May. 29th, 1958
Topeka, Kansas, USA
5' 8 1/2"
Annette Bening's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Annette Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of four children. Her family moved to California when she was young, and she grew up there. She graduated from San Francisco State University and began her acting career with the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, eventually moving to New York where she acted on the stage (including a Tony-award nomination in 1987 for her work in the Broadway play "Coastal Disturbances") and got her first film roles, in a few TV movies.
As is so often the case, her first big-screen role was in a forgettable movie, this one the 1988 Dan Aykroyd vehicle The Great Outdoors (1988). However, her next work on-screen was in Milos Forman's Valmont (1989), a film adaptation of de Laclos's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." Unfortunately, de Laclos's story had also just served as the source of a more Hollywoodized and successful movie version, Dangerous Liaisons (1988), which had been released the previous year, and Foreman's treatment went little noticed.
Bening's career turned an important corner the following year when she co-starred with Anjelica Huston and John Cusack in Stephen Frears's powerful, entertaining screen adaptation of Jim Thompson (I)'s novel The Grifters (1990), and her artful turn as a con artist gained her the first of several Academy award nominations. On the strength of this performance Warren Beatty cast Bening as Virginia Hill, Bugsy Siegel's fiery actress moll, in his Bugsy (1991), the story of Siegel's founding of Las Vegas. Although the movie itself did not fare well, it resulted in a relationship with Beatty which led to Bening's pregnancy and then her marriage to Beatty in 1992 - it was the second marriage for Bening, who had been separated from her first husband since 1986 but did not finalize her divorce until 1991. The couple then collaborated on the extravagant flop Love Affair (1994), though the next year her career rebounded with her turn as Queen Elizabeth in the highly-regarded 1995 production of Richard III (1995). Notable performances have since included an obsessive, pushy real estate agent in American Beauty (1999), and as the eponymous character in István Szabó (I)'s screen adaptation of the Maugham novel Being Julia (2004) - both were duly noted by the Academy, with Oscar nominations.
Bening has great poise and screen presence, and at her best can turn in a very strong performance. Although her resume often features long stretches of mediocre productions before the next good part turns up, when it does, it proves worth the wait. Bening has four children with Beatty.
- High School: Patrick Henry High, San Diego, CA. Parents Live in San Diego. Two brothers, Brad and Byron Bening, and one sister. She is the youngest.
- Hired to play the romantic lead in the sitcom _"Just in Time" (1988)_ (qv). After the first table read, the producers fired her saying they "wanted to move the character in a new direction". She was replaced by 'Patricia Kalember' (qv).
- Once spent a year on a charter boat, working as a cook.
- Was nominated for Broadway's a 1987 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for "Coastal Disturbances."
- Was the first choice to play the role of Carolyn Burnham in _American Beauty (1999)_ (qv).
- Was the subject of an urban legend claiming that she had been the model for the Columbia Pictures logo. This rumor was untrue but so widespread that Bening, herself, told 'Roger Ebert' (qv) that she believed it to be true.
- At the _The 63rd Annual Academy Awards (1991) (TV)_ (qv), host 'Billy Crystal' (qv) introduced Bening by saying, "She'll soon be appearing as none other than Catwoman in _Batman Returns (1992)_ (qv)", a part that the studio gave to 'Michelle Pfeiffer' (qv) when Bening became pregnant.
- Publicly criticized 'Hillary Rodham Clinton' (qv)'s 2000 bid for a seat in the Senate representing New York as the work of an opportunist.