Diane Keaton: Reluctant Star

Diane KeatonDiane Hall was born on January 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, California. She is the eldest of four children of Jack Hall, a civil engineer and Dorothy Keaton, homemaker and amateur photographer. Her father’s family was Irish American Catholic and her mother’s background was Methodist. Her earliest desire to become an actor occurred when she was a young girl and her she saw her mother participate in a “Mrs. Los Angeles” pageant for homemakers. Katherine Hepburn and her portrayal of strong and independent women was also an early inspiration. Diane graduated Santa Ana High School in 1964, and while there appeared in a school production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She attended Santa Ana College and Orange Coast College as a student of drama, but dropped out and moved to New York.

In the “Big Apple,” she changed her name to Keaton after joining Actor’s Equity because there already was a registered Diane Hall. She studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse after appearing in summer stock for several months. Her first major stage role was in “Hair” where as an understudy to the lead, she gained attention by NOT removing any of her clothing. In 1970, Woody Allen cast her in “Play It Again, Sam” (1972) and she became involved with Allen. Her career took off with her role as Kay in the “Godfather” that very same year. She made eight films with Allen and in 1977, broke away from her comedy image to appear in “Looking For Mr. Goodbar.” Her performance won her a Golden Globe nomination.

Many regard her best performance as the title role of “Annie Hall,” which Allen wrote specifically for her. It earned her an Oscar and the British Award for Best Actress and Allen won the Director’s Award from the DGA. She also started a fashion craze with her unisex clothes. Diane continued to appear in Allen’s films, but when they broke up, she became involved with Warren Beatty and appeared in his film, “Reds” (1981). For this role, she received nominations for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe.

She made many films throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, and in 1995, made her directorial debut in the film, “Unstrung Heroes.” Although she has never married, she is the mother of two adopted children and continues to work, proving that you can’t hold a good actor down.
What are some of YOUR favorite Diane Keaton performances?
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About Marjorie Dorfman

Marjorie Dorfman is a freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of New York University School of Education, she now lives in Doylestown, PA, with quite a few cats that keep her on her toes at all times. Originally a writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non-fiction writing in the last decade. Many of her stories have been published in various small presses throughout the country during the last twenty years. Her book of stories, "Tales For A Dark And Rainy Night", reflects her love and respect for the horror and ghost genre.