Oscar Actors: Beatty, Warren

Henry Warren Beatty was born on March 30, 1937 in Richmond, Virginia.

With his older sister Shirley McLaine, Beatty started acting as a child in amateur productions directed by their mother, a drama coach. After a year at Northwestern University, he was a construction worker for a while before taking drama lessons with Stella Adler and starting a slow ascent on TV.

After playing a lead role in Compulsion in stock, he appeared on Broadway in William Inge's “A Loss of Roses,” then made a good start in films, opposite Natalie Wood, in “Splendor in the Grass” (1961).

His virile good looks and magnetic antihero personality appealed to young audiences, and his popularity reached a peak with his portrayal of Clyde Barrow in “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), which he also produced.

In 1978, he made an impressive directorial debut with “Heaven Can Wait,” which he codirected with Buck Henry and cowrote with Elaine May. He also coproduced and starred in this film, enjoyed a considerable success at the box office and was nominated for an Oscar as best picture. The film also earned Beatty two Academy Award nominations, as best director (in collaboration) and best actor.

Beatty won the directing Oscar three years later for “Reds” (1981), a sprawling political saga, in which he also starred as the idealist journalist John Reed. After several years of inactivity, Beatty met his Waterloo as the producer of the expensive boxoffice flop “Ishtar” (1987).

Undaunted, he made a healthy financial recovery with the blockbuster “Dick Tracy” (1990), which he produced and directed, with himself starring in the title role. Enigmatic and somewhat of a maverick in his work habits, he has also developed quite a reputation for his offscreen romantic exploits, which have involved some of the screen's bestlooking women. He has also been actively involved in social issues and liberal politics.

Beatty married Annette Bening, whom he met while working on “Bugsy.”

Oscar Alert

As a thespian, Warren Beatty received four Oscar nominations, all in the lead category:

1967: Bonnie and Clyde; the winner was Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night
1978: Heaven Can Wait; the winner was Jon Voight for Coming Home
1981: Reds; the winner was Henry Fonda for On Golden Pond
1991: Bugsy; the winner was Anthony Hopkins for The Silence of the Lambs