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The Faye Dunaway Bio

The Faye Dunaway Review – MovieActors.com

by Nate Lee

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Best Film:

Chinatown / Network / Bonnie and Clyde

This isn't hard. Chinatown is one of the best films ever made, and Dunaway is instrumental in its success. Network is a brilliant film and even though its success is due to the script and at least four major stars, Dunaway is the core, and of the three films it's her best performance. Bonnie and Clyde was a sensation that rocketed both her and Warren Beatty to stardom. She's contributed substantially to about a dozen other classics, mostly in ensemble.












Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Barfly (Golden Globe-nominated performance as Willa, alcoholic lover of Mickey Rourke as Charles Bukowski)
Don Juan DeMarco (wife of psychiatrist Marlon Brando, whose love for her grows as a result of his sessions with Johnny Depp, who thinks he's Don Juan)
Twilight of the Golds (Jennifer Beals' mother, in family drama over chance of her son being homosexual)
Voyage of the Damned (Jewish countess on a seemingly doomed ship)
Arizona Dream (wealthy widow in romance with Johnny Depp)
Albino Alligator (part of star-studded bank robbery thriller, directed by Kevin Spacey)
Last Goodbye (a film director in Atlanta)
Scorchers (back-country Louisiana prostitute)
The First Deadly Sin (sick wife of detective Frank Sinatra)
Midnight Crossing (blind wife of Daniel J. Travanti on a treasure hunt)
Gia (high-powered modeling agent of Gia)
The Villainess:
Network (Oscar and Golden Globe-winning performance as an unethical television boss)
Bonnie and Clyde (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as bank robber Bonnie Parker)
Three Musketeers (Milady DeWinter)
Four Musketeers (Milady DeWinter)
Mommie Dearest (demented mother Joan Crawford)
The Gamble (a cruel German countess, gambling for Matthew Modine)
The Champ (fighting with boxer Jon Voight for custody of their son, Ricky Schroder)
Blockbusters:
Chinatown (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as Evelyn Mulwray, wealthy murder suspect, opposite Jack Nicholson)
Three Days of the Condor (Golden Globe-nominated performance helping CIA researcher Robert Redford discover the truth)
The Thomas Crown Affair (insurance investigator on the trail of Steve McQueen)
The Messenger: Joan of Arc (Yolande d'Aragon)
Little Big Man (an overzealous preacher's wife)
The Towering Inferno (the glamorous lover of Paul Newman, the architect)
The Eyes of Laura Mars (paranormal photographer who somehow sees what a serial killer sees)
The Real Faye Dunaway:
NOT Mommie Dearest

Possibly because of the similarity of their star power and styles of acting as well as their reputations for being difficult, Dunaway seems to be cursed with the public's memory of this portrayal of Joan Crawford. She attributes it to hurting her career and refuses to talk about it, wanting to put it behind her forever. Ironically, the brilliance of the performance, so real and frightening, helps give it such longevity.
Acting Style:
Beautiful villainess. Certainly Faye Dunaway has the chops to play a wide range of roles, including stage roles, but she just works best as the villainess, whether it's ones you sympathize with such as Bonnie Parker or ones you loathe, such as Milady De Winter. Like many stage actors, she is best when she can be over the top.
Bits and Quirks:
Works the hair and the patrician look for either snooty or evil or sexy or some combination thereof. An intense, sometimes malevolent stare. Great pouty '30s sultry lips that she really works, especially with that distinctive voice with a breathless undertone. She often speaks quickly or frantically, and often in an overwrought stagey fashion. The highest cheekbones in the business.
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Great Scenes:
BONNIE AND CLYDE

> The famous finale, going down in an ambush of bullets
> Chase scene to "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
> Bonnie, naked in the upstairs window, meeting Clyde
> Posing with the Texas Ranger and cigars

CHINATOWN

> Coming to Jack Nicholson's office with her lawyer
> Fixing his cut nose
> Stuttering when he mentions her father
> The "my sister/my daughter" scene
> Coming downstairs with her daughter
> Going crazy at the end when her father John Huston tries to take her daughter

LITTLE BIG MAN

> Giving Dustin Hoffman a very thorough bath
> Meeting Hoffman years later as the prostitute Lulu and taking the money from Hickok and trying to seduce Hoffman again

THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR

> Making love to Robert Redford
> Fighting the assassin

MOMMIE DEAREST

> The wire hangers scene

NETWORK

> Talking to her staff about a series on revolutionaries
> The break-up with William Holden
> Convincing Robert Duval to keep the insane Howard Beale on the air

DON JUAN DE MARCO

> Speech on her pills to Brando
> Chatting with Brando in bed about passion and about Johnny Depp's Don Juan
> At the restaurant being serenaded
> Going to the island with Depp and husband Brando
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