May. 29th, 1958
Topeka, Kansas, USA
5' 8 1/2"
Annette Bening's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2010 - The Kids Are All Right
2010 - Mother and Child
2008 - The Women
2006 - Running with Scissors
2004 - Being Julia
2003 - Open Range
2000 - What Planet are you from?
1999 - American Beauty
1999 - In Dreams
1998 - The Siege
1996 - Mars Attacks!
1995 - Richard III
1995 - The American President
1994 - Love Affair
1991 - Bugsy
1991 - Guilty by Suspicion
1991 - Regarding Henry
1990 - The Grifters
1990 - Postcards from the Edge
1989 - Valmont
1988 - The Great Outdoors
Guest TV Roles
Abigail Adams (Voiced)
Herself - Host
Herself - Guest
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.
- Formerly a board member of the small L.A. theater company "The Actors' Gang."
- Was three times a real estate agent: in _Regarding Henry (1991)_ (qv), _American Beauty (1999)_ (qv) and _What Planet Are You From? (2000)_ (qv).
- She was originally slated to play Tess Coleman in _Freaky Friday (2003)_ (qv). She backed out shortly before filming and was replaced by 'Jamie Lee Curtis' (qv).
- She was offered US$1 million for the role of Catwoman in _Batman Returns (1992)_ (qv).
- Studied at San Diego Mesa College, and completed her drama degree at San Francisco State University. Studied at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater and joined its acting company.
- Was nominated for Broadway's a 1987 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Play) for "Coastal Disturbances."
- Her first husband was American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) director J. Steven White'. They married in 1984, separated in 1986 and divorced in 1991.
- Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame [November 10, 2006].