Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bening's family moved to San Diego, California in 1965. In junior high, she played the lead in The Sound of Music. She finished high school in three years and attended San Diego Mesa College. She completed her drama degree at San Francisco State University. Bening then studied at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, and joined its acting company. In 1985, she moved to New York where she was nominated for a Tony Award for her debut performance in Coastal Disturbances. However, she endured a five-year struggle before breaking into film.
Her first film was Manhunt for Claude Dallas, a made-for-TV movie which came out in 1986. Her first major feature film role was in The Great Outdoors (1988). She garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Grifters (1990) and Best Actress in a Leading Role for American Beauty (1999).
Bening played a real-estate agent in three different movies: American Beauty, Regarding Henry and What Planet Are You From?
- Being Julia (2004)
- Open Range (2003)
- What Planet Are You From? (2000)
- American Beauty (1999)
- In Dreams (1999)
- The Siege (1998)
- Mars Attacks! (1996)
- Richard III (1995)
- The American President (1995)
- Love Affair (1994)
- Bugsy (1991)
- Regarding Henry (1991)
- The Grifters (1990)
- Postcards from the Edge (1990)
- Valmont (1989)
- The Great Outdoors (1988)
- Manhunt for Claude Dallas (1986) (TV)
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