Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Faye Dunaway

Go To

Dorothy Faye Dunaway (born January 14, 1941) is an American actress.

She began her career on Broadway in the 1960s, and soon made her film debut with The Happening (not the one you're probably thinking of). She instantly got people talking, and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best New Star of the Year. But it was her next film that would truly change things in her favour. She had been turned down for Bonnie and Clyde when the casting director felt she didn't have the right face for the movies. After watching The Happening, director Arthur Penn was instantly persuaded to let her read for the titular Bonnie. Despite the film's controversial reception, Dunaway was now a star and earning rave reviews.

She would follow this up with another smash hit The Thomas Crown Affair, alongside Steve McQueen - and he would later call Dunaway the best actress he ever worked with. Her next films didn't quite set the world on fire, but she hit it big again with Roman Polanski's Chinatown. Things escalated even further when she lobbied for the role of a ruthless TV executive in Network, despite the insistence that it could do harmful damage to her career. She won an Oscar for it.


Things however took a sharp U-turn in the '80s. Christina Crawford, daughter of Hollywood star Joan Crawford, released Mommie Dearest, a scathing memoir recounting her abuse at the hands of her stepmother. Seeing gold, producers greenlit a film adaptation. Coincidentally, shortly before her death, Crawford had named Dunaway as one of the only actresses of the New Hollywood who "has what it takes" to become a true star and portray Crawford herself in a movie about her life. So Dunaway immediately accepted the role of Crawford, sure that the film would be hard-hitting and provocative. Unfortunately the result was a hammy melodrama that turned Joan Crawford into a deranged cartoon character. The studio changed its strategy and marketed the film as a comedy. Despite popular belief, Dunaway's performance wasn't torn to shreds; she actually won two awards for it. But the damage was done, and audiences could not take her seriously afterwards. (Reportedly this film is her personal Berserk Button, and interviewers are forbidden to ask her about it.)


She's still acting away in independent films, television and on the stage. In fact she won three Golden Globes post-Mommie Dearest. She also released a memoir in 1995 called Looking for Gatsby and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996.

Films with TV Tropes pages:

Faye Dunaway's work provides examples of the following tropes:


Example of: