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The renowned actress currently serves as a judge on The WB's reality show, "Starlet", where 10 actresses compete for a shot at Hollywood stardom. As the co-star of the landmark Bonnie and Clyde, actress Faye Dunaway helped usher in a new golden era in American filmmaking, going on to appear in several of the greatest films of the 1970s. 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). Still, 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.
Faye Dunaway, star of 70 films, helps pick 'The Starlet'
The Oscar winner reinvents herself on "reality" TV. On a recent afternoon, Faye Dunaway found herself back at the Chateau Marmont. It was a setting that summoned her '70s marriage to singer Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band, and it made her think, she said, of a "hip, slick, cool, black-jeans kind of Hollywood musical existence."
But Dunaway, looking pretty as ever and dressed classically in black slacks, a beige silk blouse, and a lavender jacket, wasn't there to reminisce. This Oscar winner, star of more than 70 films, was there to discuss her latest role: a judge on the WB's new reality competition The Starlet, premiering at 8 tonight.
It's a venture that the 64-year-old actress, who mesmerized audiences in the '60s and '70s with her performances in Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown, and Network, hopes will bring her as much success as her friend Donald (as in Trump) gained on NBC's The Apprentice.
"To set the show apart, we really needed legitimate judges," said Jamie Kennedy, the Upper Darby, Pa., native who created The Starlet. "And who was the original starlet? Who encompassed acting chops, with star-quality presence, the 'it' factor, and an amazing resumé more than Faye Dunaway?"
Nice props, but the actress begs to differ: "I don't think I was a starlet. I think I moved to young leading lady really quickly. At that time, the phrase was for a girl who did beach movies, who didn't have a real craft or a real future as an artist... .
"But this show is a different matter."
The winner of The Starlet walks away with a one-year management contract with 3 Arts Entertainment, an overall talent deal with the WB, and a guest role on One Tree Hill, whose audience has almost doubled in its second season.
Dunaway, who has been nominated three times for an Oscar and took the trophy home in 1977 for playing a heartless TV executive in Network, the film that predicted just how trashy television could become, said she agreed to participate in The Starlet "for the fun of it, the finger-on-the-pulse of it."
"You are always looking to reinvent yourself. You're always looking to stay alive, to stay inventive, to stay creative, to find what interests you," she said. "There's that wonderful thing that John Huston said about hell being the place where you're not interested in anything. They say Capricorns do that, and I'm a Capricorn. I think the more you live, you ought to know more and stay interested."
In what would ordinarily be considered a refreshing turn in Hollywood, Dunaway has no entourage - no bodyguards protecting her, no publicist controlling her every move, no personal assistant.
An entourage, however, might be a godsend in the case of Dunaway, a notoriously high-maintenance interview subject. She has no qualms about calling several times over a weekend before settling on a time to meet. Let's not even go into her elaborate directives to a photographer.
And yet it's also true that Dunaway, unlike many in Hollywood, is willing to admit when she's wrong. In her case, the behavior many call "difficult" seems clearly linked more to passion than to ego.
"You put yourself up to have people criticize you or take potshots or like you - or not like you," Dunaway said. "It's an occupational hazard of the career. It still does hurt when people say things that are not fair. I'm trying the best I can to learn about my character flaws. I'm impatient. I get angry, not in a kind of vicious way, I trust, but I have passion about stuff, and sometimes that comes off wrong. If it does, I try to look at it and learn from it and change it."
The Starlet places 10 young actress-hopefuls in a house to live together and compete. For six weeks, the starlets audition in front of three judges: actress Vivica A. Fox of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Independence Day; casting director Joseph Middleton (Legally Blonde, The Bourne Supremacy); and Dunaway, who delivers the bad news to those who get cut with a line she hopes will become as much a part of the popular lexicon as "You're fired."
Dunaway's version: "Don't call us, we'll call you."
"Just to see the girls tremble whenever she spoke - here was a true legend," said The Starlet's executive producer, Mike Fleiss, best known for The Bachelor and Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?
The trembling was not always in simple awe. "Oh, Faye could be mean," Fleiss continued. "For sure. She doesn't suffer fools... . The thing is, she's really smart about it. She really understands her craft."
Dunaway used a line from Master Class, the Broadway hit she starred in and is developing into a film, to guide her in judging the starlets, ages 18 to 25, on their weekly screen tests: "If you're any easier on them, you'll make them mediocre."
"Life is not going to coddle them, and this town and this business is certainly not going to coddle them, and you really have to have a lot of strength of mind," Dunaway said. "If anything can stop you, let it - because you should be stopped. Because you're going to need every ounce of resolve. It's a tricky profession. Many are called and few serve. It's a combination of a lot of stuff that creates success - not just talent, not just craft, not just attitude - but all of that together somehow."
After production wrapped in December, Dunaway said she was not surprised by which actress won, though that secret won't be revealed until the show's finale April 3.
"There was something that one noticed immediately about the winner, but I was surprised as we went along to see her keep on delivering and keep on delivering and keep on delivering with craft and various aspects of performance.
"She had a kind of hunger. I hope that this show is like those other shows and [that] even the ones that didn't win are helped in their careers."
So did the WB find its ideal starlet?
"Yeah, we did," Fleiss said. "And she's still Faye Dunaway."
Faye Dunaway: Delivering Hollywood's Message
For three decades, she's been one of Hollywood's leading stars, her films considered amongst cinema's greatest. Oscar winner Faye Dunaway continues to roost the Hollywood nest, whether as an actress in Luc Besson's Joan of Arc epic, The Messenger, or as a would-be director. She's as tough as the gallery of characters she's portrayed.
Faye Dunaway is not one to age gracefully, or to be reminded that she's not the glamour puss that became a star with Bonnie and Clyde some 30 years ago. The actress, now delicately greyed, is initially put off when reminded it's been thirty or so years since first gaining the spotlight. "What an indelicate remark", she exclaims while pouring the umpteenth cup of coffee for the day. "Years are not important, my dear", she adds, poutingly but with a slight smile. Yet the fact remains, that in her prime, Dunaway had some of Hollywood's choicest roles, which begs the question: Are those roles harder to come by the older she gets? "It's always difficult. When you're younger they always try to get you to do every ninny role that's going. I think you always have to look for stuff that's good and there is really good stuff especially in the independent arena." Unlike the studios "which is all about the blockbuster sometimes to the exclusion of very good roles." So for Dunaway, "the name of the game is to find your own stuff and develop it."
As a young actress, Dunaway was lucky in that the studios were prepared to take risks; the roles were there for the taking. "That was then. How many Bonnie and Clydes, Chinatowns and Networks are you seeing now?" Not that the industry is necessarily deteriorating, as some might argue. "It's just changed. Since Star Wars, that film's success led to bigger budgets, more hardware, that the great movies like the ones I did, which were studio movies, are now independent movies. They range from half a million to several million, and a lot of those have very interesting roles."
In The Messenger, The Story of Joan of Arc, Dunaway turns up in period attire as Yolande, the manipulative mother-in-law of the man-who-would-be-king, and is instrumental in having Joan of Arc be presented at court. For this lavish project, shot mainly in the Czech Republic over four months, Dunaway was "keen to work with Luc [Besson]. He's a formidable director and an auteur, who brings a whole world to the screen. I also found the character interesting. She's the one who moves the action a little bit and creates the opportunity for Joan to come to court, and I don't think she's ever been in a movie about of Joan of Arc before. In my mind, she was a very fearsome, thoughtful, political and intelligent woman."
This is a popular time for Joan of Arc in as short a time. Dunaway has no doubts as to the reason for the saint's timely resurgence. "There's the element of the miracle about her, there's this whole spirituality and the connection with voices - and it worked. She actually inspired the French soldiers to drive the English out, so that's the thing. If it hadn't worked, she just would have been another of those medieval nuts hearing voices." Interestingly, Dunaway could not only relate to her own character in the film, but conceded to an affinity with Joan. "It's that pure kind of connection to belief to what she believed, and what she thought she believed. It doesn't matter if she heard it or not - she believed that she did. It's a younger thing, something that I can imagine my son feeling or experiencing, not to mention all the kids. It belongs to that time in one's life; I don't think you ever lose it. As a woman of today, though, as a mother with so much going on, I'm more like Yolande at this moment, I think more like her and think more strategically. Whereas for a child, it's more a pure kind of desire and life force that just wants to prevail. But a lot of that's behind my strategic thinking." Which relates perfectly to the actress's Hollywood experiences. "That part that wants to create the opportunity for me to do the work that I want to do, is strategic, thoughtful and you make certain choices based on that."
While these days, Dunaway may need to fight a little bit harder for the roles, her early career is defined by the very history of American cinema that was groundbreaking at the time she came to the fore. As the co-star of the landmark Bonnie and Clyde, she helped usher in a new golden era in American filmmaking, going on to appear in several of the greatest films of the 1970s. Born January 14, 1941 in Florida, Dunaway was the daughter of an army officer. She studied theatre arts at the University of Boston and later joined the Lincoln Centre Repertory. 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. 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. Still, 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 film was an unqualified success, one of the most influential films of the era, and seemingly overnight she had become a star, 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 a television production of 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. After appearing 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 The 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 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, returning for the 1987 feature Barfly. Dunaway's most prominent roles of the mid-90s include a supporting turn as the wife of psychiatrist Marlon Brando in 1995's Don Juan DeMarco and as bar-maid/hostage in the directorial debut of actor Kevin Spacey, Albino Alligator (1996), as well as the recent remake of Thomas Crown Affair.
Though her career is more character-driven these days, she retains vivid memories of her early career, grateful that her work is constantly being re-examined. "People are always rediscovering Bonnie and Clyde and Chinatown; the great movies that I think I did were a certain thing: They were my early body of work. Now in a sense I'm working on another body of work. I still have, I hope, a lot of years and there are still a lot of things I want to do."
These days, Dunaway says reflectively, she remains ambivalent about Hollywood's perception of her. "I don't particularly care. Fortunately, that career has put me in a certain position that is there. There are all kinds of perceptions, some not so important; what's important is that I come out with something that's good. In order to do that, some of it depends a little bit on Hollywood's perception, but most of it just depends on the sheer dint of my own energy and creativity." Dunaway is as passionate as she always has been, but has also mellowed over the years. Her fights with directors (Polanski springs to mind) are legendary. Ironically, Dunaway wants to take up the challenge of directing and has plans to do so. "It's on the cards, that's for sure", and is also planning to produce a film version of the play Master Class, which she's currently developing.
When it comes to her clear contribution to American film culture and history, Dunaway's humility genuinely sets in. "I don't think about it too much, but I am very humble about it. It's true, I did a lot of great movies, and I'm happy. It was what it was, and now I think all of that has fed into where I am now, and I think it has taught me a lot." The biggest lessons Dunaway says she has learnt from those experiences, "is how to make movies, how to look at the profession, how to survive in the profession, the kinds of ways I want to work, what I need to have and use in myself to create pieces and products that have the kinds of impact of the movies I've been in. And I've had a front-row seat to study all the film making that I've been a part of." For Ms Dunaway, the lessons are continuing.
Faye Dunaway Ready for Her Close-Up
Aged former starlet Faye Dunaway, who starred in "Network," Paddy Chayefsky's prescient satire of trash TV, has signed on to be the aged actress-icon-judge on WB's new reality series, "Starlet." The show is the creation of Mike Fleiss, who brought you the Darva Conger-Rick Rockwell wedding on "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?," "The Bachelor" and "Are You Hot: The Search for America's Sexiest People," made infamous by Lorenzo Lamas and his cellulite-seeking laser pointer.
The irony/horror of this was not lost on a couple of TV critics, who asked Dunaway, 64, to comment.
"We have to look at it with a much more faceted perception," she said.
I have no idea what that means.
"Paddy Chayefsky did what any great artist does," Dunaway continued. "They predict reality, and then, suddenly you think, 'Oh my God, it's all come true.' But that's this kind of, I won't call it a monster, but it is some kind of, you know, being that we have to really use properly and I don't know that we always do it perfectly. But you know, this whole, this eye, this television medium, it's something that's incredibly powerful and I think that's what Paddy was getting at."
There was more. Dunaway likened reality TV to film noir -- ahead of its time and getting no respect.
"I know you're probably going to give me a bad laugh now on this, but I wonder, I wonder what the film noir, when film noir just started, Sam Fuller, and they all started in Cecil B. De Mille territory, you know, I wonder," she said. Extra points if you can figure that out.
"The point is," Dunaway continued, to the chagrin of several critics who were pretty much at the end of their ropes after two weeks listening to nonstop blather while stuck at the Universal Hilton Hotel.
(Note to self: Suggest to Fox execs that for the next edition of "The Simple Life" they force Paris Hilton to shack up in this dive for two weeks and listen to network suits brag about their new lineups.) "Starlet" involves 10 wannabe actresses who fight to win a management deal and a one-time guest gig on WB's teen angst drama, "One Tree Hill." Dunaway, who appeared at the penultimate day of Winter TV Press Tour 2005 to discuss "Starlet," was seated next to Jamie Kennedy, one of the show's executive producers. While Dunaway explained that she was doing this to pass along her wisdom to future generations, Kennedy wanted to make sure critics were aware that the 10 contestants are "banging."
By which, of course, he meant they were very hot. The judges, on the other hand, are "redic," Kennedy said.
Chayefsky rolled over in his grave.
And yet, Dunaway's appearance on the same panel as Kennedy and Fleiss was not, believe it or not, the most cringe-inducing moment of WB's day at Winter TV Press Tour 2005.
That distinction goes, hands down, to Amy Sherman-Palladino, the extremely needy creator of "The Gilmore Girls." Sherman-Palladino is one of those people who like to make sure all eyes are on her, and so says outrageous things and dresses in hideous hats and loud outfits -- today it was a black-and-white polka-dot strapless sundress with a sort of veil at the bottom, a little black cardigan, a sort of Wicked Witch of the West hat and red pumps.
During a Q&A session promoting the upcoming 100th episode of "The Gilmore Girls," she was asked her thoughts on the impact "American Idol" has had on her show's ratings.
" 'American Idol,' " she replied "is the like Nazis marching through Poland. You gotta let them go and get out of the way."
See what we mean?
Dunaway says 'Bravo' to Bellflower
Actress joins in recognizing heroes, public safety workers, volunteers.
Heroism is not about fame or money. It's about a desire to help others, Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway told an audience of about 450 people Thursday at a recognition ceremony for public safety workers, volunteers and good Samaritans.
"They do it because they feel the need from their hearts, not for the paycheck, not for the glory there isn't any," the 64-year-old actress said at the 11th annual BRAVO Awards at the Bristol Civic Auditorium. "Most of these are private, personal actions, and it is truly a wonderful thing that Bellflower recognizes these people each year who don't ask for recognition.
"But as a society, it is so important for us to recognize them and remind ourselves what is important to us and who is important when our house is on fire and our family is in jeopardy. At that moment we would gladly trade anything, wealth or fame, to know our family is safe."
The star of "Bonnie and Clyde' and "Chinatown' joined other
speakers in paying tribute to 13 honorees selected by the city for heroism. BRAVO, an acronym for Bellflower Recognizes Acts of Valor and Outstanding Service, annually recognizes Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies and firefighters, paramedics, military personnel and volunteers.
Deputies Christopher Bronowicki, Donald Roachford, Philip Geisler, Patrick Hayes and Ted Hamm received the Award of Valor for catching an armed robber.
"I feel like I'm getting an award for something I basically signed on a dotted line to do. It is my duty," Roachford said.
Valor Award winners Jesus Garcia and Luis Nieves prove that age and health are not limitations in heroism.
Garcia, who accepted the award with his 8-year-old brother, Gamma, stood up to suspected gang members who tried to rob them.
Nieves used his wheelchair to block an alleged robber from entering the convalescent home where he lives.
Howard Cole, a procurement engineer for Lockheed Martin, donated more than 1,000 hours to earn the 2005 Volunteer of the Year award. Larry Wehage, a Los Angeles Police Department officer, was named Neighborhood Watch captain of the year.
And Bellflower High School seniors Christina Lopez and Olaleke Owolabi were also honored for writing essays on public safety.
Prince Azim Plans Movie Debut
Movie producer PRINCE AZIM has secured R+B beauty ALICIA KEYS and OSCAR-winning actress FAYE DUNAWAY to star in his first film.
The Brunei royal became a Hollywood player at just 22-years-old after failing to win a place at Britain's prestigious Oxford University, but he is currently jetting around the globe to secure locations for his first big screen movie.
Azim says, "I'm co-producing a movie which is going to star Faye Dunaway and Alicia Keys.
"It's great fun, but it's keeping me pretty busy at the moment.
"I'm spending most of my time jumping around between Brunei, London and the United States."
Dunaway to participate in reality show 'Starlet'
Faye Dunaway said she would have considered being on a reality TV show if they had been around at the start of her career. Honest.
''The only thing I said 'no' to was the soap, because I thought I might get bad habits,'' the 64-year-old actress told reporters in Los Angeles. Dunaway won a best-actress Oscar in 1977 for ''Network.''
She's on a reality show at this stage of her career. Dunaway is the central figure in ''Starlet,'' which debuts March 8 on the WB network. She puts wannabe actresses through a Hollywood boot camp that tests their mettle.
The winner gets a management deal and a one-shot guest role on ''One Tree Hill,'' the WB's hot teen drama.
''What's not to like?'' Dunaway asked. ''You know, it gives them a chance.''