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See '70s Icon Faye Dunaway Now at 81

The actor because famous for roles in Bonnie and Clyde, Network, and more.

With only her third movie, Faye Dunaway cemented her place in Hollywood history. In 1967, the then-26-year-old actor starred in Bonnie and Clyde as bank robber Bonnie Parker and was nominated for her first Academy Award for Best Actress. Another nomination came in 1975 for Chinatown and then a win in 1977 for Network. Dunaway is also known for the films The Thomas Crown Affair and Mommie Dearest, amongst many others.

The performer continued working regularly following her big break in the late 1960s, and she's still at it today, although with less frequency. While the 81-year-old keeps fairly private these days, she was part of a big headline-making scandal only a few years ago. Read on to find out more about Dunaway's life today.

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Dunaway was a star during an important time in film history.

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in "Bonnie and. Clyde"
Fotos International/Courtesy Getty Images

In 2017, Dunaway was interviewed at the TCM Film Festival. Host Ben Mankiewicz noted that the period from 1967 to 1976 is considered one of the most important and pivotal eras in Hollywood film history. It was during this time that Dunaway was appearing in films—such as Bonnie and Clyde—that changed movie-making forever.

"It's just the luck of the draw," Dunaway said in response. "I mean, it's true: I think that is the period where the best Hollywood films were made. And I was just lucky enough to be along for the ride and to be good enough and worked hard enough to earn my place there."

She continued acting.

Faye Dunaway in "A Place for Lovers"
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

While Dunaway's heyday was in the '60s and '70s, her career spans far beyond those decades. Most recently, she was in the 2017 movies Inconceivable, The Case for Christ, and The Bye Bye Man. In 2016, she appeared on an episode of the comedy series Documentary Now!. Dunaway has also returned to act on stage over the years. In 2019, was fired from a play she was working on amid allegations about her behavior on set.

In an interview with Harper's Bazaar in 2016, Dunaway explained that playing tough women caused her to be typecast. "[The roles] led to an image of me as being not vulnerable, not real, not a feeling, caring woman," she said. "It's hard for me to find real roles that have a kindness and a softness, because people associate me so much with these overly strong women. So print this, will you? I'm looking for roles where I can still be strong but that are also softer and gentler and reflect to a greater degree who I actually am."

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She was part of a high-profile fiasco in 2017.

In 2017, Dunaway and her Bonnie and Clyde co-star Warren Beatty presented the award for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. They were accidentally handed the wrong envelope—the one that was used for Emma Stone's Best Actress win for La La Land—instead of the correct one for Best Picture. After Beatty looked around confused, Dunaway took the card and announced the winner as La La Land. A few moments later, after the La La Land producers and cast had taken to the stage, it was revealed that the actual winner was Moonlight.

"It's a moment I still have not recovered from," Dunaway told NBC News in 2017. Asked if she was angry, she responded, "No, I was very guilty. I thought, I could have done something, surely. Why didn't I see Emma Stone's name on the top of the card?"

She opened up about being single.

Faye Dunaway at the Boston Theater Critics Association Annual Elliot Norton Awards in 2019
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Dunaway has been married twice: First, to musician Peter Wolf from 1974 to 1979, then, to photographer Terry O'Neill from 1983 to 1987. O'Neill took a famous photo of Dunaway posing in front of the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel the morning after winning her Oscar.

Dunaway and O'Neill welcomed a son, Liam Dunaway O'Neill, who is now 42.

In the interview with Harper's Bazaar, Dunaway talked about being single at this time in her life. "I think it's important to have a partner, probably. If it does happen, I'll be very happy." But, she continued, "I'm a loner. I kind of like to be alone and do my work and, you know, be focused on my own things. So we'll see what happens."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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