(The Hollywood star offers a look at her life, chronicling...)
The Hollywood star offers a look at her life, chronicling her rise from poverty to stunning success and candidly discussing her love life and her career.
Dunaway took dance classes, tap, piano and singing, graduated from Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida.
Then she studied at Florida State University and University of Florida, and graduated from Boston University with a degree in theatre. She spent the summer before her senior year in a summer stock company at Harvard's Loeb Drama Center, where one of her co-players was Jane Alexander, the actress and future head of the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1962, at the age of 21, she took acting classes at the American National Theater and Academy. She was spotted by Lloyd Richards while performing in a production of The Crucible, and was recommended to director Elia Kazan, who was in search of young talent for his Lincoln Center Repertory Company.
Shortly after graduating from Boston University, Dunaway was already appearing on Broadway as a replacement in Robert Bolt's drama A Man for All Seasons. She subsequently appeared in Arthur Miller's After the Fall and the award-winning Hogan's Goat by Harvard professor William Alfred, who became her mentor and spiritual advisor.
Dunaway became a Hollywood star in 1967, with her role opposite Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde. As Bonnie Parker, she embodied the spirit of the film (as she often did in her best performances), instilling the legendary bank robber with an intoxicating mix of youthful rebellion, vanity, and sexuality. Dunaway proved equally adept as a determined insurance investigator pursuing a rakish thief (played by Steve McQueen) in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). She then made a string of good if unremarkable films, including Little Big Man (1970) and The Three Musketeers: The Queen’s Diamonds (1973). In Roman Polanski’s film noir Chinatown (1974), her performance was deeply affecting. As Evelyn Mulwray, Dunaway depicted a complex and troubled woman in a role that transcended the typical femme fatale. She then appeared as a civilian abducted by a CIA agent on the run (Robert Redford) in Three Days of the Condor (1975). She won the Academy Award for best actress for her role as Diana Christensen, an intimidating and amoral television executive, in Network (1976).
Although Dunaway continued to perform in films, few of her later vehicles achieved any measure of critical success. Her chilling portrayal of Joan Crawford in the biopic Mommie Dearest (1981) thrilled some but alienated most, especially in Hollywood, where she found increasingly less work. She gave memorable performances in Barfly (1987), The Handmaid’s Tale (1991), and Arizona Dreams (1993). She later took on supporting roles in the crime thriller The Yards (1998), the biopic The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999), the dark comedy The Rules of Attraction (2002), and the drama The Case for Christ (2017).
Dunaway continued to act onstage, most notably as opera diva Maria Callas in the American tour of Terrence McNally’s Master Class (1996–97). She also starred in several television movies and made guest appearances on shows including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2006) and Grey’s Anatomy (2009). In 2017 Dunaway and her Bonnie and Clyde costar, Warren Beatty, made Oscar history by mistakenly announcing La La Land (2016) as the winner for best picture. The actual winner was Moonlight (2016), and show officials noted that the mistake was due to an envelope mix-up. Dunaway’s autobiography, Looking for Gatsby (written with Betsey Sharkey), was published in 1995.
(The Hollywood star offers a look at her life, chronicling...)1995
Dunaway is a devout Catholic and said that she regularly attends the morning mass.
She is protective of her private life, rarely gives interviews, and makes very few public appearances. In 1974, Dunaway married Peter Wolf, the lead singer of the rock group The J. Geils Band. Their career commitments caused frequent separations and the two divorced in 1979. She met her second husband, the British photographer Terry O'Neill, when he was assigned by People magazine to take pictures of Peter Wolf and of her in 1977. They married in 1983 and Dunaway credited O'Neill with being "the one person responsible for helping me grow up to womanhood and a healthy sense of myself." Their child, Liam Dunaway O'Neill, was born in 1980. In 2003, despite Dunaway's earlier indications that she had given birth to Liam, Terry O'Neill revealed that their son was adopted.