Annette Bening

Annette Bening

Actor
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Life Story

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 onscreen 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.

Family

Warren Beatty (3 March 1992 - present) ( 4 children)

Trivia

While Bening is a Democrat, she 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.
Siblings: Jane (b. 1953), Brad (b. 1955) and Byron (b. 1957).
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 Beatty (b. January 8, 1992), Benjamin Beatty (b. August 23, 1994), Isabel Beatty (b. January 11, 1997), and Ella Beattie (b. 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 bit part), 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".

Personal Quotes 

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.

Filmography

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