've witnessed - why some people can just move on through traumatic experiences, in childhood particularly, and why other people are just paralyzed by it. I just don't know how and why that is.
There's love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, but the nature of the connection you have with your child, there's nothing like it. It has its own character and it's so serious and so powerful, and so it's a prism through which I see everything.
I don't really have a choice. I'm getting older.
The tension I feel is the moment they say, "Action!". Movies are like lightning in a bottle, and you always want to find when you possibly can catch a surprising moment.
By the time I was in high school, Roe v. Wade had passed, so that was also happening; girls were getting pregnant and getting abortions - and that happened in my school too.
I read "Game Change". If you want to relive the campaign, that book is unbelievable. It's great. It's the book of that campaign. It brought all the memories back of everything with Clinton and Obama, and Sarah Palin and McCain, and choosing her, and John Edwards. It was an interesting book.
Everybody has a public life, and they have their own private life. Everybody has their secrets. Everybody has their own private, you know, agonies as well as joys. And that's what great drama, whether it's the movies or the theater, that's what it shows.
I don't see myself as competing with other actresses. I mean, I went through a time when I was in New York, and I was going to lots of auditions and trying to get parts, but even then, you're not really competing with the other actresses. There is a competition going on, but it's not like something you can win in that way.
And if there's anything movies can do in a way that I just love, and I love as an audience is, "Show me something I don't know about. Show me something I haven't seen.".
We all perform our lives in a way. And the actor is a perfect metaphor to get at that theme of "how do we find our authentic selves?". And that we all - whether we're actors or not - perform ourselves. As a way of searching. As a way of fumbling around and trying to say, is this my voice? Is this who I am?
I knew I wanted children in my life. The acting was always in relation to it. Life at home is chaos. They're wonderful. They're such interesting human beings. I just love it. I'm lucky.
I've made some movies that I really loved that nobody saw.
Most people are looking for something to give their life meaning.
There are so many different kinds of relationships, so it's sort of difficult to define what is considered normal.
I love being busy, and I love having a lot going on; it's exciting.
When I watch my kids, and I see the primal level at which the sibling relationships are formed, then I completely understand what these unresolved adult sibling problems are based on. You know, "Mom liked you better" and, "You got your own room and I didn't".
Anyone who is drawn in broad strokes either negatively or positively is generally not very interesting to play.
Somebody said something really smart: It's like you end up being the defense attorney for your role. Your job is to defend their point of view. You're fighting for what they want. You learn that in acting school - it's Acting 1A: "What do you want? What's in the way?".
To me idealized characters are so boring to play, especially having grown up in the classical theater. That's a great experience, but as a woman, especially, you've played a lot of idealized characters. So when you've got someone who has weaknesses as well as strengths, that's interesting.
Yes, I know I've played these women, but I'm not really conniving at all.
I feel very lucky I don't have to be a critic.
I act, but I am a mother first and wife second.
I don't see myself as having to compete with younger actresses; I don't feel that.
I feel that certain things are best kept inside a family and not discussed with anyone else.
I am in awe of Ruth Draper.
I never felt like I had made it.
I love the craft of acting, I love learning, I love everything that comes with the new project; the whole process is totally intoxicating to me.
I love the luxury of the camera. The camera does so much for you. I like the secrets a camera can tell.
I like things that I feel comfortable in.
I never speak for my husband, and I never speak for my children. It's a rule. Believe me, it is.
I had never been attracted to younger guys. I had, from my late teens, always liked men who were older than me.
I just want to be educated.
I have huge chunks of time when I'm not working.
I have perfected the art of putting my feet on my husband's lap during awards ceremonies so he can rub them.
I find the reality of our emotional lives interesting.
Every person's opinion, in a way, does matter.
Having a life outside of movies is like pure oxygen. It makes the work more precious and informed.
Critics have a responsibility to put things in a cultural and sociological or political context. That is important.
Find the story you want to tell. If you don't want to write it, find somebody to write it.
Glamour is really fun.
I've played parts that were just likable people, and there's a certain pleasure in that. And that's that.
If you're an actor, you have to find a way to make peace with all the media attention.
If anything, I want to please people too much.
If you can open people's hearts first, then maybe people's minds get opened after that.
I've tried to take roles with great demands.
My husband and I have very similar backgrounds even though we're years apart. So there are a lot of things that we basically share.
My dad was in the life insurance business, so I learned about selling when I was about 14 because I started working as a secretary.
My mother is not somebody who's troubled by aging.
It's always 'busy' with four children; it's chaos.
My parents were very supportive. They went to every show. And they never told me not to do what I was doing.
I think for all of us, as we age, there are always a few moments when you are shocked.
I think people have a right to their point of view.
I think when you're at your best as an actor, it is cathartic.
I never thought my private life would be newsworthy.
I think we as celebrities have a lot more control.
What makes us love a character is a character that tries.
To me, I didn't think of acting as being a young thing only.
When I started in the theater, I'd do plays by Shakespeare or Ibsen or Chekhov, and they all created great women's roles.
I didn't picture myself as a movie actress. I began to think about it around college. I remember thinking, "Well somebody has to be in them", so maybe I could do that eventually. It's all been a surprise.
The time I spend with my kids informs every fiber of who I am.
I'm interested in writing that explores all sides of human beings.
I'm certainly not a perfect mother, but I am an avid mother, let me put it that way.
I'm lucky: almost all my family has lived to be very old. I have one grandfather who lived to be 100.
I'm still very critical of myself in film.
I've always been pretty levelheaded. In show business, you need to have a certain internal stability.
Right now, I love the fact that I have so many opportunities, but I know this privileged position cannot last. That doesn't mean that I'll stop working. I picture myself as an old actress doing cameos in films with people saying: "Isn't that that Bening woman?".
Anybody who has children and children who are well feels a sense of responsibility towards parents and kids and families that are struggling and that aren't well.
A lot of directors in my experience are very receptive. They see what you do first, and then they want to find a place to put the camera, and they tweak you here and there.
We still want to idealize moms, and sometimes we want to idealize actresses who are moms, too. I know that's something I've experienced, but we're all just doing the best we can and we're all trying to raise our kids and talk to them about everything that needs to be discussed.
I didn't do a movie until I was almost 30. I'm grateful for that because it gave me a chance to be an adult in the world and do work in the regional theater that very few people cared about. I loved it and I wanted to do that stuff.
I think you sort of shed skins as you go along in life. You get into your 40s, and you feel like "Okay, no more pretending." You get to just be who you are.
My character in Running with Scissors (2006) is manic-depressive. She starts out as a wonderfully eccentric person, and then descends into a terrible illness.
It's hard to make a living in this business. Unions aren't as strong as they used to be. For a journeyman actor - someone who doesn't have a famous name but has consistent work in theater or film or television - it has become harder to get through, harder to raise a family.
Most women would say they relate to 'Hedda Gabler' - there's a part of her in them. Ibsen was writing about a deep ambivalence that many women feel about domesticity. I think about myself and friends of mine - we have some of Hedda's qualities and traits.
My sister and I fought a lot when we were kids. I was the little bratty sister, and she would kind of walk away, not wanting to be associated with me.
I saw a Shakespeare play when I was - I guess I was in junior high. And I just fell in love with the theater because, for me, it was a combination of big ideas and feeling.
I feel very, very lucky to have come from the family I did. We have our dysfunctions and our problems, just like any family. But my parents are extremely loving people.
I think what's interesting about the whole paparazzi thing is that unless you're Brad Pitt or Madonna, you can pretty much avoid it. You know when you're going to an opening that you will be photographed, so that's fine. And you know the restaurants that have paparazzi, so you don't go to them.
I think in the past, around the time that method acting became so prevalent, it used to be that American actors were thought to be the kind that would work more from the inside out, and that the English actors worked more from the outside in.
I like that I've been through things, that when something happens, it resonates with something that already happened. It's not that things like loss are more or less painful. But they're deeper. I find that fascinating.
Even with a stable character, you want something surprising to happen, hopefully because that's what the camera loves the most. That's what is great about film.
I always wonder about people's history and their lives, especially people that are a little bit more distant, who obviously have had some kind of a thing, and you know there's some reason why they're not able to connect. It's not because they don't want to. They don't have the ability.
I feel really lucky that I'm able to pursue the work that I love. I want my children to see that. I want them to have that for themselves, something that they love, that they do, that they pursue in their lives as a way of growing and learning.
I do have to take care of myself, not only because I'm in the movies, just for mental health reasons. I exercise for me. You know, maybe it would be nice to not have to do that in order to feel good, but I do. I feel like I have to, to feel good. To clear my head and all of that, so.
Getting all dressed up and putting on fancy clothes - all of that's a great thing, but oddly, it doesn't really have a lot to do with acting most of the time.
When I started, I was a theater actress, and there were roles that I couldn't imagine not playing, like Rosalind in "As You Like It". I used to think I would die if I could play that. But then I started doing movies, and I had children, and I moved to Los Angeles. And now I kind of can't remember what those roles would be.
With movies, so much of it is, "Who is the human being that is going to be directing it?". Because it is their medium. In a way, you are serving the director, and when it is someone that you feel you can have a lot of confidence in, it can make a big difference.
When I look at women, older than I am, in their 50s, 60, 70s, 80s, and I see women that I admire, I think, "Oh, I get it; that's how I'm going to be." I'm not scared. I want to be that.
What really motivates you to try to work things out as an actor is in large part fear, because you want to get into that narrative and bring the audience along.
There's no question that you can explore aspects of yourself through roles that you play, and you get a chance to investigate yourself; that's healthy, and it's therapeutic in a way. But if you're indulging yourself, exploration at the cost of the story or the project, that's not good.
We all get lost along the way, but hopefully we figure out some sort of path. It helps if you can imagine the process as well as the goal. Those kinds of dreams are easier to achieve.
There's so much of our psychological makeup which is impermissible for us to explore because it's inappropriate or perverse or scary. I'm interested in exploring that in myself. I try to be honest with myself about everything that I feel. I'm not saying I'm able to do that all the time, but it's something I'm interested in.
Sometimes you're reading something, and you don't know it will be important in your life. You're reading this script, and you start to get involved. It's not an intellectual experience.
[on Valmont (1989)] Milos Forman is one of the great directors alive. He was incredible. I learned so much from him. I was working in New York on a play and I auditioned for Milos over a series of months. So it took a long time. I had only done one film before that. And so it was a long process. I read with all kinds of different people. I read with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey. So when I got this part, I'm playing this French aristocrat. I had never been to Europe. I mean this was such a dream come true to do this film with Milos Forman, this beautiful big period movie. And Milos taught me so much about acting. Because he's Czech and he doesn't have the politesse that some American directors have - he's much more blunt; he was an excellent acting teacher to me. And we all were sort of traumatized by working with Milos because he was so tough on us. And Colin (Firth) was also new. He'd done a few more movies than I had, but he was also new. And so we would start doing the scenes and we're in these period costumes and everything. So we would be sort of stiff. And so if I was to say something to you like, "Would you like a cup of tea?" Milos would say "No, no, no, no, no." And then he would make fun of the way that you said it - "would you like a cup of tea?" (exaggerated). And then he would say, "Natural, natural, just 'would you like a cup of tea?'" Then he would do it. And he was right. He was right and I learned a lot. I got used to it, and began to ask him to do that, and would say 'Show me what you mean.' He's incredibly loyal, and funny, and I adore him.

Salary (1)

The Siege (1998) $3,000,000

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