Dunaway won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Network (1976) after receiving previous nominations for the critically acclaimed films Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Chinatown (1974). She has starred in a variety of films, including The Thomas Crown Affair (both the 1968 and 1999 versions), The Towering Inferno (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975), and Mommie Dearest (1981).
Early lifeDunaway was born Dorothy Faye Dunaway in Bascom, Florida, the daughter of Grace April (née Smith), a housewife, and John MacDowell Dunaway, Jr., a career army non-commissioned officer. She attended the University of Florida, Florida State University,and Boston University, but graduated from the University of Florida in theater. In 1962, Dunaway joined the American National Theater and Academy. Her father served in the Second World War and was a fallen comrade[clarification needed What is that?] in the European Campaign.
CareerDunaway appeared on Broadway in 1962 as the daughter of Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. Her first screen role was in 1967 in The Happening. In 1967, she was in Hurry Sundown, but that same year, she gained the leading female role in Bonnie and Clyde opposite Warren Beatty, which earned her an Oscar nomination. She also starred in 1968 with Steve McQueen in the caper film The Thomas Crown Affair (and had a small role in the 1999 remake with the same title with Pierce Brosnan).
It was in the 1970s that she began to stretch her acting abilities in such films as Three Days of the Condor, Little Big Man, Chinatown, The Three/Four Musketeers, Eyes of Laura Mars, and Network, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress as the scheming TV executive Diana Christensen. She worked with such leading men as Dustin Hoffman, Charlton Heston, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Duvall.
In the 1980s, although her performances did not waver, the parts grew less compelling. Dunaway would later blame Mommie Dearest (1981) for ruining her career as a leading lady. She received a Razzie Award for Worst Actress, and the critics despised the film, although it grossed a moderate $19 million in its first release and was one of the top 30 grossing films of the year. In 1987, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama for her performance in Barfly with Mickey Rourke. In a later movie, Don Juan DeMarco (1995), Dunaway co-starred with Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando.
Dunaway starred in the 1986 made-for-television movie Beverly Hills Madam opposite Melody Anderson, Donna Dixon, Terry Farrell and Robin Givens. In 1993, Dunaway briefly starred in a sitcom with Robert Urich, It Had to Be You. Dunaway won an Emmy for a 1994 role as a murderer in "It's All in the Game," an episode of the long-running mystery series Columbo.
In 1996, she toured nationally with the stage play Master Class. The story about opera singer Maria Callas was very powerful and well received. Dunaway bought the rights to the Terrence McNally play for possible film development.
In 2006, Dunaway played a character named Lois O'Neill in the sixth season of the crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She served as a judge on the 2005 reality show The Starlet, which sought, American Idol-style, to find the next young actress with the potential to become a major star. In the spring of 2007, the direct-to-DVD movie release of Rain, based on the novel by V. C. Andrews and starring Dunaway, was released. In 2009, Dunaway starred in the film The Bait by Polish film director and producer Dariusz Zawiślak. The Bait is a contemporary version of a drama Balladyna by Polish 19th - century poet Juliusz Słowacki..
Dunaway has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard, which was awarded on October 2, 1996.
Personal lifeDunaway has been married twice, from 1974 to 1979 to Peter Wolf, the lead singer of the rock group The J. Geils Band, and from 1984 to 1987 to Terry O'Neill, a British photographer. She and O'Neill have one child, Liam O'Neill (born 1980). In 2003, despite Dunaway's earlier claims that she had given birth to Liam, Terry revealed that Liam was adopted.
Dunaway is an adult convert to Roman Catholicism.
Mommie DearestMommie Dearest is a 1981 American biographical drama film about Joan Crawford, starring Faye Dunaway. The film was directed by Frank Perry. The story was adapted for the screen by Robert Getchell, Tracy Hotchner, Frank Perry, and Frank Yablans, based on the 1978 autobiography of the same name by Christina Crawford. The executive producers were Christina's husband, David Koontz, and Terrence O'Neill, Dunaway's then-boyfriend and soon-to-be husband. The film was a commercial success, but a critical disaster and was eventually disliked by Dunaway herself. However, it has become a cult classic.
Script and productionThe most significant alteration is the complete omission of Crawford's two other daughters, Cynthia and Cathy. They both publicly criticized Christina and condemned her book, denying its truth.
Due to time and budget limitations, the film contains few references to Crawford's early marriages; the character of Greg Savitt is fictitious, intended to be a composite of several of her relationships (most notably Greg Bautzer) and Crawford's third husband, actor Phillip Terry. Also omitted from the story are details about her religious experiences as a Christian Scientist. CBS declined to participate in the movie, so the scenes in which Joan fills in for Christina on soap opera The Secret Storm are intentionally vague; the soap is never mentioned by name, only as "the 4 o'clock show" (the time that it was aired for many years), and the character of Belinda Rosenberg is also fictional, allegedly based on Secret Storm director Gloria Monty. The character of domestic assistant Carol Ann is also fictional, an amalgamation of several Crawford employees throughout the years, roughly from 1938 to 1977.
The film fails to mention that Louis B. Mayer gave Joan rose bushes as a gift. Joan planted and tended them, then later, onscreen, hacked them down with an axe.
Many of the most abusive incidents were eliminated while other incidents were merged. The infamous wire hanger rant is joined with the fight over the cleanliness of the bathroom floor, which are reported in the book as separate incidents. Christina's relationship with her first boyfriend at school - the incident where Joan knocked Christina over a chest and beat her, then sent her to Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy - actually occurred at different times. Joan's relationship with Christina's brother Christopher was also left out of the movie. Joan's threats, punishments, and quite severe abuse of Christina, described in the book, were eliminated from the film. Despite these cuts, the film's running time was slightly over two hours.
During Dunaway's interview on Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton saved the topic of Mommie Dearest for the end of the interview, since Dunaway credits the film for ruining her career. When he comments on her appearance in the film as Joan, Dunaway says that she and the make-up artist worked for hours trying to get the "Crawford look".
The film is one of the few PG-rated films to have used the word "fuck", others including Beetlejuice, Big, Spaceballs, and Sixteen Candles.
ReviewsMommie Dearest was not well received by film critics. The film has a "rotten" rating of 59% on Rotten Tomatoes as of July 2010. Roger Ebert opened his review with "I can't imagine who would want to subject themselves to this movie." About Dunaway's performance, Variety said "Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all."
Roughly a month into release, Paramount realized the film was getting a reputation and box office as an unintentional comedy, and changed its advertising to reflect its new camp status, proclaiming, "Meet the biggest MOTHER of them all!"
While Dunaway garnered some critical acclaim for her astonishing physical metamorphosis and her portrayal of Crawford (finishing a narrow second in the voting for the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress of the Year), she also received a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. The film received five "Razzie" awards overall, including Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay and Worst Supporting Actor for Steve Forrest. Diana Scarwid also "won" a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Christina; among those whom Scarwid beat out in the category was Mara Hobel, for her portrayal of the child Christina, and Rutanya Alda, who played Crawford's personal assistant, Carol Ann.
In her autobiography, Dunaway only makes a brief mention of the movie stating that she wished director Frank Perry had had enough experience to see when actors needed to rein in their performances. Ironically, Joan Crawford once said in an interview in the early 1970s that of the current young actresses only Faye Dunaway had "what it takes" to be a true star.
Box officeWith a budget of $5 million, Mommie Dearest was a commercial success at the US box office, with revenues of $19 million with a further $8.6 million in Video Rentals. The film grossed $6 million internationally. The film was in the Top 30 top grossing films of 1981. DVD counts are vague but suggestions are that it has made more than $5 million since being released on DVD. Total Revenue stands at $39 million.
DVD releaseMommie Dearest was first released on DVD July 17, 2001. It was re-released June 6, 2006 in a special "Hollywood Royalty" edition, with audio commentary by John Waters. Waters spends the bulk of his commentary dissecting the film as a serious bio-film and is quite outspoken in condemning the two sequences in the film (the infamous "wire hanger" rant and the "Tina! Bring me the axe!" scene) that Waters believes are solely responsible for the film's reputation as a camp film; he also blames the studio for trying to market it as a "camp classic" even during its initial release. A third Mommie Dearest DVD was released February 3, 2009 in a "I Love the '80s" edition with a bonus CD featuring film scores from the movie.
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- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation "Kiss-Kiss, Bye-Bye" January 26, 2006 as Lois O'Neill
- Alias "The Abduction" (2002); "A Higher Echelon" (2003); "The Getaway" (2003), as Ariana Kane
- Soul Food - Season 3, Episode 1 - "Tonight at Noon" (2002)
- Road to Avonlea - Season 6, Episode 76 - "What a Tangled Web We Weave" (1995)
- Columbo: It's All in the Game (1993), as Lauren Staton