Who Is Diane Keaton?
A versatile film actress, Diane Keaton shot to fame in the 1970s for her work in several Woody Allen films, including Annie Hall, which earned her an Oscar for best actress. In addition to her comedic work in films like Father of the Bride, The First Wives Club and Something's Gotta Give, Keaton's decades-long career has included memorable dramatic roles in films such as The Godfather series, Reds and Marvin's Room.
Background and Early Career
Keaton was born Diane Hall on January 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, California. The oldest of four children, she was raised in Santa Ana, where she graduated from the local high school in 1964. Having shown an early fondness for acting, she moved to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, a full-time conservatory. She eventually took on her mother’s maiden name, Keaton, to avoid confusion with a Diane Hall who was already in the Screen Actors Guild.
While not an overnight success, Keaton's talent earned notice. She eventually landed a spot in the original Broadway run of Hair (1968), in which she famously refused to take off her clothes during the finale, and then opposite Woody Allen in his Broadway production of Play It Again Sam, which earned Keaton a Tony Award nomination.
Woody Allen, The Godfather, Oscar Wins and More
The Keaton-Allen relationship proved to be a fruitful one. As Allen made his mark as a director, Keaton was right there alongside him, starring in several of his films including Sleeper (1973), Manhattan (1979) and most famously, Annie Hall (1977), a love story that appeared to be an autobiographical look at Keaton and Allen's own off-screen romance. For her performance, Keaton earned an Academy Award for Best Actress.
The same year Keaton starred in Allen's Annie Hall, she also appeared in Richard Brooks' critically acclaimed drama Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Keaton played Theresa Dunn, a school teacher with low self-esteem who finds herself increasingly drawn into a promiscuous double-life that ultimately leads to her horrific demise.
Keaton also starred in director Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather series (1973, 1974 and 1990), playing Kay Adams, the girlfriend and eventual wife of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). Then in 1981, she teamed up with Warren Beatty, with whom she was dating off-screen, in Reds (1981). The Academy Award-nominated epic, which followed at an American couple who adopt Communism and immigrate to Russia, earned Keaton another Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Big Comedic Hits
After a short string of less successful films in the early 1980s, Keaton bounced back with Baby Boom (1987), a comedy that portrayed the struggles of a working, single mom. Around this time, Keaton also began directing, including music videos for pop singer Belinda Carlisle, as well as several television projects, including a stint directing an episode of the David Lynch cult series Twin Peaks. In 1995, Keaton made her film directorial debut with Unstrung Heroes, starring Andie MacDowell and John Turturro.
Comedies proved to be part of Keaton’s formula for success. In 1991 she appeared with Steve Martin in a remake of the Vincente Minnelli classic Father of the Bride, which also spawned a 1995 sequel. She reteamed with Allen for 1993’s Manhattan Murder Mystery and later co-starred with Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler in 1996’s The First Wives Club, showcasing a trio of women taking control of their fortunes after dealing with philandering hubbies. First Wives was a smash, earning more than $181 million at the worldwide box office. That same year Keaton co-starred with Meryl Streep in Marvin’s Room, a family drama centering on two alienated sisters for which Keaton received her third Oscar nod.
'Something's Gotta Give' and Continued Successes
Keaton continued to star in big-screen comedies including Town & Country (2001), in which she was reunited with Beatty, and Something's Gotta Give (2003), an over-50 romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers and co-starring Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves as her love interests. The hit film earned Keaton her fourth Best Actress Oscar nomination. Other big-screen projects of the decade included The Family Stone (2005), in which she played a free-thinking matriarch, and Mad Money (2008), a heist caper co-starring Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes.
More comedies followed for Keaton with outings like The Big Wedding (2013) and And So it Goes (2014). She and Morgan Freeman played a loving couple looking to sell their Brooklyn home in 2015’s 5 Flights Up, and she appeared in the ensemble holiday flick Love the Coopers premiering later that year.
As she's grown older, Keaton hasn't tried, on-screen or off, to distance herself from her age. "My feeling was that nothing was expected of me," Keaton said of her career in a 2003 interview for the entertainment website Dark Horizons. "I was a very normal, average, ordinary person, and no one expected or looked at me and went, 'Oh, she's got a future.' So, I think that everything has just been a slow, steady persistence on my part and because I got opportunities, I used them as best as I could with the tools that I have such as they are."
Personal Life and Children
Outside of acting, Keaton has demonstrated a passion for photography, architecture and building preservation. She's a member of America's National Trust for Historic Preservation and has rehabbed several buildings in her home city of Los Angeles. She is also known for her distinctive attire, crafting a series of looks over the years that blend eclectic bohemianism with more tailored sensibilities.
Keaton’s romantic life has also been the subject of significant media talk. She’s had relationships with Woody Allen and leading men like Beatty, Nicholson and Pacino. She is also the mother of two adopted children.
While remaining unmarried, Keaton has described one person as the “love of my life”—her highly supportive mother, Dorothy, who passed away in 2008. Keaton detailed her life with her mom as well as other family and career remembrances in the 2011 bestselling memoir Then Again, from Random House. This was followed by another bestselling memoir in 2014 focusing on society’s obsessions with looks—Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty.
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