About this Famous Person
Dunaway was born in Bascom, Florida, the daughter of Grace April (née Smith), a housewife, and John MacDowell Dunaway, Jr., a career non-commissioned officer in the United States Army. She is of Scots-Irish, English, and German descent. She attended the University of Florida, Florida State University, and Boston University, but graduated from the University of Florida in theater. In 1962, Dunaway joined the American National Theater and Academy.
Dunaway appeared on Broadway in 1962 as the daughter of Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. Her first screen role was in 1967 in the comedy The Happening, which was not released before her other films of the year. In 1967, she appeared in the Southern drama Hurry Sundown, a film by Otto Preminger. She appeared as the wife of John Philip Law, and got good reviews for her performance, though the film was panned. She did not get along with Preminger and felt he did not know anything about the process of acting, and resented that he yelled at her in public.
She would win the highly-sought after role of bank robber Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde opposite Warren Beatty. She ended up beating Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood, Sharon Tate, Leslie Caron, Tuesday Weld, and Cher for the role, which would prove to be one of the highlights of her career.
- Category Actor