Name: Dorothy Faye Dunaway
Birth Date: January 14, 1941
Birth Place: Bascom, Florida, USA
Notable Works: Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown
Born January 14, 1941, in Bascom, FL, Dunaway was the daughter of an army officer. She studied theater arts at the University of Boston and later joined the Lincoln Center Repertory Company under the direction of Elia Kazan and Robert Whitehead. Between 1962 and 1967, she appeared in a number of prominent stage productions, including A Man for All Seasons and Arthur Miller's After the Fall, playing a character based on Marilyn Monroe. Dunaway's breakthrough performance came in an off-Broadway production of Hogan's Goat, which resulted in a contract with director Otto Preminger. She made her film debut in his 1967 drama Hurry Sundown, but the two frequently clashed, and she refused to appear in his Skidoo; after a legal battle, Dunaway was allowed to buy out the remainder of her contract, and she then starred in The Happening (1967).
Dunaway was virtually unknown when she accepted the role of the notorious gangster Bonnie Parker opposite Warren Beatty in Arthur Penn's 1967 crime saga Bonnie and Clyde. The picture was an unqualified success, one of the most influential films of the era, and she had become a star seemingly overnight, earning a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her sexy performance. Dunaway's next major role cast her with Steve McQueen in 1968's The Thomas Crown Affair, another major hit. However, her next several projects -- Amanti, a romance with Marcello Mastroianni, and the Kazan-directed The Arrangement -- stumbled, and although 1970's Little Big Man was a hit, Puzzle of a Downfall Child (directed by her fiancé, Jerry Schatzberg) was a disaster. Quickly, Dunaway was reduced to projects like the little-seen 1971 thriller La Maison Sous Les Arbres and the Western Doc. When they too failed, she retreated from films, first appearing on-stage in Harold Pinter's Old Times and then starring in the made-for-television The Woman I Love.
After portraying Blanche du Bois in a Los Angeles stage adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, Dunaway returned to the cinema in Stanley Kramer's 1973 drama Oklahoma Crude. Subsequent to her appearance in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers, she made headlines for her marriage to rocker Peter Wolf and was then cast in Roman Polanski's 1974 noir Chinatown. The performance was her best since Bonnie and Clyde, scoring another Academy Award nomination, and the film itself remains a classic. The success of The Towering Inferno later that same year confirmed that Dunaway's star power had returned in full, and she next co-starred with Robert Redford in the well-received thriller Three Days of the Condor. In 1976, Dunaway starred as an ambitious television executive in Sidney Lumet's scathing black comedy Network, and on her third attempt she finally won an Oscar. A British feature, Voyage of the Damned, and a TV-movie, The Disappearance of Aimee, quickly followed, and in 1978 she starred in the much-maligned thriller The Eyes of Laura Mars.
After 1979's The Champ, Dunaway starred with Frank Sinatra in The First Deadly Sin. An over-the-top turn as Joan Crawford in the tell-all biopic Mommie Dearest followed in 1981, as did another biography, the TV feature Evita Peron. Her career was again slumping, a fate which neither the Broadway production of The Curse of an Aching Heart nor another telefilm, 1982's The Country Girl, helped to remedy. After 1984's Supergirl, Dunaway spent much of the decade on the small screen, appearing in a pair of miniseries -- Ellis Island and Christopher Columbus -- and in 1986 appearing as the titular Beverly Hills Madam. The 1987 feature Barfly found a cult audience, but almost without exception, Dunaway's subsequent films went unnoticed; even the 1990 Chinatown sequel The Two Jakes was a failure. In 1993, she starred in a short-lived sitcom, It Had to Be You, and continued to appear in little-seen projects. Dunaway's most prominent roles of the mid-'90s included a supporting turn as the wife of psychiatrist Marlon Brando in 1995's Don Juan DeMarco and as a barmaid/hostage in the directorial debut of actor Kevin Spacey, Albino Alligator (1996).
In 1999, Dunaway gave a nod to her screen past with a cameo appearance in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. That same year, she took on the more substantial role of Yolande d'Aragon in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. In 2000 she appeared in the drama The Yards, along with a number of other films. Next she was in the biopic The Calling, in 2001. Recently, she had a small role in the comedy The Rules of Attraction.
~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide, and additional reporting
-Married to Peter Wolf (II) (1974 - 1979) (divorced)
-Married to Terry O Neill' (1983 - 1987) (divorced), 1 son
-Her son with O'Neill was born in 1980.
-Her husband, Peter Wolf, was with the J. Geils Band.
-Converted to Catholicism while in Boston. [27 December 1996]
-Competing for beauty titles was considered de rigueur for Southern girls in the 1950s, and Dunaway remembers in her autobiography that she was somehow convinced that she could NOT leave Florida until she won one. She missed being crowned May Queen at Leon High School in Tallahassee by a mere six votes, and had another near-miss at a title when she was voted runner up for Miss University of Florida in 1959. Dunaway finally scored her beauty crown when she was named Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, and promptly transferred to Boston University.
-Other actresses considered for Dunaway's breakthrough role of Bonnie Parker included Natalie Wood, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Leslie Caron, and even Warren Beatty's big sister Shirley MacLaine. Tuesday Weld actually turned down the role due to pregnancy.-The role of Evelyn Mulwray in Chinatown (1974) was originally marked for Ali MacGraw, wife of the film's producer Robert Evans. By the time production started, MacGraw had left Evans for actor Steve McQueen and other actresses were considered for the part.
-By her own admission in a New York Times interview many years back, she and late comedian Lenny Bruce were briefly lovers and lived together for a week, circa 1963. She was also engaged to director Jerry Schatzberg in the late 60s.
-In order to be taken seriously as an actress, she turned down a regular role on "The Guiding Light" in 1965.