- Birth name:
- Henry Warren Beaty
- Date of Birth:
- 30 March 1937 Richmond, Virginia, USA
- 6' 2" (1.88 m)
One of the most fascinating characters in Hollywood history, Warren Beatty was born Henry Warren Beaty in Richmond, Virginia on March 30, 1937. His mother, Kathlyn, was a drama teacher who gave it up to settle down in Virginia and raise a family, although it was never in doubt that Beatty and his sister, the actress and dancer Shirley MacLaine, would themselves be raised to pursue stardom - each was urged to be successful and achieve from a very early age.Beatty attended high school in Arlington, Virginia and then Northwestern University, but, not to be outdone by his rising-star big sister, dropped out after his first year to study acting under the legendary Stella Adler. He found his first screen role, in the TV sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (1959), to be "ridiculous" and quickly abandoned it to work on the Broadway stage, the highlight of which was his Tony-nominated performance in "A Loss of Roses".Beatty's first major film role came in the drama Splendor in the Grass (1961), as the confused Bud. Critics refused to take the handsome young Beatty seriously, and he strove to turn this around with his arty crime drama Mickey One (1965), directed by Arthur Penn, which got favorable notices but did not find an audience. Next he starred in a light-weight comedy, Promise Her Anything (1965), along with the lovely Leslie Caron and the charismatic Beatty, already a Lothario, began an affair with his married co-star which was cited in Caron's divorce proceedings.Beatty teamed up again with Penn for the movie that would elevate his status in Hollywood, the classic Bonnie and Clyde (1967), in which he and co-star Faye Dunaway played the quirky outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The movie's powerful performances, strong direction and controversially graphic violence made it a huge hit, and Beatty finally found himself taken seriously.Over the next decade, Beatty starred in, produced and occasionally directed some of the most important films in Hollywood, some critically praised, such as McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971); others prescient social commentaries, such as Shampoo (1975) which itself became an important event in popular culture; others were wonderful updates of Hollywood classics, such as Heaven Can Wait (1978). He capped this all off with his hugely ambitious recounting of the American radical journalist John Reed's experiences in Bolshevik Russia, Reds (1981), for which Beatty, already nominated for acting Oscars several times, finally won as best director. Beatty was an intrinsic part of the renaissance of Hollywood in the 1970s, when films were being made every year that were important as well as successful.Beatty's remarkable career stalled in the 1980s. In fact, he was absent from the screen for most of that decade, and when his next film after Reds (1981) finally came, it was the legendarily disastrous Ishtar (1987), one of the biggest film catastrophes of not only the decade, but all time. Beatty's next movie, Dick Tracy (1990) was a summer blockbuster and received rave reviews from the critics as well. Following this came Bugsy (1991), a biopic of the life of gangster and Las Vegas visionary Bugsy Siegel, which was another box office failure. Beatty married his co-star, Annette Bening, and produced and starred with her in another costly disaster, Love Affair (1994). Beatty revisited his "Ishtar" nadir with his expensive 2001 comedy Town & Country (2001), which was both a box office and critical debacle.Fortunately, in the midst of all this bad news Beatty's creative best resurfaced in 1998 with his Bulworth (1998), an arch political satire about a liberal California senator forced to resort to the right-wing politics of the day to retain his seat. Disillusioned, Bullworth puts out a contract on his own life and while waiting to die decides to graphically show the ugliness that has become politics to the public, but his fatal plan is complicated when he falls for a beautiful young woman from South Central LA (Halle Berry). Bulworth (1998) was a reminder that Beatty was still capable of making movies that are remarkable, entertaining and successful.In his prime Beatty was almost as famous for his love life as he was for his movie-making, having been connected with a galaxy of beautiful starlets, a "who's who" list reported to include Madonna, Cher, Natalie Wood and Lana Wood, Diane Keaton, Julie Christie, Joan Collins, Leslie Caron, Liv Ullmann, Brigitte Bardot, Carly SimonElle Macpherson, Goldie Hawn, Candice Bergen, and Britt Ekland. Notorious for his alleged "love 'em and leave 'em" treatment of many of these women, an aging Beatty had the tables turned on him by the sultry diva, supermodel Stephanie Seymour, who unceremoniously dropped Beatty to pursue W. Axl Rose of rock band 'Guns N' Roses'. Soon after that, Beatty settled down with Bening. The couple have four children.