Warren Beatty Explained

Birth Name:Henry Warren Beaty
Birth Date:30 March 1937
Birth Place:Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Spouse:Annette Bening (1992 - present)
Occupation:Actor, director, producer, screenwriter
Years Active:1957 - 2001

Warren Beatty (;[1] born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Early life and education

Beatty was born Henry Warren Beaty in Richmond, Virginia's Bellevue neighborhood. His mother, Kathlyn Corinne (née MacLean), was a Nova Scotia-born drama teacher, and his father, Ira Owens Beaty, was a professor of psychology, a public school administrator, and a real estate agent.[2] Beatty's grandparents were also teachers. The family was Baptist.[3] [4] In Virginia, his father moved the family from Richmond to Norfolk, and then to Arlington, where he became a middle school principal. The family also lived in Waverly, Virginia, in the 1930s. Beatty's sister, three years his senior, is the multi-award winning actress and writer Shirley MacLaine.

Beatty was a star football player at Washington-Lee High School, in Arlington. Encouraged to act by the success of his sister, who had recently established herself as a Hollywood star, he decided to work as a stagehand at the National Theater in Washington, D.C., during the summer prior to his senior year. This enabled him to establish contact with a few famous actors. Upon graduation from high school, he turned down 10 football scholarships to enroll in drama school.

He studied acting and directing at the Northwestern University school of drama. While at Northwestern, he appeared in the annual Dolphin show. He is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He dropped out after his freshman year to enroll in the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York City. By the age of twenty-two, Beatty had appeared in about forty Off Broadway productions. He garnered a best actor Tony Award nomination in 1960 for his performance in William Inge's drama A Loss of Roses. It was to be his only appearance on the Broadway stage.

Military service

Under his original name of Henry W. Beaty, Warren Beatty enlisted in the California Air National Guard on February 11, 1960.

On January 1, 1961, Beatty was discharged from the Air National Guard due to physical disability. He was also simultaneously discharged from the United States Air Force Reserve. He served on inactive duty only.

Career

1950s and 1960s

Beatty started his career making appearances in television series such as Studio One (1957), Playhouse 90 (1959), and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959). He made his film debut under Elia Kazan's direction and opposite Natalie Wood in Splendor in the Grass (1961). The film was a box office success and Beatty was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama.Subsequently he appeared in several small films such as The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961).

After being outmaneuvered by Woody Allen and ultimately forced out of What's New, Pussycat? (1965), and afraid of being typecast as a milquetoast leading man, Beatty achieved critical acclaim and power at age 30 as a producer and star of Bonnie and Clyde (1967). This hit was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Beatty.

Beatty had produced and starred in Bonnie and Clyde as a means of controlling the projects he was involved with. He hired the untested writers Robert Benton and David Newman, as well as director Arthur Penn, and controlled every facet of production, including cast, script and final cut of the film.

Bonnie and Clyde became a blockbuster and cultural touchstone for the youth culture of the era. The film, along with Easy Rider, marked the beginning of the so-called “New Hollywood” era, where studios gave unprecedented freedom to filmmakers to pursue their own idiosyncratic vision.

1970s and 1980s

Beatty worked under legendary director Robert Altman in McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) and starred in The Parallax View (1974), Shampoo (1975), which Beatty co-wrote with Robert Towne. Beatty and Towne were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film. In 1978, Beatty directed, produced, wrote and starred in Heaven Can Wait (1978). The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.

The box office success of Shampoo and Heaven Can Wait allowed Beatty to handpick his next project. He used this power to make Reds (1981), an historical epic about the Communist journalist John Reed who observed the Russian October Revolution – a project Beatty had begun researching and filming for as far back as 1970. "Reds" proved to be an enormous critical and commercial success (made all the more noticeable considering it was an American film about an American Communist made and released at the height of the Cold War), grossing $40 million, and securing 12 Academy Award nominations, including yet again 4 nominations for Beatty himself for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (with Trevor Griffiths); Though the film failed to win Best Picture (it lost to Chariots of Fire), it nevertheless won 3 awards, for Best Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress (Maureen Stapleton) and Best Director for Beatty. It remains his only Oscar win to date.

Beatty is only one of two people (the other being Orson Welles) to have been nominated by the Academy on 4 different categories for a single film (producer, director, actor, writer), and is the only one to have achieved this feat twice.

After a six-year hiatus following Reds, Beatty starred alongside Dustin Hoffman in 1987's big-budget film Ishtar. It was critically panned and is regarded as one of the biggest box office bombs in film history. In 1989, he recorded the duet, "Now I'm Following You" with Madonna for her 1990 album, I'm Breathless.

1990s and 2000s

In 1990, he bounced back when he produced, directed and starred (alongside his Ishtar co-star Hoffman) in the title role as the comic strip character Dick Tracy in the film of the same name. The film was one of the highest grossers of the year and also the highest-grossing film in Beatty's career to date.

In 1991, he starred as the real-life gangster Bugsy Siegel in the biopic Bugsy which was critically acclaimed and made almost fifty million dollars at the U.S. box-office. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, and Beatty once again was nominated for Best Actor as well as Best Picture (along with producers Mark Johnson and Barry Levinson, who also directed). His next film, Love Affair (1994), failed to do well. In 1998, he wrote, produced, directed and starred in the political satire Bulworth which was critically appreciated and earned him another nomination for Best Original Screenplay. In 2001, he appeared in his last film to date, Town and Country, which became the second-largest money loser of any movie ever made (after The Adventures of Pluto Nash) based on contemporary dollars lost:[5] it was made on a budget of approximately USD $90 million, but earned only $6.7 million domestically. Since then, Beatty has not acted in any films but has expressed interest in returning to cinema.

In 2006, Beatty was named Honorary Chairman of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, succeeding Marlon Brando. In 2007, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded Beatty the Cecil B. DeMille award, presented at the Golden Globe ceremony by Tom Hanks. Beatty was honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2008.

Beatty is on the Board of Trustees at The Scripps Research Institute.

Beatty is one of the few people to receive Oscar nominations in the Best Picture, Actor, Director, and Screenplay categories for a single film. This feat is all the more impressive since Beatty achieved it twice: in 1978 for Heaven Can Wait, where he won none of the awards; and again for Reds in 1981, where he won the directing award. His writing credits have often been in dispute, however. In Peter Biskind's biography of Beatty, Star, several distinguished writers with whom Beatty has collaborated (e.g., Bo Goldman, Robert Towne, James Toback, Robert Benton, et al.) have claimed that Beatty often requested or demanded writing credit where little or none was due.

Beatty's overall Academy Award nominations number 14: he received Best Picture nominations for Bonnie and Clyde, Bugsy, Reds and Heaven Can Wait, received writing nominations for Shampoo, Reds, Bulworth and Heaven Can Wait, received Best Director nominations for Heaven Can Wait and Reds, and has received Best Actor nominations for Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, Reds and Bugsy.

Tribune lawsuit

In May 2005, Beatty sued Tribune Co. for $30 million in damages, claiming he still maintains the rights to Dick Tracy. Beatty received the rights in 1985 and claimed that Tribune moved to reclaim them in violation of various notification procedures. There was talk of a sequel, and Beatty did express interest in reprising the part, but the sequel was sidelined by unexpected legal disputes. In March 2009, Tribune filed suit against Beatty, saying that Beatty had "made no productive use" of the rights for over a decade, causing them to revert back to Tribune.[6]

Political work

A longtime activist in various liberal political causes, Beatty has, at various times, been extremely active in the presidential politics of the Democratic Party. In 1968, he hit the campaign trail for the first time, supporting Senator Robert F. Kennedy's bid for his party's presidential nomination. His involvement in the senator's campaign, which included stump speaking and fundraising, was cut short when Kennedy was shot and killed by Sirhan Sirhan on the same night that he won a crucial primary in California.

Four years later, Beatty joined the campaign of Senator George McGovern as an advisor. As part of the so-called "Malibu Mafia," a group of Hollywood celebrities who were part of the candidate's "inner circle," Beatty gave McGovern's campaign manager Gary Hart advice about the handling of public relations and was instrumental in organizing a series of rock concerts which raised over $1 million for the senator's campaign.[7]

In 1984, and again in 1988, Beatty was to play a similar role in Hart's own presidential campaigns. Hart, who had, by that time, become a senator himself, had become friends with Beatty during the 1972 campaign and the relationship had grown closer during the intervening decade. After Hart's second campaign imploded over allegations that he had committed adultery with a former beauty queen named Donna Rice, a mutual friend of the two explained why they were so close: "Gary always wanted to have Warren's life and Warren always wanted to have Gary's. It was a match made in heaven."

Beatty seriously considered becoming a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination during the summer of 1999 . After it became clear that the only two contenders for the Democratic Party's nomination were to be Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Beatty made it generally known that he was dissatisfied with the two choices and began to drop hints that he might be willing to seek the nomination himself. After meeting with several powerful liberal activists and influential Democratic operatives, including pollster Pat Caddell, who had worked previously for Hart, McGovern, California governor Jerry Brown and President Jimmy Carter, and adman Bill Hillsman, who had worked on the campaigns of Senator Paul Wellstone and Governor Jesse Ventura, Beatty announced in September 1999 that he would not seek the nomination. However, he continued to be courted by members of a different political party, the Reform Party, who were looking for an alternative to Pat Buchanan, a conservative who had switched parties after losing the Republican Party's presidential nomination for the third time in a row. Despite frequent entreaties by Governor Ventura, real-estate magnate Donald Trump, and syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, Beatty refused to enter the race and Buchanan eventually won the Reform Party's nomination.

Despite his decision not to seek the presidency in 2000, Beatty intimated that he might still run at a later time, telling reporters that he would do so if he thought he "could make an impact on the debate". As California governor Gray Davis' popularity with California voters dropped, Beatty campaigned against the 2003 special election. He was the keynote speaker at the California Nurses Association's 2005 convention, and recorded radio ads urging voters to reject Governor Schwarzenegger's ballot proposals. The propositions were defeated at the ballot box, increasing speculation that Beatty might run against Schwarzenegger in the 2006 election. But, in early 2006, Beatty announced he would not seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Beatty's anticipated run for president in 2000 was lampooned by Gary Trudeau in his strip Doonesbury.

Personal life

Beatty married Annette Bening on March 12, 1992, with whom he co-starred in the film Bugsy. Beatty and Bening have four children together.

Filmography

YearFilmRoleNotes
rowspan=21961Splendor in the GrassBud StamperGolden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
The Roman Spring of Mrs. StonePaolo di Leo
1962All Fall DownBerry-Berry Willart
1964LilithVincent Bruce
rowspan=31965Mickey OneMickey One
Promise Her AnythingHarley Rummell
What's New Pussycat(executive producer) (uncredited)
1966KaleidoscopeBarney Lincoln
1967Bonnie and ClydeClyde Barrow(also producer)
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1970The Only Game in TownJoe Grady
rowspan=21971McCabe & Mrs. MillerJohn McCabe
$Joe Collins
1973Year of the Woman(documentary)
1974The Parallax ViewJoseph Frady
rowspan=21975ShampooGeorge Roundy(also producer and co-writer with Robert Towne)
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award For Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The FortuneNicky Wilson
1978Heaven Can WaitJoe Pendleton(also director with Buck Henry, producer, and co-writer)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Saturn Award for Best Actor
Saturn Award for Best Writing
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Direction
1981RedsJohn Reed(also director, producer, and co-writer)
Academy Award for Best Director
David di Donatello for Best Producer
Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Director
National Board of Review Award for Best Director
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
1984George Stevens: A Filmmakers Journey(documentary)
1987IshtarLyle Rogers(also producer)
1990Dick TracyDick Tracy(also producer and director)
rowspan=21991himself(documentary)
BugsyBugsy Siegel(also producer)
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1992Writing with Light: Vittorio Storaro(documentary)
1994Love AffairMike Gambril(also producer and co-writer)
1998BulworthSen. Jay Billington Bulworth(also producer, director and co-writer)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
1999The Book That Wrote Itself(cameo)
2001Town & CountryPorter Stoddard
2003Dean Tavoularis

The Magician of Hollywood

(documentary)
2005One Bright Shining Moment(documentary)
2012Untitled Howard Hughes filmHoward Hughes

References

Warren Beatty appeared in One Step Beyond: The Visitor - Season 2, Episode 33

Further reading

External links

Notes and References

  1. http://dictionary.infoplease.com/beatty Random House Unabridged Dictionary
  2. http://www.filmreference.com/film/59/Warren-Beatty.html Warren Beatty Biography (1937-)
  3. http://www.adherents.com/people/pb/Warren_Beatty.html The religion of Warren Beatty, actor, director
  4. http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/05/21_beatty.shtml Actor Warren Beatty gives public-policy graduates – and Gov. Schwarzenegger – some advice on power
  5. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/records/budgets.php www.thenumbers.com
  6. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090321/film_nm/us_tribune_dicktracy;_ylt=Al4G_LVoc_fVEVoQpxMqS_5xFb8C Tribune Sues Warren Beatty Over Dick Tracy Rights
  7. McGovern, George S., Grassroots: The Autobiography of George McGovern, New York: Random House, 1977, pp. 172, 173, 178