Faye Dunaway Poster

Quotes (47)

  • I really hate talking about Mommie Dearest (1981)! It is like an obsession with people! Why do people need to focus so much on one film I made over 20 years ago? It was not a great time in my life and the film was not an experience I want to think about. Period!
  • The rhythms of being an actress are by definition intensity and then letting out. It's like a heartbeat.
  • [on signing a six-picture deal with Otto Preminger that she later got out of] As much as it cost me to get out of the deal with Otto, if I'd had to do those movies with him, then I wouldn't have done Bonnie and Clyde (1967), or The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), or any of the movies I was suddenly in a position to choose to do. Beyond the movies I might have missed, it would have been a kind of Chinese water torture to have been stuck in five more terrible movies. It's impossible to assess the damage that might have done to me that early on in my career.
  • [on playing an alcoholic in Barfly (1987)] This character, who has given over her days and nights to a bottle, is my way back to the light. This is a role that I care deeply about. I haven't felt this passion for a character since Network (1976). I saw the promise of a comeback for me in the deglamorized face of Wanda, a woman of sweet vulnerability.
  • [on Supergirl (1984)] The film was really just a send-up, a spoof, and I had a lot of fun with Selena. But every time I tried to do something funny, [director Jeannot Szwarc] wouldn't let me. He said, "you have to be the straight person". I always wanted to do comedy but it's daunting when you've not done it before.
  • [2008] I am furious that they think I'm too old to play the love interest of guys like Jack Nicholson and Clint Eastwood. Why should I play sisters and mothers while guys like Jack and Clint, who are older than me, have on-screen lovers half their age?
  • Dick Van Dyke is one of the sweetest and funniest men in the world.
  • Though I loved making The Wicked Lady (1983), in the end it just didn't have the juice it needed to be a hit. It seemed to never quite decide whether to be a farce or a drama, and so it failed by being neither.
  • 'Old Times' affected me in a lot of very complex ways. The play itself reminded me during a difficult point in my life that there are a million facets to life. There is never just one answer. Professionally, if I hadn't taken that step to go back to the stage, in a serious way, I think I would have suffered for it.
  • I know you have a life, and you act many roles. But after Mommie Dearest (1981), my own personality and the memory of all my other roles got lost along the way in the mind of the public and in the mind of many in Hollywood. It was a performance. That's all that it was. For better or worse, the roles we play become a part of our persona, and the actress and the woman are identified with that persona. People thought of me as being like [Joan Crawford]. And that was the unfortunate reality for me about this project.
  • [on portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981)] If your mind is on a woman who is dead and you're trying to find out who she was and do right by her, you do feel a presence. I felt it at home at night sometimes. It wasn't pleasant. I felt Joan was not at rest.
  • [on working with Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)] It was really my first time to play opposite someone who was a great big old movie star, and that's exactly what Steve was. He was one of the best-loved actors around, one whose talent more than equaled his sizable commercial appeal.
  • [on playing Blanche DuBois in a stage adaptation of 'A Streetcar Named Desire'] It was a fun performance for me, but hard, very draining. At the height of the madness each night, I would go from standing straight up to falling to my knees, in one swift move. [Tennessee Williams] told me later that he thought I was brave and adorable and reminded him of a precocious child, and that my performance ranked with the very best. It was high praise indeed coming from him.
  • [on playing Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)] That movie touched the core of my being. Never have I felt so close to a character as I felt to Bonnie. She was a yearning, edgy, ambitious southern girl who wanted to get out of wherever she was. I knew everything about wanting to get out, and the getting out doesn't come easy. But with Bonnie there was a real tragic irony. She got out only to see that she was heading nowhere and that the end was death.
  • [on winning an Emmy for her guest appearance on Columbo (1971)] I was overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit my colleagues extended me that night. It was like being wrapped up in a warm embrace. Though this is more often than not a town of grand illusions and transitory friendships, the moment seemed heartfelt, and touched me deeply.
  • With the exception of my mother, my brother, and my beloved son, William Alfred has been without question the most important single figure in my lifetime. A teacher, a mentor, and I suppose the father I never had, the parent and companion I would always wanted, if that choice had been mine. He has taught me so much about the virtue of a simple life, about spirituality, about the purity of real beauty, and how to go at this messy business of life.
  • [on Bonnie and Clyde (1967)] It put me firmly in the ranks of actresses that would do work that was art. There are those who elevate the craft of acting to the art of acting, and now I would be among them. I was the golden girl at that time. One of those women who was going to be nominated year after year for an Oscar and would win at least one. The movie established the quality of my work. 'Bonnie and Clyde' would also turn me into a star.
  • [on clashing with Roman Polanski on the set of Chinatown (1974)] Roman was very much an autocrat, always forcing things. It ranged from the physical to the mental. He was very domineering and abrasive and made it clear he wanted to manipulate the performance. That approach has never worked with me.
  • What gave [Cold Sassy Tree (1989)] its heart were the people who were involved. It was an incredible collaboration, and I treasure the experience as much as the result, of which I am extremely proud.
  • [on winning the Best Actress Oscar for Network (1976) at The 49th Annual Academy Awards (1977)] I will never forget the moment, and the feeling, when I heard my name. It was, without question, one of the most wonderful nights of my life. The Oscar represented the epitome of what I had struggled for and dreamt about since I was a child. The emotional rush of getting this accolade, the highest one this industry can award you, just hit me like a bomb. It was the symbol of everything I ever thought I wanted as an actress.
  • [on portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981)] Though [Christina Crawford's] book was obviously an exploitation book, the first one of its kind, my task was to portray a woman, a full woman who she was in all her facets, not just one. I tried to illuminate who this woman was. But it was more than just about being angry, it was about trying to examine and explore the forces that undermined her.
  • The whole era when I was busy being a big movie star was terribly disconcerting. I was cared for and cosseted, and yet I was totally dependent. I didn't know where the cornflakes were kept. I didn't know how to turn on the washing machine. That might sound very chic, but I'm telling you: When you don't know how your own life works, you get disconnected.
  • I think I'm a product of the American Dream. My mother came from a very poor farming family, and she wanted my brother and me to achieve. In fact, we're the only two people in our family who are professional people now. My brother's a lawyer in Washington and I'm an actress. I think it's because of my mother, because she kept encouraging us to do our best and to fight, not just to take things as they come. I got straight As. But sometimes overachievers and people who get straight As miss the trip, miss the process.
  • [on her reputation as a control freak] That's the hardest thing to change. Not in terms of manipulating other people, just in terms of wanting everything to be as good as it can be. Now if something's not going in the direction I think it should, I try to sit back and enjoy the ride . . . I'm always perceived as this urbane, cold, sophisticated woman, and I'm really none of that.
  • I guess it's that I'm really vulnerable. I had hoped the Crawford film would be the window into a tortured soul, but it was made it camp, and I think, for better or for worse, people do think that you're like your roles. So I'd like people to know that I have a really strong vulnerability and a great passion and, I would hope , a generosity in like."-Dunaway on what she would like people to know about her.
  • I longed to do great work, and since you must be famous to get those opportunities, I wanted to be famous. You do, of course get caught up in the whole star thing . . . but I've had that time in my life and I'm glad it's behind me. It's hard to be young because you don't know who you are and must constantly search for to find yourself. Time has helped me there, and I feel more clear and calm now.
  • [on her relationship with Marcello Mastroianni] I wish to this day it had worked out.
  • [2016] I'm very much a loner. I always think I would like to have a partner in life, and I would - if I could find the right person, I think.
  • I give myself away all the time--to the men in my life, to the people, to the agents, to the producers, so that I have nothing left.
  • I now turn down all roles that have me as a villainous woman. I am trying to soften things.
  • Work often becomes a substitute for living. But I think the most successful artists, and the happiest people, find a fullness in both areas.
  • Life is a process of trying to be as good as you can be. It's the striving toward a kind of perfection, knowing that you're never going to quite achieve it. But it's the trying for it that makes the difference.
  • [1983] Acting is always new to me, each time out, because you bring your life experiences to it as well as your own maturity, which gets better the more you live. You're always stretching yourself, trying to do better. When anyone asks where I want to be 10 years from now, all I can say is I'd like to be better, as an actress and as a woman.
  • I always wanted to succeed, to do the best that I could because it puts you in a position of freedom, you see. Then you can choose the road you will take, the way you will live and work.
  • Perhaps other people enjoy the limelight more than I do. I prefer to keep separate the public Faye Dunaway and the private Faye Dunaway.
  • [on Jane Fonda] Jane was always a slightly bigger star than me.
  • People will say whatever they say and I have no power over it.
  • I never liked parties, never felt comfortable. I was a little girl from the South and people were terribly judgmental. Oh, I had a hard time. I never felt good enough. I had large insecurities.
  • For a long time, I tried to live up to something that was in people's minds. I don't know what it is they want, nor do they, but movie stars fulfill some lack in people's lives. What I realized long ago is that any time people put you on a pedestal, you're doomed to disappoint. I can't possibly be who they want me to be because, mainly, they want me to answer all their dreams. But we're just people with flaws, insecurities. Maybe more insecurities than anybody else.
  • A good director will only make a good script much, much better, like Barbet Schroeder with Barfly (1987). But if the script is not good, a good director can't help the script.
  • I spent pretty much the entire '80s living in London. When I was coming back I was trying to figure out how I could pick up my career again.
  • [2002] You just sort of let them go for a while, but it was time to have something done to my teeth. I'm glad. It's going to be good. Tom Cruise has braces now, too. I'm right in style.
  • I often say the last role I played that really touched me and where I was able to access what I really am was Bonnie, which is kind of sad when you think how early in my career that was.
  • It's interesting as one grows older to keep in touch with the cutting edge.
  • [talking to a female interviewer] Softness and femininity like yours people don't expect of me; so when they find me emotional and capable of real vulnerability, they're surprised.
  • In this country, it is always noticed when an older woman, even just a year older, is involved with a younger man. It is one of the sillinesses of society--if a woman is any older than a man, much is made of it.
  • It's awfully hard to make marriage work. I've tried twice and I don't know how. To have to think of somebody else so much of the time . . . it's such a compromise.