Annette Bening is an American award-winning actress born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas. Her mother, Shirley, is a church singer while her father, Grant Bening, is a sales training consultant and insurance man. She grew up in Wichita, Kansas together with her sister and two brothers. In 1965, her family moved to San Diego, California. Annette Bening started acting when she was in junior high school. Her first lead role was in their school play, The Sound of Music. She continued acting when she was in high school and studied drama at Patrick Henry High School. After graduating, she spent a year working as a cook on a charter boat. Annette Bening attended San Diego Mesa College and completed her theater arts degree at San Francisco State University. While studying at San Francisco, Bening joined the American Conservatory Theater as part of the Advanced Theatre Training Program of her course.
In 1987, Bening moved to New York, where she debuted on Broadway at the Second Stage Theater, playing the role of “Holly Dancer” in the widely acclaimed Coastal Disturbances. She had her first television appearance in the made-for-TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas. In 1988, she appeared in her first major role in a theatrical feature in The Great Outdoors. This was then followed by her role as the Marquise de Merteuil in Valmont.
In 1990, Bening co-starred with Anjelica Huston and John Cusack in Stephen Frears’s The Grifters, in which she received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 1998, she co-starred with Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis in the action film, The Siege. She also starred in American Beauty in 1999. Benning also appeared in three Mike Nichols movies, Postcards from the Edge, Regarding Henry, and What Planet Are You From? She also played the role of Deirdre Burroughs in Running with Scissors.