The coolest guy in Hollywood, for decades, celebrates his 84th birthday today. God bless Warren Beatty. He’s one of the best, a maverick actor, director, writer, activist, and let’s face it, ex-playboy. We love him for all of it.
First of all, “Reds” is one of my very favorite movies. Beatty won the Oscar for directing it in 1981. A massive, epic, gorgeous throwback to great classics like “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Reds” still resonates on every level. It won 3 Oscars with 12 nominations (Maureen Stapleton is glorious as Emma Goldman in her Best Supporting Actress win.)
Beatty has a raft of nominations for “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Shampoo,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “Bugsy,” and “Bulworth.” He was acclaimed from the beginning of his career from “Splendor in the Grass.” He has a couple of ‘cult’ movies in which his acting is par excellence: Robert Altman’s “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and Alan Pakula’s “Parallax View.” And there’s nothing better than seeing this young colt in the first season of Max Shulman’s classic TV series, “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”
The playboy thing? Much has been written about it. But when Annette Bening calmed him down they embarked on a long, happy marriage producing four kids. Warren as family man turns out to be his biggest success.
Beatty often flirted with politics, and was active when it was necessary. He was there for George McGovern when Richard Nixon was threatening to destroy us (and almost did). He’s been there for liberal and just causes ever since.
So Happy Birthday, Warren, as you start your 85th trip around the galaxy. And no, I didn’t end this piece with his least favorite punch line. (You figure it out. He prob’ly thinks this tribute is about him.)