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Faye Dunaway fired from play for assaulting crew members

Here’s an object lesson on how not to grow old gracefully.

Faye Dunaway, 78, is the famous actress who rose to fame in the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde that, so typical of Hollywood, glamorizes criminals and outlaws.

When she was 40 and no longer able to use her youth as currency, Dunaway portrayed the actress Joan Crawford in the 1981 movie Mommie Dearest, based on Crawford’s adopted daughter’s account of the actress as cruel, abusive and “no wire hangers!” deranged.

It turns out Dunaway’s portrayal of Crawford was more self-portrait than acting.

Known for saying “Don’t you know who I am?” to service people, Dunaway, one of the “most narcissistic” Hollyweirdos, was recently fired from a Broadway-bound play for creating a “hostile” and “dangerous” environment backstage that left production members fearing for their safety.

Michael Riedel reports for the New York Post that on July 10, 2019, “moments before curtain” at the Huntington Theater in Boston, the Broadway-bound “Tea at Five” — a one-woman play in which Dunaway played Katharine Hepburn — abruptly was canceled because the actress slapped and threw things at crew members who were trying to put on her wig, sources say. Enraged at the cancellation, Dunaway began “verbally abusing” the crew who feared for their safety.

The producers of “Tea at Five” said in a statement they had “terminated their relationship” with Dunaway, and that the play, which was well received in Boston, would go to London in the spring and be recast with another actress.

Sources describe Dunaway’s behavior as unsettling from the very beginning of the play:

  • At an early photo shoot, someone gave her a salad for lunch and she threw it on the floor. She was watching her weight and said the salad would be better on the floor than in her hand.
  • Although she had the script for six months, she was never able to learn her lines. During the run of the play at Huntington she was fed lines and blocking through an earpiece. One source says, “98 percent of the play came through the earpiece.”
  • Dunaway was frequently late for rehearsals, sometimes up to two hours.
  • She refused to allow anyone to look at her during rehearsals, including the director and the playwright.
  • While in rehearsal she left what one production source called “troubling, rambling, angry” voicemails to the creative team during the middle of the night.
  • When she was rehearsing on stage at the Huntington, no one was allowed to wear white or move in the theater because that “distracts me,” she said.
  • As she was rehearsing, she began to lose weight. She looked so emaciated that a production member called Dunaway’s former assistant for advice who said, “It sounds like she’s not complying with her medication.” The producers were so concerned about her condition they called Actors’ Equity Association to see if it was “ethical” to put someone in her state in front of an audience.

Over the last weekend of June, Dunaway had a full on “Mommie Dearest” meltdown. She demanded that staffers at the Huntington Theater get down on their hands and knees and scrub the floor of her dressing room. She threw mirrors, combs and boxes of hairpins at the theater staff. She also pulled gray hairs out of her wig because she wanted to play a younger version of Hepburn than the playwright had written. That was when the producer knew they had to fire her and cancel the July 10 performance because she was physically and verbally abusing production members.

“Tea at Five,” a one-woman play by Matthew Lombardo about Hepburn’s recovery from a car accident in 1983, was meant to be a triumphant return to the stage for Dunaway. This is not the first time Dunaway has displayed erratic behavior in a show:

  • In 1995, Dunaway was fired by Andrew Lloyd Webber before she opened in the Los Angeles production of “Sunset Boulevard.”
  • In the early 1990s she toured the country as Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s “Master Class.” She showed up an hour late for many performances, and had bellhops rearrange her furniture in her hotel suites in the middle of night because she didn’t like the “flow” of the room. Once, a theater in St. Louis sent her a white limousine, and she reportedly had a fit because she hates white.

Dunaway claimed to have given birth in 1980 to a son, Liam, with her second husband, British photographer Terry O’Neill. In 2003, however, O’Neill revealed that their son was adopted. (Wikipeida)

At 78, Dunaway has had countless plastic surgeries, which account for her face being without wrinkles. Do those surgeries also account for why her philtrum (the area of the face between the nose and the upper lip) is so long, like a chimpanzee? Does anyone know?


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