She was one of the hottest actresses in the 1970s playing neurotic, highly driven women with sex appeal. Life in the 1990s has not been as good. In a much-publicized incident, she was dropped as the lead in the Broadway musical "Sunset Boulevard," and her attempt at starring in a television comedy was an unmitigated bomb.
She auditioned for the role of Daisy that went to Mia Farrow in The Great Gatsby (1974). Her 1995 autobiography was titled "Looking for Gatsby: My Life."
Attended Boston University. Gave up a Fulbright Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London to join the original training program at the Lincoln Center Repertory Theater in New York. She got her first starring role in "A Man For All Seasons" just days after graduating from college. She was the daughter of a career army man which resulted in her traveling constantly in her early life.
Her son with O'Neill, Liam Walker Dunaway O'Neill, was born in the summer of 1980.
Her husband, Peter Wolf, was with the J. Geils Band.
Ranked #65 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Converted to Catholicism while in Boston. [27 December 1996]
Has a connection with the James Bond - 007 franchise: was considered for the role of Domino Derval in Thunderball (1965), and Octopussy (1983) as the female lead (Maud Adams ended up with the part). Faye had a chance to co-star with Pierce Brosnan (the fifth 007) in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).
Competing for beauty titles was considered de rigueur for Southern girls in the 1950s, and Dunaway remembers in her autobiography that she was somehow convinced that she could NOT leave Florida until she won one. She missed being crowned May Queen at Leon High School in Tallahassee by a mere six votes, and had another near-miss at a title when she was voted runner up for Miss University of Florida in 1959. Dunaway finally scored her beauty crown when she was named Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, and promptly transferred to Boston University.
Other actresses considered for Dunaway's breakthrough role of Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (1967) included Natalie Wood, Sue Lyon, Carol Lynley, Leslie Caron, and even Warren Beatty's big sister Shirley MacLaine. Tuesday Weld actually turned down the role due to pregnancy.
The role of Evelyn Mulwray in Chinatown (1974) was originally marked for Ali MacGraw, wife of the film's producer Robert Evans. By the time production started, MacGraw had left Evans for actor Steve McQueen and other actresses were considered for the part. Dunaway's main competition for the role was Jane Fonda.
By her own admission in a New York Times interview many years back, she and late comedian Lenny Bruce were briefly lovers and lived together for a week, circa 1963. She was also engaged to director Jerry Schatzberg in the late 60s.
In order to be taken seriously as an actress, she turned down a regular role on "The Guiding Light" (1952) in 1965.
Her real-life portrayal of actress Joan Crawford in the critically panned film Mommie Dearest (1981) was ranked #41 on the villains list of the 100 years of "The Greatest Screen Heroes and Legends."
Her portrayal of Bonnie Parker in the film Bonnie and Clyde (1967) was ranked #32 on the villains list of the 100 years of "The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains." She shared this honor with Warren Beatty, who played Clyde Barrow.
Member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
One of only three actresses, along with Halle Berry and Liza Minnelli,to win both the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Dunaway shared her award with Bo Derek).
Is only 14 years older than Diana Scarwid, who played her daughter in Mommie Dearest (1981).
Is the only actor/actress to have appeared in both the 1968 and 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair.
Her performance as Evelyn Cross Mulwray in "Chinatown" is ranked #36 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).