Faye Dunaway

Faye Dunaway

American, Actress
Faye Dunaway

Faye Dunaway Actress - Born 14 Jan 1941 Bascom, Florida, USA

Birth Name Dorothy Faye Dunaway

Nickname Miss Faye

Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1) An icy, elegant blonde with a knack for playing complex and strong-willed female leads, enormously popular actress Faye Dunaway starred in several films which defined what many would come to call Hollywood's "second Golden Age." During her tenure at the top of the box office, she was a more than capable match for some of the biggest macho stars of the period. An overwrought turn in the disastrous biopic Mommie Dearest (1981) effectively derailed her career - but, at the same time, made her a bit of a camp favorite in the gay community - though she's been given infrequent opportunities worthy of her talent since that unfortunate halt.

Born prematurely on Jan. 14, 1941 in Bascom, FL, Dorothy Faye Dunaway was the daughter of MacDowell Dunaway, Jr., a career Army officer, and his wife, Grace April Smith. After a stint as a teenaged beauty queen in Florida, she intended to pursue education at the University of Florida, but switched to acting, earning her degree from Boston University in 1962. She was given the enviable task of choosing between a Fulbright Scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts or a role in the Broadway production of "A Man For All Seasons" as a member of the American National Theatre and Academy. She picked the latter, enjoying a fruitful stage career for the next two years, which was capped by appearances in "After the Fall" and "Hogan's Goat." The latter - an off-Broadway production in 1967 - required Dunaway to tumble down a flight of steps in every performance, earning her a screen debut in the wan counterculture comedy The Happening (1967). Just five months after its release, however, she was wowing audiences across the country as Depression-era bank robber Bonnie Parker in Arthur Penn's controversial Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Her turn as the naïve but trigger-happy and sexually aggressive Parker earned her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, and provided a direct route to the front of the line for Hollywood leading ladies in an unbelievably short amount of time.

Dunaway followed this success with another hit, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), in which her coolly sensual insurance investigator generated considerable sparks with playboy and jewel thief Steve McQueen. She then bounced between arthouse efforts like Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), directed by her ex-boyfriend, photographer Jerry Schatzberg, and the revisionist Western 'Doc' (1971), as well as big-budget efforts like Little Big Man (1970), which cast her as a predatory preacher's wife with designs on Dustin Hoffman's reluctant Native American hero. Dunaway also balanced these projects with several well-regarded theatrical productions, including a 1972-73 stint as Blanche Du Bois in "A Streetcar Named Desire," and notable TV-movies like The Woman I Love (1972), which cast her as the Duchess of Windsor, and TV broadcasts of Great Performances: Hogan's Goat (1971) and After the Fall (1974). But her turn as the duplicitous Lady De Winter in Richard Lester's splashy, slapstick take on The Three Musketeers (1973) and its 1974 sequel The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974) preceded a long period of critical and box office hits, starting with her masterful performance in 1974's Chinatown (1974).

Dunaway's turn as Evelyn Mulwray, the mysterious woman who draws detective Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) into a dark and complicated web of murder, incest and catastrophic business deals, seemed the epitome of every femme fatale to ever stride across a chiaroscuro-lit scene in classic noir. But Dunaway also found the horribly wounded core of her character as well, and turned Evelyn from a pastiche to a full-blown and emotionally resonant human being. Critics and award groups rushed to nominate Dunaway for the role, and she netted her second Academy Award nod, as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. Dunaway had fought hard for her performance - her battles with director Roman Polanski were no secret - but sadly, she lost the Oscar to Ellen Burstyn for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974). However, it would be Dunaway's performance which stood the test of time.

High-gloss turns in The Towering Inferno (1974) and Sydney Pollack's political thriller Three Days of the Condor (1975) preceded one of her best television performances; that of Depression-era radio preacher Aimee Semple MacPherson in The Disappearance of Aimee (1976). Even more startling was her sterling role in Network (1976), Paddy Chayefsky's blistering take on the television industry. Dunaway pulled out all the stops as an executive on the rise who stops at nothing to advance her career - even bedding veteran producer William Holden. Critics again rose in unison to praise Dunaway, and she finally netted an Oscar for the role, as well as a Golden Globe.

Surprisingly, Dunaway's career began to fall away after her Oscar win. She was effective as a fashion photographer who experiences disturbing visions in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), but was wasted in thankless roles as the dissatisfied ex of washed-up boxer Jon Voight in The Champ (1979) and wife to Frank Sinatra's detective in The First Deadly Sin (1980). And then came Mommie Dearest (1981), director Frank Perry's biopic of actress Joan Crawford based on the tell-all book by her daughter Christina. Crawford herself had praised Dunaway in the early stages of her career, and while some critics gave positive reviews to her performance - in particular, the extent to which she physically transformed herself into Crawford - most fixated on the hysterical dialogue and garish scenes of child abuse. Clips of Dunaway as Crawford bellowing "No more wire hangers!" became immediate laugh-getters on late-night television, and a substantial gay following rose up in response to the film's high camp value. Dunaway, however, found none of the response amusing, and later admitted her regret in taking the role. Whether laughable or pure genius, no one could deny that Dunaway threw her everything into the role. The film's continued cult success proved she had succeeded in becoming Crawford.

The fallout from "Mommie Dearest" obscured Dunaway's follow-up projects, which included the title role in the 1981 TV-movie Evita Peron (1981) and a return to Broadway in 1982's "The Curse of an Aching Heart." Discouraged, she moved to London with her second husband, photographer Terry O'Neill, who had also served as a producer on "Mommie Dearest." For the next few years, Dunaway appeared sporadically in films, most of which underscored her newly minted status as a camp icon. The Wicked Lady (1983) was an absurd, near-softcore period drama by Michael Winner, with Dunaway as an 18th-century highway robber. Fans of her early dramatic work were similarly aghast by her turn as a shrieking witch battling Helen Slater's Girl of Steel in Supergirl (1984). Only a Golden Globe-winning appearance in the cumbersome miniseries Ellis Island (1984) offered any respite from the negative press which now continued to follow her.

Dunaway returned to the United States in 1987 following her divorce from O'Neill, and attempted to rebuild her career and reputation by appearing in several independent dramas. She was widely praised for her performance as a once-glamorous woman felled by alcohol in Barbet Schroeder's Barfly (1987), and served as executive producer and star of Cold Sassy Tree (1989), a TV adaptation of the popular novel by Olive Ann Burns about an independent-minded woman who romances a recently widowed store owner (Richard Widmark). Dunaway was exceptionally busy for the remainder of the decade in both major Hollywood features and independent fare, though her strong women now occasionally sported an unfortunate shrill side. She was Robert Duvall's frosty wife in the dystopian thriller The Handmaid's Tale (1990) and contributed a vocal cameo as Evelyn Mulwray in The Two Jakes (1990), the ill-fated sequel to "Chinatown." Other notable performances came as the unhappy wife of psychiatrist Marlon Brando in Don Juan DeMarco (1994), as the daughter of imprisoned Klansman Gene Hackman in The Chamber (1996) and as a bartender caught in the middle of a hostage standoff in Kevin Spacey's Albino Alligator (1996). She later received Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations as the matron of a wealthy Jewish family in turmoil in The Twilight of the Golds (1996). Perhaps her best turn of the decade was as a seductive murderess who attempts to sway the unflappable Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) in Columbo: It's All in the Game (1993), which earned her a 1994 Emmy. In 1998, she won her third Golden Globe as modeling agency head Wilhelmina Cooper in the biopic Gia (1998), starring Angelina Jolie as doomed model Gia Carangi.

The 1990's were also not without incident for Dunaway. She was embroiled in an ugly lawsuit against Andrew Lloyd Webber after he closed a Los Angeles production of his musical version of "Sunset Blvd." with claims that she was unable to sing to his standards. The suit was later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. A national tour of Terrence McNally's "Master Class," about the legendary opera diva Maria Callas, ended with her involvement in a suit over legal rights to the play. The project was expected to become her next great film role, but remained uncompleted more than a decade after the 1996 tour. Her attempt at sitcom stardom in It Had to Be You (1993), co-starring Robert Urich, was met with universal disinterest, and the project was announced as being retooled without Dunaway prior to its cancellation.

Dunaway's schedule remained busy from 2000 onward, mostly in television and small independent features. She co-starred with Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix as the wife of career criminal James Caan in The Yards (2000), then made her directorial debut with the short The Yellow Bird (2001), based on the play by Tennessee Williams. Younger audiences had their first taste of Dunaway's particular star power as Ian Somerhalder's mother in The Rules of Attraction (2002), Roger Avary's amped-up adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, before Dunaway turned up the heat as a merciless celebrity judge on the reality series The Starlet (2005).

Dunaway penned her memoirs, Looking For Gatsby, in 1995, one year before receiving her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Attached throughout her professional career to intriguing men ranging from Lenny Bruce to Marcello Mastroianni, she was twice married; her first husband was singer Peter Wolf of the popular seventies rock group, The J. Geils Band. Liam O'Neill, her son by second husband Terry, followed in her footsteps with minor acting roles beginning in 2004. His father later dropped a bombshell in 2003 by revealing that Liam was not their biological son, but was adopted - a claim that Dunaway had previously denied.

A series of occasional roles in little-seen films followed, but Dunaway was unexpectedly thrust back into the public eye at the 2017 Academy Awards. Reunited with Warren Beatty on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of "Bonnie and Clyde," the pair were tapped to present the Best Picture award to close the night. Before proceeding onstage, Beatty was mistakenly handed a backup envelope for Best Actress in a Leading Role, which had already been won by Emma Stone for La La Land (2016). Unsure what to do when he opened the envelope and discovered the error, Beatty stalled for time and showed the card to Dunaway; misunderstanding his intent, the actress announced that the Best Picture Oscar went to "La La Land." During producer Jordan Horowitz's acceptance speech, he was informed that the actual Best Picture winner was Moonlight (2016). During the onstage chaos that ensued, Beatty delivered a heartfelt explanation and apology for the snafu while undergoing good-natured ribbing from host Jimmy Kimmel.

After her break from acting and the memorable Oscars moment, Dunaway is now back in the saddle as an actress working more frequently in her 70s. Over the past year, she has appeared in three films, starring in The Bye Bye Man (2017), The Case for Christ (2017) and Inconceivable (2017), with more projects expected to be on the way. The icon also fronts Gucci's summer 2018 ad campaign for their Sylvie handbag and has a Broadway show scheduled for 2019.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Courenthea

Spouse (2)


Terry O'Neill (1982 - 26 March 1987) divorced 1 child M1. Liam O'Neill (1980)

Peter Wolf (7 August 1974 - 1978) divorced

Trade Mark (3) 1. Deep husky yet smooth voice 2. Classic beauty with delicate high cheekbones 3. Often plays tough, spiteful and difficult women

Trivia (77)


She auditioned for the role of Daisy that went to Mia Farrow in The Great Gatsby (1974). Her 1995 autobiography was titled "Looking for Gatsby: My Life".

Attended Boston University. Gave up a Fulbright Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London to join the original training program at the Lincoln Center Repertory Theater in New York. She got her first starring role in "A Man for All Seasons" just days after graduating from college. She was the daughter of a career army man which resulted in her traveling constantly in her early life.

Her son with Terry O'Neill, Liam O'Neill, was born in 1980.

Her first husband, Peter Wolf, was the lead singer of the rock band J. Geils.

Ranked #65 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]

Converted to Roman Catholicism while in Boston, Massachusetts. [December 1996]

Has a connection with the James Bond - 007 franchise: was considered for the role of Domino Derval in Thunderball (1965) and as the female lead in Octopussy (1983) (Maud Adams ended up with the role). Faye had a chance to work with Pierce Brosnan (the fifth 007) in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).

Competing for beauty titles was considered de rigueur for Southern girls in the 1950s, and Dunaway remembers in her autobiography that she was somehow convinced that she could NOT leave Florida until she won one. She missed being crowned May Queen at Leon High School in Tallahassee by a mere six votes, and had another near-miss at a title when she was voted runner up for Miss University of Florida in 1959. Dunaway finally scored her beauty crown when she was named Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, and promptly transferred to Boston University.

Jane Fonda, Ann-Margret, Tuesday Weld and Natalie Wood were each offered Dunaway's breakthrough role of Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) but they all turned it down. Other actresses up for the part included Leslie Caron (who was rejected as too old), Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Jean Hale, Cher, and even Warren Beatty's big sister Shirley MacLaine (before Beatty signed on to play Clyde, of course).

The role of Evelyn Mulwray in Chinatown (1974) was originally marked for Ali MacGraw, wife of the film's producer Robert Evans. By the time production started, MacGraw had left Evans for actor Steve McQueen and other actresses were considered for the part. Dunaway's main competition for the role was Jane Fonda.

By her own admission in a New York Times interview many years back, she and late comedian Lenny Bruce were briefly lovers and lived together for a week, circa 1963. She was also engaged to director Jerry Schatzberg in the mid-1960s.

In order to be taken seriously as an actress, she turned down a regular role on Guiding Light (1952) in 1965.

Her portrayal of actress Joan Crawford in the critically panned film Mommie Dearest (1981) was ranked #41 on the villains list of the 100 years of "The Greatest Screen Heroes and Legends", while her portrayal of Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) - which she shared with Warren Beatty was ranked #32. She is one of only two actresses - the other being Bette Davis - to have two villainous roles in the list.

Member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority.

One of only four actresses, along with Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock and Liza Minnelli, to win both the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Dunaway shared her award with Bo Derek).

Is only 14 years older than Diana Scarwid, who played her daughter in Mommie Dearest (1981).

Is the only actor/actress to have appeared in both the 1968 version (The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)) and 1999 version (The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)) of "The Thomas Crown Affair".

Her performance as Evelyn Cross Mulwray in Chinatown (1974) is ranked #36 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.

Her performance as Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) is ranked #34 on Premiere magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

According to the DVD commentary by John Waters on Mommie Dearest (1981), Dunaway feels the film's reception ruined her career, to an extent, and she refuses to discuss the film (hence her lack of participation in its release).

Turned down Paint Your Wagon (1969), The Wind and the Lion (1975), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) and King Lear (1983).

Mother of Liam O'Neill from her marriage to renowned British photographer Terry O'Neill.

Was offered the title role in Julia (1977) which she turned down. Vanessa Redgrave, who went on to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance, was cast instead.

Studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.

She presented the Palme d'Or to Wim Wenders for Paris, Texas (1984) at the 37th Cannes Film Festival in 1984.

Was hired to replace Glenn Close as Norma Desmond in the Broadway production of "Sunset Boulevard". However, she was dismissed as Andrew Lloyd Webber felt her voice was not up to the role.

In August 2011, her New York City landlord was seeking to evict Dunaway from a rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment, alleging she was not entitled to it since her primary residence is a house in West Hollywood.

Her small production company, Port Bascom, is named for her hometown.

Drives a 2007 Toyota Corolla.

Prior to living in a very modest New York City apartment on East 78th Street between First and Second Avenues, Dunaway had resided at the huge, sumptuous Eldorado on Central Park West.

Cohabited with Marcello Mastroianni (1968-1970). When after two years together Marcello still refused to divorce his estranged wife and marry Faye, she broke up with him.

When she made the cover of Newsweek magazine (4 March 1968), the photograph was taken by then fiancée Jerry Schatzberg for "The New American Beauties" issue.

Release of her autobiography, "Looking for Gatsby: My Life" by Faye with Betsy Sharkey.

She was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on September 26, 1996.

Was considered for the role of "Betsy" in Taxi Driver (1976) that later went to Cybill Shepherd.

Alfred Hitchcock offered her Karen Black's role in Family Plot (1976), but she turned it down without even reading the script. Dunaway later said she thought the movie was about kidnapping children.

Born at 8:15 p.m. (CST).

Was the 79th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Network (1976) at The 49th Annual Academy Awards (1977) on March 28, 1977.

Was one of the presenters of the Best Director Golden Globe in 1986 which was awarded to John Huston for Prizzi's Honor (1985). They had previously co-starred together in the mystery film Chinatown (1974).

Has appeared with Richard Chamberlain in five films: The Woman I Love (1972), The Three Musketeers (1973), The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974) and Casanova (1987).

Has appeared with Marlon Brando in Don Juan DeMarco (1994). Dunaway played a villain named Selena in Supergirl (1984), and Brando played Superman's father, Joe-El, in Superman (1978).

She was awarded Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by French culture minister Frederic Mitterrand on May 15, 2011.

She has English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.

Born to John MacDowell Dunaway, Jr. (1920-1984), a cook in the United States Army, and Grace April Hartshorn (née Smith; 1922-2004), no profession. They married in 1939 and divorced in 1954. Faye has one brother, Mac S. Dunaway (born 1942), a Washington, D.C. based lawyer.

Was originally cast in Macadam Stories (2015) as Jeanne Meyer, but had to pull out due to health issues and was replaced by Isabelle Huppert.

Was replaced by Julie Andrews for the role of Stephanie Anderson in Duet for One (1986).

Turned down Requiem for a Dream (2000).

After playing famed opera singer Maria Callas in a touring stage production of "Master Class" in 1996, Dunaway bought the rights to the play and announced her intention of writing, directing and starring in a film version. For nearly two decades it has been in development limbo.

Had a drug problem in her 30s.

Faye and Terry O'Neill didn't issue a press release when they got married. In July 1983 the couple confirmed they had secretly wed the previous year.

Has indicated that she finds therapy unhelpful.

In an unprecedented envelope mix-up, she announced La La Land (2016) as the Best Picture winner at The Oscars (2017) instead of the actual winner, Moonlight (2016). [February 2017]

Good friends with actress Sharon Stone.

Born 2½ months premature.

As of 2018, has starred in four Oscar Best Picture nominees: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Chinatown (1974), The Towering Inferno (1974) and Network (1976).

Considers Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970) to be her most underrated movie.

Each of the three times she was Oscar nominated for Best Actress (for Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Chinatown (1974) and Network (1976)) the film she was in was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

No longer smokes cigarettes (quit around 1992) or drinks alcohol and has cut sugar, salt and most grains from her diet.

Broke her leg a few days before filming Inconceivable (2017) but director Jonathan Baker refused to recast the role, as it had been written specifically for her, and rewrote her part so that she would be able to perform sitting down.

At 5'7", Dunaway was taller than the non-fictional characters she portrayed on film, bank robber Bonnie Parker and movie star Joan Crawford. The former was only 4'11" and the latter was 5'3".

Moved to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah in 1954. Joined the "Skull Valley Players" and the first production was "Harvey" as Nurse Kelly. She was 13 at the time in eighth grade. She stayed in Utah until her sophomore year in high school at Dugway.

Was in a relationship with Warren Lieberfarb, Home Video president of WB, from 1988 to 1991.

She is only 11 years younger than Gene Hackman, who played her father in The Chamber (1996).

While working as a cocktail waitress in her last year of college, Dunaway was hit on so often that she went out and bought herself a cheap wedding band to keep the advances at bay.

She was the first recipient of a Leopard Club Award that honors film professionals whose work has left a mark on the collective imagination. She made a rare personal appearance at the Locarno International Film Festival to accept the award.

In 2014, she was recognized as the guest of honor by the Lumière Film Festival. Organizers praised the "immense contribution she has made to the emergence of the independent American films of the sixties and seventies, and the contribution is of the highest caliber". Her attendance at the festival was described as an "exceptional event". Dunaway received a standing ovation by a crowd of 5,000, and declared in an emotional speech following the tribute she received, "My fans and my friends have supported me in this search for all these years, and I thank you from all of my heart, and without you, I would not be the same Faye Dunaway.".

Was dating Harris Yulin when they co-starred in 'Doc' (1971).

Bette Davis described Dunaway as the worst person she had ever worked with in an interview with Johnny Carson in 1988, calling her "totally impossible", "uncooperative", and "very unprofessional". Dunaway denied Davis' claims in her autobiography, writing "Watching her, all I could think of was that she seemed like someone caught in a death throe, a final scream against a fate over which no one has control. I was just the target of her blind rage at the one sin Hollywood never forgives in its leading ladies: growing old.".

In 2011, the government of France made her an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.

She is a devout Roman Catholic and has said that she attends morning Mass regularly.

Steve McQueen named her as the best actress he ever worked with.

Her favourite actresses include Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence and Melissa McCarthy. She's also a fan of Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.

Despite her clashes with Roman Polanski, she referred to Chinatown (1974) as "possibly the best film I ever made".

She has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Little Big Man (1970), Chinatown (1974) and Network (1976).

In the 1986 book "Son of Golden Turkey Awards" by Harry and Michael Medved, Faye won the award for "The Most Ludicrous On Screen Impersonation of a Hollywood Legend" for her performance as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981).

Dated Frederick Forsyth in 1987 and Bernard Montiel in the mid-'90s.

Had an affair with Robert Altman.

Personal Quotes (47)


I really hate talking about Mommie Dearest (1981)! It is like an obsession with people! Why do people need to focus so much on one film I made over 20 years ago? It was not a great time in my life and the film was not an experience I want to think about. Period!

The rhythms of being an actress are by definition intensity and then letting out. It's like a heartbeat.

[on signing a six-picture deal with Otto Preminger that she later got out of] As much as it cost me to get out of the deal with Otto, if I'd had to do those movies with him, then I wouldn't have done Bonnie and Clyde (1967), or The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), or any of the movies I was suddenly in a position to choose to do. Beyond the movies I might have missed, it would have been a kind of Chinese water torture to have been stuck in five more terrible movies. It's impossible to assess the damage that might have done to me that early on in my career.

[on playing an alcoholic in Barfly (1987)] This character, who has given over her days and nights to a bottle, is my way back to the light. This is a role that I care deeply about. I haven't felt this passion for a character since Network (1976). I saw the promise of a comeback for me in the deglamorized face of Wanda, a woman of sweet vulnerability.

[on Supergirl (1984)] The film was really just a send-up, a spoof, and I had a lot of fun with Selena. But every time I tried to do something funny, [director Jeannot Szwarc] wouldn't let me. He said, "you have to be the straight person". I always wanted to do comedy but it's daunting when you've not done it before.

I am furious that they think I'm too old to play the love interest of guys like Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood. Why should I play sisters and mothers while guys like Jack and Clint, who are older than me, have on-screen lovers half their age?

Dick Van Dyke is one of the sweetest and funniest men in the world.

Though I loved making The Wicked Lady (1983), in the end it just didn't have the juice it needed to be a hit. It seemed to never quite decide whether to be a farce or a drama, and so it failed by being neither.

'Old Times' affected me in a lot of very complex ways. The play itself reminded me during a difficult point in my life that there are a million facets to life. There is never just one answer. Professionally, if I hadn't taken that step to go back to the stage, in a serious way, I think I would have suffered for it.

I know you have a life, and you act many roles. But after Mommie Dearest (1981), my own personality and the memory of all my other roles got lost along the way in the mind of the public and in the mind of many in Hollywood. It was a performance. That's all that it was. For better or worse, the roles we play become a part of our persona, and the actress and the woman are identified with that persona. People thought of me as being like [Joan Crawford]. And that was the unfortunate reality for me about this project.

[on portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981)] If your mind is on a woman who is dead and you're trying to find out who she was and do right by her, you do feel a presence. I felt it at home at night sometimes. It wasn't pleasant. I felt Joan was not at rest.

[on working with Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)] It was really my first time to play opposite someone who was a great big old movie star, and that's exactly what Steve was. He was one of the best-loved actors around, one whose talent more than equaled his sizable commercial appeal.

[on playing Blanche DuBois in a stage adaptation of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'] It was a fun performance for me, but hard, very draining. At the height of the madness each night, I would go from standing straight up to falling to my knees, in one swift move. [Tennessee Williams] told me later that he thought I was brave and adorable and reminded him of a precocious child, and that my performance ranked with the very best. It was high praise indeed coming from him.

[on playing Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)] That movie touched the core of my being. Never have I felt so close to a character as I felt to Bonnie. She was a yearning, edgy, ambitious southern girl who wanted to get out of wherever she was. I knew everything about wanting to get out, and the getting out doesn't come easy. But with Bonnie there was a real tragic irony. She got out only to see that she was heading nowhere and that the end was death.

[on winning an Emmy for her guest appearance on Columbo (1971)] I was overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit my colleagues extended me that night. It was like being wrapped up in a warm embrace. Though this is more often than not a town of grand illusions and transitory friendships, the moment seemed heartfelt, and touched me deeply.

With the exception of my mother, my brother, and my beloved son, William Alfred has been without question the most important single figure in my lifetime. A teacher, a mentor, and I suppose the father I never had, the parent and companion I would always wanted, if that choice had been mine. He has taught me so much about the virtue of a simple life, about spirituality, about the purity of real beauty, and how to go at this messy business of life.

[on Bonnie and Clyde (1967)] It put me firmly in the ranks of actresses that would do work that was art. There are those who elevate the craft of acting to the art of acting, and now I would be among them. I was the golden girl at that time. One of those women who was going to be nominated year after year for an Oscar and would win at least one. The movie established the quality of my work. 'Bonnie and Clyde' would also turn me into a star.

[on clashing with Roman Polanski on the set of Chinatown (1974)] Roman was very much an autocrat, always forcing things. It ranged from the physical to the mental. He was very domineering and abrasive and made it clear he wanted to manipulate the performance. That approach has never worked with me.

What gave [Cold Sassy Tree (1989)] its heart were the people who were involved. It was an incredible collaboration, and I treasure the experience as much as the result, of which I am extremely proud.

[on winning the Best Actress Oscar for Network (1976) at The 49th Annual Academy Awards (1977)] I will never forget the moment, and the feeling, when I heard my name. It was, without question, one of the most wonderful nights of my life. The Oscar represented the epitome of what I had struggled for and dreamt about since I was a child. The emotional rush of getting this accolade, the highest one this industry can award you, just hit me like a bomb. It was the symbol of everything I ever thought I wanted as an actress.

[on portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981)] Though [Christina Crawford's] book was obviously an exploitation book, the first one of its kind, my task was to portray a woman, a full woman who she was in all her facets, not just one. I tried to illuminate who this woman was. But it was more than just about being angry, it was about trying to examine and explore the forces that undermined her.

The whole era when I was busy being a big movie star was terribly disconcerting. I was cared for and cosseted, and yet I was totally dependent. I didn't know where the cornflakes were kept. I didn't know how to turn on the washing machine. That might sound very chic, but I'm telling you: When you don't know how your own life works, you get disconnected.

I think I'm a product of the American Dream. My mother came from a very poor farming family, and she wanted my brother and me to achieve. In fact, we're the only two people in our family who are professional people now. My brother's a lawyer in Washington and I'm an actress. I think it's because of my mother, because she kept encouraging us to do our best and to fight, not just to take things as they come. I got straight As. But sometimes overachievers and people who get straight As miss the trip, miss the process.

[on her reputation as a control freak] That's the hardest thing to change. Not in terms of manipulating other people, just in terms of wanting everything to be as good as it can be. Now if something's not going in the direction I think it should, I try to sit back and enjoy the ride . . . I'm always perceived as this urbane, cold, sophisticated woman, and I'm really none of that.

I guess it's that I'm really vulnerable. I had hoped the Crawford film would be the window into a tortured soul, but it was made it camp, and I think, for better or for worse, people do think that you're like your roles. So I'd like people to know that I have a really strong vulnerability and a great passion and, I would hope , a generosity in like."-Dunaway on what she would like people to know about her.

I longed to do great work, and since you must be famous to get those opportunities, I wanted to be famous. You do, of course get caught up in the whole star thing . . . but I've had that time in my life and I'm glad it's behind me. It's hard to be young because you don't know who you are and must constantly search for to find yourself. Time has helped me there, and I feel more clear and calm now.

[on her relationship with Marcello Mastroianni] I wish to this day it had worked out.

I'm very much a loner. I always think I would like to have a partner in life, and I would - if I could find the right person, I think.

I give myself away all the time--to the men in my life, to the people, to the agents, to the producers, so that I have nothing left.

I now turn down all roles that have me as a villainous woman. I am trying to soften things.

Work often becomes a substitute for living. But I think the most successful artists, and the happiest people, find a fullness in both areas.

Life is a process of trying to be as good as you can be. It's the striving toward a kind of perfection, knowing that you're never going to quite achieve it. But it's the trying for it that makes the difference.

Acting is always new to me, each time out, because you bring your life experiences to it as well as your own maturity, which gets better the more you live. You're always stretching yourself, trying to do better. When anyone asks where I want to be 10 years from now, all I can say is I'd like to be better, as an actress and as a woman.

I always wanted to succeed, to do the best that I could because it puts you in a position of freedom, you see. Then you can choose the road you will take, the way you will live and work.

Perhaps other people enjoy the limelight more than I do. I prefer to keep separate the public Faye Dunaway and the private Faye Dunaway.

[on Jane Fonda] Jane was always a slightly bigger star than me.

People will say whatever they say and I have no power over it.

I never liked parties, never felt comfortable. I was a little girl from the South and people were terribly judgmental. Oh, I had a hard time. I never felt good enough. I had large insecurities.

For a long time, I tried to live up to something that was in people's minds. I don't know what it is they want, nor do they, but movie stars fulfill some lack in people's lives. What I realized long ago is that any time people put you on a pedestal, you're doomed to disappoint. I can't possibly be who they want me to be because, mainly, they want me to answer all their dreams. But we're just people with flaws, insecurities. Maybe more insecurities than anybody else.

A good director will only make a good script much, much better, like Barbet Schroeder with Barfly (1987). But if the script is not good, a good director can't help the script.

I spent pretty much the entire '80s living in London. When I was coming back I was trying to figure out how I could pick up my career again.

You just sort of let them go for a while, but it was time to have something done to my teeth. I'm glad. It's going to be good. Tom Cruise has braces now, too. I'm right in style.

I often say the last role I played that really touched me and where I was able to access what I really am was Bonnie, which is kind of sad when you think how early in my career that was.

It's interesting as one grows older to keep in touch with the cutting edge.

[talking to a female interviewer] Softness and femininity like yours people don't expect of me; so when they find me emotional and capable of real vulnerability, they're surprised.

In this country, it is always noticed when an older woman, even just a year older, is involved with a younger man. It is one of the sillinesses of society--if a woman is any older than a man, much is made of it.

It's awfully hard to make marriage work. I've tried twice and I don't know how. To have to think of somebody else so much of the time . . . it's such a compromise.

Salary (8)


Bonnie and Clyde (1967) $60,000

The Extraordinary Seaman (1969) $300,000

The Arrangement (1969) $600,000

Chinatown (1974) $50,000

Network (1976) $200,000

Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) $1,000,000

The Champ (1979) $750,000

Evita Peron (1981) $2,000,000

Dorothy Faye Dunaway (born January 14, 1941) is an American actress, best known for her starring roles in films from the 1960's onwards.

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Faye Dunaway was born on 14 January 1941 in Bascom, Florida, USA. Her full name at birth was Dorothy Faye Dunaway. She is best known as an actress. Dorothy attended high school at Leon High School, Tallahassee, Florida, USA (1958). For university, she studied at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Transferred to University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA). Her religion is listed as Roman Catholic. She is 5' 7" (170 cm) tall and weighs 139 lbs (63 kg) with a slim build. She has green eyes and blonde hair (color). Her net worth is reported to be $40,000,000 US dollars. Her zodiac star sign is Capricorn.
Full name at birth
Dorothy Faye Dunaway
Claim to fame
her roles as Bonnie Parker in the 1967 biographical neo-noir crime drama film Bonnie and Clyde, Evelyn Cross Mulwray in the 1974 neo-noir mystery film Chinatown, and Diana Christensen in the 1976 satirical black comedy-drama film Network
Date of birth
14 January 1941
Place of birth
Bascom, Florida, USA
Actress, Producer, Director
Occupation category


5' 7" (170 cm)
139 lbs (63 kg)
Hair color
Eye color
Zodiac sign
Distinctive feature
  • Piercings: Ears
  • High cheekbones
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Net worth
$40,000,000 USD
High school
Leon High School, Tallahassee, Florida, USA (1958)
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  • Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Transferred to University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA)
  • B.F.A., Theater, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA (1962)
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Talent agency
Celebrity Talent International
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It`s interesting as one grows older to keep in touch with the cutting edge.
  • Popular actress Merrin Dungey worked as her personal assistant for almost 3 months in 1993.
  • The Chinatown actress and her director Roman Polanski frequently clashed on the sets of their 1974 film. While Dunaway described him as a bully, he infamously declared her ‘a gigantic pain in the a**’.
  • Faye is the only actress who has starred in both versions of the heist film, The Thomas Crown Affair. She played Vicki Anderson in the 1968 original and essayed a psychiatrist in the 1999 remake.
  • She acknowledged that playing actress Joan Crawford in the universally-panned film Mommie Dearest (1981) changed public perception of her and damaged her film career.
  • According to director's commentary on the Mommie Dearest (1981) DVD, Dunaway feels the film's reception ruined her career, to an extent, and she refuses to discuss the film (hence her lack of participation in its release).

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