‘Playing Joan Crawford ruined my career’: Faye Dunaway, 75, says Mommie Dearest changed the way Hollywood thought of her

Wrong impression: Faye Dunaway, 75, pictured in Cannes in May, says her Hollywood career was never the same after the release of the 1981 film Mommie Dearest

Wrong impression: Faye Dunaway, 75, pictured in Cannes in May, says her Hollywood career was never the same after the release of the 1981 film Mommie Dearest

She was one of the most iconic actresses of her era and starred opposite some of Hollywood’s greatest leading men.

But after playing the legendary Joan Crawford in the 1981 film Mommie Dearest, Faye Dunaway says, things changed.

‘I think it turned my career in a direction where people would irretrievably have the wrong impression of me,’ she tells the current issue of People magazine.

Dunaway, 75, has long held a reputation for being difficult and demanding.

But, she says, people mistake the cold and calculating characters she plays – especially the Joan Crawford role – for her true self.

In hindsight, she thinks she ‘should have known better’ than to have taken on the role in Mommie Dearest, that was based on the shocking tell-all by Joan’s adopted daughter Christina Crawford.

‘But you can’t be ashamed of the work you’ve done,’ she says stoically. ‘You make a decision and then you have to live with the consequences.’

 

In her heyday, Dunaway was regarded as one of the great screen sirens with her blonde hair and high cheekbones.

She starred opposite Warren Beatty in Bonnie And Clyde, Robert Redford in Three Days Of The Condor, Jack Nicholson in Chinatown and Peter Finch in Network, a performance that earned her a Best Actress Academy Award in 1977.

She was 26 when Bonnie And Clyde catapulted her to international stardom, and for two decades she was feted as one of the greatest – and most beautiful – actresses working in Hollywood.

Scary mommy: The film was based on the tell-all by Christina Crawford, one of Joan's adopted children, and detailed her terrifying childhood with the Hollywood star

Scary mommy: The film was based on the tell-all by Christina Crawford, one of Joan’s adopted children, and detailed her terrifying childhood with the Hollywood star

Fast forward to today, and she’s not ashamed to acknowledge she misses those heady days that she describes as ‘mind-blowing.’

‘It’s so unreal and yet it’s real,’ she tells People.

‘I’m grateful for it but I guess part of that is missing it – when one grows older.’

Dunaway currently lives in Los Angeles and still acts occasionally, mostly guest roles in TV shows or small film roles.

Twice married and divorced, she has a a grown son Liam, 38, from her second marriage ot photographer Terry O’Neill.