Warren Beatty Explained

Birthname:Henry Warren Beaty
Born:30 March 1937
Birthplace:Richmond, Virginia, USA
Spouse:Annette Bening
(1992-present)
Domesticpartner:Natalie Wood
(1962-1965)
Julie Christie
(1967-1973)
Diane Keaton
(1979-1981)
Madonna (1989-1990)
Occupation:Film actor, director
Yearsactive:1957 - 2001
Academyawards:Best Director
1981 Reds
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
2000 Lifetime Achievement
Baftaawards:Academy Fellowship
2002
Goldenglobeawards:Most Promising Newcomer - Male
1961 Splendor in the Grass ; The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1979 Heaven Can Wait
Best Director - Motion Picture
1982 Reds
Cecil B. DeMille Award
2007 Lifetime Achievement
Awards:AFI Life Achievement Award
2008 Lifetime Achievement
Alan J. Pakula Memorial Award
1998 Lifetime Achievement
Career Golden Lion
1998 Lifetime Achievement
LAFCA Award for Best Director
1981 Reds
LAFCA Award for Best Screenplay
1998 Bulworth
NBR Award for Best Director
1981 Reds
NBR Award for Best Actor
1991 Bugsy
NSFC Award for Best Screenplay
1975 Shampoo
Saturn Award for Best Actor
1978 Heaven Can Wait
Saturn Award for Best Writing
1978 Heaven Can Wait

Warren Beatty (born Henry Warren Beaty; March 30, 1937) is an American Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning actor, producer, screenwriter and director.

Biography

Early life and education

Beatty was born 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, as well as public school administrator and real estate agent.[1] [2] Beatty's grandparents were also teachers. The family was Baptist.[3] [4] His father moved the family from Richmond to Norfolk, Virginia and then to Arlington, Virginia 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 American football player at Washington-Lee High School, in Arlington, Virginia. 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. Assigned the service number 28 282 310, Beatty was assigned as an inactive guard member attached to Van Nuys Air Guard Base. He was next slated for the military occupation specialty of a personnel assistant (73010), and assigned to attend basic training attached to the 162nd Tactical Control Group. Beatty never attended this training, but he was promoted from Airman Basic to Airman First Class in August of 1960 (under the rank system in use during 1960s, this was the equivalent of a modern day Senior Airman).

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. Since he served on inactive duty only, Beatty was not awarded any military decorations.[5]

Career

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 films which went relatively unnoticed. Then, at age 30, he achieved critical acclaim and power as a producer and star of Bonnie and Clyde (1967) which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Because of his work on Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Beatty is generally regarded as the precursor of the New Hollywood generation, which included such filmmakers as Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese.

Afraid of being typecast as a milquetoast leading man, and still smarting over the What's New, Pussycat? debacle, where he was outmaneuvered by Woody Allen and eventually forced to leave the production, Beatty produced 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, as he would throughout the rest of his career, be it as producer/director or only as producer. It should be noted that in Bugsy it was Beatty, the producer, who had final cut on the film, not Barry Levinson, the director.

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.

Subsequent Beatty films include McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), The Parallax View (1974), Shampoo (1975), and Heaven Can Wait (1978). The last two films gave him box-office power, making forty-nine and eighty-one million dollars, respectively. He used this to make his long in the works (he had started doing research and some filming as far back as 1970) Reds (1981), an historical epic about the Communist journalist John Reed who observed the Russian October Revolution. Beatty is one of the few people ever to receive Oscar nominations in the Best Picture, Actor, Directing and Writing categories from a single film. This feat is all the more impressive since Beatty achieved it twice. He was nominated for all four awards for his film Heaven Can Wait (1978) but won none of them; he was nominated a second time for all four awards for his film Reds (1981), winning the Directing Award. Beatty received additional nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor in both Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Bugsy (1991). He was also nominated two other times for Best Original Screenplay: in 1975 for Shampoo and in 1998 for Bulworth.

After a six year hiatus, he returned in 1987 starring alongside Dustin Hoffman in the big-budget Ishtar, which was critically panned and is regarded as one of the biggest box office bombs in film history. In 1990, he bounced back when he produced, directed and starred 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 was also the highest-grossing film in Beatty's career to that point. He failed to repeat the box-office success of Dick Tracy in subsequent films.

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. His following 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 gaining 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:[6] 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 Los Angeles on June 12, 2008, Beatty was honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award, along with his peers and friends present. This ceremony was aired on USA Network in July 2008.

Personal life

Beatty was a good friend and neighbor of Marlon Brando and remains a good friend and neighbor of Jack Nicholson. Dustin Hoffman, Robert Vaughn and Garry Shandling are also Beatty's good friends.

Beatty has had several high-profile relationships with his costars, including Natalie Wood (Splendor in the Grass), Julie Christie (McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait), Diane Keaton (Reds), Isabelle Adjani (Ishtar) and Madonna (Dick Tracy). Beatty also has been linked with Joan Collins, Cher, Leslie Caron, Vivien Leigh, Susan Strasberg, Michelle Phillips, Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Britt Ekland and Joyce Hyser, plus enough lesser-knowns for a supermarket tabloid to have offered women not yet heard from a $50 bounty for tales of their dalliances with him.

After years of dating many famous women, he married Annette Bening on March 10, 1992. They co-starred together in the gangster film Bugsy. They have four children: Kathlyn Elizabeth Beatty (born January 8, 1992), Benjamin MacLean Beatty (born August 23, 1994), Isabel Ira Ashley Beatty (born January 11, 1997) and Ella Corinne Beatty (born April 8, 2000).

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 is now claiming that 17 years later Tribune moved to reclaim them in violation of various notification procedures. Dick Tracy grossed over $100 million upon its release in 1990, making it the highest grossing film of Beatty's career. 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 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 is also on the Board of Trustees at The Scripps Research Institute.

Political activism

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.

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. In it, the character B.D. is shocked when his wife Boopsie gets a campaign contribution envelope - the joke being that Beatty could generate millions of dollars by having each of his former conquests send in a dollar to his campaign fund. When the crestfallen B.D. asks her why she dated him, she answered, "Well, it was the '70s. It was kind of like cocaine...you'd meet a girl in the bathroom who'd say, 'So, have you tried Warren Beatty?'

Beatty also made his political views known through his character, Senator Bulworth, in the movie of a similar name. Many of the character's views closely mirror Beatty's actual political beliefs.

At the Academy Awards in 1999 there was a large controversy over the award of an honorary Oscar to legendary film director Elia Kazan. Kazan had given names of suspected communists to HUAC over 40 years before. Although many well known liberals (such as Ed Harris and Nick Nolte) in attendance refused to acknowledge Kazan, Beatty applauded.

Filmography

See main article: Warren Beatty filmography.

Bibliography

External links

Notes and References

  1. http://www.newenglandancestors.org/education/articles/research/special_guests/gary_boyd_roberts/gbr83.asp New England Historic Genealogical Society
  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. [Freedom of Information Act (United States)|Freedom of Information Act]
  6. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/records/budgets.php www.thenumbers.com