Warren Beatty Overview:

Legendary actor, Warren Beatty, was born Henry Warren Beaty on Mar 30, 1937 in Richmond, VA. As of December 2023, Warren Beatty was 86 years old.

Early Life

Henry Warren Beatty was born on March 30th, 1937 in Richmond, Virginia. His childhood was marked by comfort and privilege as his father, Ira, worked as professor of psychology and public school administrator before going into real estate. His mother, Kathlyn, once had dreams of stardom but was forced to put to them rest when she had children and become a drama teacher instead. His older sister and fellow actress, Shirley MacLaine, would also grow become one of Hollywood's most legendary characters. Because of her own thwarted dreams, Kathlyn would instill the drive of success and stardom into her children at a very young age. Whatever Beatty put his mind to, he seemed to excel at it. While attending High School at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Beatty was talented academic and athlete, becoming the premiere football star of his school. Inspired by success of big sister, Beatty also decided to give a hand at acting. He spent the summer before his senior year across the Potomac river in Washington D.C, working as a stagehand and learning everything he could about the theater from the bottom up. The next year he graduating at the top of his class and was offered an impressive ten football scholarships but declined them all. He instead chose to attend Northwestern University majoring in liberal arts. A year later he dropped out and headed to New York to study with Stella Adler at the Actors Conservatory.

Early Career

Thanks to his dashing good looks and toned, athletic build, Beatty was able to find quick work on television. Within less than a year of coming to the Big Apple, Beatty made his television debut on the 1957 episode of Kraft Theatre titled The Curly Headed Kid. He soon began making guest appearances on other live televised dramas such as Studio One in Hollywood, Suspicion and Playhouse 90. He then became a regular on the teen sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, playing the wealthy teen, Milton Armitage, vying for the love of Tuesday Weld. Beatty disliked the experience, finding the work vapid and insipid. He left the show and decided to move the legitimate theatre, where he could truly test his skills as an actor. For a year he bounced from production to production, taking work where he could find it. In late 1959 he was cast as the lead in the William Inge play A Loss of Roses. The play turned out to be his breakout hit, earning him a Tony nomination and a 1960 Theatre Award. Not bad for his very first sojourn on the Broadway Stage. After the play's successful run ended, Beatty headed West to Hollywood and took his chances on the motion picture industry.

Early Film Career

Because of his time with Stella Adler, Beatty was already known in the Actors Studio community in Tinsel Town. When Elia Kazan was in need of a handsome brooding young man for his next film, he already had Beatty in mind. He was cast opposite Natalie Wood in the early coming-of-age story, Splendor in the Grass that served at Beatty's silver screen debut. The film was box office and critical hit, with rave reviews coming in from the trade papers. Although some praised Beatty's acting skills, others thought the handsome young actor relied too much on his good looks to carry him through the scene. His next role seemed fit his looks more than his talent, as the young Italian lover to the lonely Vivien Leigh in the big screen adaption of the Tennessee Williams novella The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. He again acted in William Inge screenplay, this time with 1962'sAll Fall Down as the handsome but sadistic drifter Berry-Berry. In 1964 he starred in the Robert Rossen drama Lillith, playing a young physiologist who falls for one his more dangerous patients, played by Jean Seberg. The next year Beatty starred in experimental-crime drama Mickey One, directed by Arthur Penn. In the film Beatty plays a comedian on the run from the mob, taking the new name Mickey One. Because of the films surrealists tone and experimentation, the film received mixed reviews and faired badly the box office. Despite the films uneven reception, Beatty and Penn proved to be great creative partners and would work again two year later for the film that shape the rest of Beatty's career Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie and Clyde

In 1967 Beatty and Penn began work on their next collaboration, a fairly fictionalized retelling of depression-era bandits, Bonnie and Clyde. It would mark the first time Beatty would take the helm of project, acting both as the film's star and producer. Beatty played Clyde Barrows while Hollywood newcomer Faye Dunaway played his onscreen lover and partner in crime, Bonnie Parker.  Fueled by aesthetics of the French New Wave and the troubled atmosphere of United State's politics, what resulted was something of revolution in Hollywood. Never before had audiences been privy to such a realistic depiction of violence, while simultaneously offering a superbly stylized vision of reality. Although some critics were appalled by the violence, audiences flock to see the film, helping it gross over 70 million dollars on budget of less than 3 million. Bonnie and Clyde was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including two for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Best Director and two for Beatty: Best Actor and Best Picture.  The film also marked the beginning of "New Hollywood Cinema," an era in film history where directors and actors were given more control over their material. At this point in his career, Beatty was launched into superstardom.

Now as one of the biggest stars in the world Beatty effortlessly fell into the role of Lady's man. Already the target of tabloid scrutiny due to his past relations with married women, he soon found himself dating some of most eligible bachelorettes in the world such as Julie Christy, Jane Fonda, and Bianca Jagger. He was able to be equally as selective on his film projects as well, taking only the roles he truly wanted. In 1971 he starred opposite his then girlfriend Julie Christie in the Robert Alman anti-Western McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Later that year he starred in the comedy Dollars opposite Goldie Hawn. He teamed with famed thriller director Alan J. Pakula to star in Robert Towne penned The Parallax View. The 1974 political thriller follows a young and ambitious reporter as he investigates himself into the middle of a huge and vast multi-national conspiracy. The next year he began worked on his second film acting as producer/star with Shampoo. Written by Roberte Town and directed by Hal Ashby, the film comments the country political disillusionment of the 1960s idealism through the perspective of a sex crazed, hair stylist played by Beatty. The film was a huge box-office success although critics seemed to de divided by the effort. The film was nonetheless nominated for a plethora of Academy Awards.

Continued Success

In 1978 Beatty work on his next project Heaven Can Wait, acting as the films writer, director, producer, and star. In the picture Beatty plays football star that accidentally dies before his time is supposed to be up thanks to heavenly mishap and is returned to the earth in the body of an elderly millionaire. The film was a massive success as not only one of the top grossing films of the year but one of the best reviewed, as well. For his work, Beatty received the Best Director, Best Actor, and Picture Academy Award nominations.  Thanks to the Success of Heaven Can Wait, Beatty could finally spearhead a project he had a decade researching; the epic film adaptation of author John Reed's chronicles of the Russian Revolution, Reds. The film starred Beatty as Reed with Diane Keaton as his proto-feminist lover Louise Bryant, Maureen Stapleton as communist author Emma Goldman, and Jack Nicholson as playwright Eugene O'Neill. The film was a huge success, making over 50 million dollars at the box office and garnering an impressive 12 Academy Award nominations. Of those twelve, the film managed to capture three: one for Best Cinematography, one for Best Supporting Actress for Stapleton, and one Best Director for Warren Beatty.

Later Career

After Reds Beatty stayed away from the Silver Screen for six years  and returned with the unfortunately infamous Elaine May directed comedy Ishtar. The film featured Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as two talented less longue singers who find themselves in the Middle East, entrench is a coup. It was massive failure, losing millions at the box office and garnering Beatty and Hoffman with some of the worst reviews of their lives. He recovered with his next project, once again working as producer, director, and star of the big screen adaption of the comic strip, Dick Tracey. The film was massive hit and one of most critically acclaimed of the year, receiving seven Academy Award nominations. His next film, Bugsy, which he produced and starred, was also a hit. While on the shoot, Beatty dated his co-star Annette Bening, however, unlike like his other co-stars Beatty ended up marrying this one. And in 1992, after years of being one of Hollywood's most eligible bachelors, Beatty was off the market. In 1994 he starred with Bening in the lackluster 1994 remake of Love Affair. In 1998 Beatty helmed the political comedy Bulworth, starring as democratic senator who decides to kill himself so his family can collect the insurance money. The film masterful blending of the hip-hop subculture with mainstream politics and dark comedy made it a hit with audiences and critics. His last screen appearance came in the 2001 comedy flop Town and Country. Beatty has since been absent from the screen, enjoying what seems to be his retirement in sunny Los Angeles. 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



Warren Beatty was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Director for Reds in 1981. He also won one Honorary Award in 1999 Warren Beatty .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1967Best ActorBonnie and Clyde (1967)Clyde BarrowNominated
1978Best ActorHeaven Can Wait (1943)N/ANominated
1978Best WritingHeaven Can Wait (1943)N/ANominated
1981Best ActorReds (1981)N/ANominated
1981Best DirectorReds (1981)N/AWon
1991Best ActorBugsy (1991)Bugsy SiegelNominated
1998Best WritingBulworth (1998)N/ANominated

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)



Warren Beatty's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #171 on May 21, 1998.

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By Vanessa on Feb 8, 2013 From Stardust

The Appreciation Post I never much liked ... until a couple years ago, that is, when I sat down and made myself watch Splendor In The Grass (1960) and Bonnie & Clyde (1967). Up until then, I couldn't stomach the thought of him. Why? I don't honestly know. It may... Read full article


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By Brandie on Aug 8, 2010 From True Classics

Since Brandie already had something to say about Bonnie and Clyde back in February, I’m linking to her post about the film. Ahh, young love. Well, sort of. The first time I saw this movie was in a high school psychology class. Incidentally, this teacher also showed me Alfred Hitchcock’s ... Read full article

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Warren Beatty Quotes:

Clyde Barrow: You try to get something to eat around here and some son-of-a-bitch comes up to you with a meat cleaver.

Clyde Barrow: This here's Miss Bonnie Parker. I'm Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.

Bonnie Parker: Hey, that ain't ours!
Clyde Barrow: Sure it is.
Bonnie Parker: But we come in this one.
Clyde Barrow: That don't mean we have to go home in it!

read more quotes from Warren Beatty...

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Warren Beatty Facts
His two favorite cartoon characters are Daffy Duck (who is his all time favorite) and Johnny Bravo.

Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as best supporting or featured actor (dramatic) for "A Loss of Roses", later filmed as The Stripper (1963) with Richard Beymer in Beatty's role.

Rumored to have been the subject of Carly Simon hit, 'You're So Vain'.

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