Annette Francine Bening (born May 29, 1958) is an American actress. Her break-through role in The Grifters was followed with critically acclaimed roles in films such as Bugsy and American Beauty. In 1992, she married American actor and director Warren Beatty, with whom she has four children.
Bening was born in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Shirley, a church singer and soloist, and Arnett Grant Bening, a sales training consultant and insurance salesman. Her parents, natives of Iowa, were practicing Episcopalians and conservative Republicans. Her sister and two brothers are Jane Bening (born 1953), Bradley Bening (born 1955) and Byron Bening (born 1957). The family moved to Wichita, Kansas, in 1959, where she spent her early childhood. In 1965, her father took a job with a company in San Diego, California, and they moved there. She began acting in junior high school, playing the lead in The Sound of Music. She studied drama at Patrick Henry High School.
She then spent a year working as a cook on a charter boat taking fishing parties out on the Pacific Ocean, and scuba diving for recreation. She attended San Diego Mesa College, then completed an academic degree in theatre arts at San Francisco State University. Bening joined the acting company at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco while studying acting as part of the Advanced Theatre Training Program. During this time she established herself as a formidable acting talent in roles like Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth.
Bening moved to New York City, where she debuted off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre (McGinn-Cazale Theatre) in the role of 'Holly Dancer' in Tina Howe's widely acclaimed Coastal Disturbances (1986) opposite Tim Daly, and for which she earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play. However, despite the praise and recognition, it took some time for that success to translate to her film career. Her television debut was with the made-for-TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas (1986). Her first major role in a theatrical feature was in The Great Outdoors (1988) playing 'Kate Craig' opposite Dan Aykroyd and John Candy. Her next role was as the Marquise de Merteuil in Valmont (1989) opposite Colin Firth.
Bening's next major feature, Stephen Frears's The Grifters (1990) starring Anjelica Huston and John Cusack, met with critical acclaim. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for The Grifters. She followed that with her appearance in Bugsy. Bening was offered the role as Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992), but after she became pregnant, the role went to Michelle Pfeiffer. In 1994 she played opposite 87-year old acting legend Katharine Hepburn in Love Affair. Bening was paid $3 million to play the role of 'Elise Kraft/Sharon Bridger' in The Siege (1998) co-starring Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. Her next role, in the 1999 film American Beauty, would give her the highest-profile role of her career thus far. Bening played a real-estate agent in three different movies: Regarding Henry, American Beauty, and What Planet Are You From?. She has appeared in three different Mike Nichols' movies: Postcards from the Edge, Regarding Henry, and What Planet Are You From?
She was originally cast as the mother in Disney's Freaky Friday, but dropped out. She replaced Julianne Moore in Running with Scissors, playing Deirdre Burroughs in the film adaptation of the Augusten Burroughs book. On December 9, 2006, Bening hosted Saturday Night Live with musical guests Gwen Stefani and Akon.
Her 2010 film, "The Kids Are Alright" was her most critically acclaimed performance since American Beauty, with several reviewers noting that she "deserves an Oscar" and that her "sublime" performance "towers over the rest of the cast".
Bening and Warren Beatty began a relationship during the filming of Bugsy (1991). Bening has said, "When Warren and I were first together and I was pregnant, we would get followed around by photographers. But it was nothing like what celebrities have to endure these days." They married on March 10, 1992 and have four children: Kathlyn (born January 8, 1992), Benjamin (born August 23, 1994), Isabel (born January 11, 1997) and Ella (born April 8, 2000).
- "Annette Bening Biography (1958–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- PUTTING `REAL LIFE' FIRST MAKES BENING A BETTER ACTRESS
- Dutka, Elaine (1999-02-21). "The Aura of Annette; If She Makes the Merging of Career and Family Appear Effortless, It's an Illusion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Annette Bening, Acting on Her Maternal Instincts". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- "Biography for Annette Bening". Yahoo.com.
- "Annette Bening: Parenthood Is a 'Bit of a Mess and Chaotic'". Parade Magazine. May 03, 2010. Check date values in:
- "Annette Bening's Federal Campaign Contribution Report". Newsmeat.com. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Lakshman, Nandini (21 April 2008). "India's Top Five Yoga Centers". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
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- People in Film: Annette Bening – Focus Features
- Roger Ebert "Movie Answer Man: Hail, Columbia! Mystery solved". Retrieved Aug. 27, 2005.
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