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Annette Francine Bening (born May 29, 1958) is an American actress.

Early life

Bening was born in Topeka, Kansasmarker, the daughter of Shirley, a church singer and soloist, and Grant Bening, a sales training consultant and insurance salesman. Her parents, natives of Iowamarker, were practicing Episcopalian and conservative Republican. Her sister and two brothers are Jane Bening (born 1953), Bradley Bening (born 1955) and Byron Bening (born 1957). The family moved to Wichita, Kansasmarker, in 1959, where she spent her early childhood. In 1965, her father took a job with a company in San Diego, Californiamarker, 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 Collegemarker, then completed an academic degree in theatre arts at San Francisco State Universitymarker. Bening joined the acting company at the American Conservatory Theatermarker 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.

Career

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. 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 her most recent appearance, 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.

Bening is a council member for the California Arts Council.

Personal life

In 1985, Bening and her first husband, choreographer J. Steven White, moved to Denver, Coloradomarker, to work at the Shakespeare Festival in Boulder, Coloradomarker. They separated the following year.

She and Warren Beatty met on the set of Bugsy (1991), in which she played Virginia Hill, and the couple began a secret romance. They married in 1992. She and Beatty live in Los Angelesmarker with their four children, Kathlyn Elizabeth Beatty (born January 8, 1992 in Los Angeles County, California), Benjamin MacLean Beatty (born August 23, 1994 in Los Angeles County, California), Isabel Ira Ashley Beatty (born January 11, 1997) and Ella Corinne Beatty (born April 8, 2000). Her marriage to Beatty provided an additional push to her career, simply because of the large amount of tabloid publicity surrounding the romance and marriage; Beatty had been a life-long "most eligible bachelor" and was considered a playboy, before he met Bening.

Bening is a supporter of the Democrats and was a political contributor to the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama in 2008. She is a student of Iyengar Yoga.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1988 The Great Outdoors Kate Craig
1989 Valmont Merteuil
1990 Postcards from the Edge Evelyn Ames
The Grifters Myra Langtry London Film Critics' Circle Award for Newcomer of the Year
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role


1991 Guilty by Suspicion Ruth Merrill
Regarding Henry Sarah Turner
Bugsy Virginia Hill Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1994 Love Affair Terry McKay
1995 Richard III Queen Elizabeth
The American President Sydney Ellen Wade Nominated — American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1996 Mars Attacks! Barbara Land
1998 The Siege Elise Kraft/Sharon Bridger
1999 In Dreams Claire Cooper
American Beauty Carolyn Burnham BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — American Comedy Award for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama












2000 What Planet Are You From? Susan Anderson
2003 Open Range Sue Barlow Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
2004 Being Julia Julia Lambert Bangkok International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role







2005 Mrs. Harris Jean Harris Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie


2006 Running with Scissors Deirdre Burroughs Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2007 14 Women Narrator
2008 The Women Sylvie Fowler
2010 Mother and Child Karen in post-production


References

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