Faye Dunaway On “Mommie Dearest”: “I Should Have Known Better”

The screen legend opens up about the iconic film in a new interview.

Faye Dunaway has been acclaimed for playing strong women: From a gun-toting moll in Bonnie and Clyde and a seductive insurance investigator in The Thomas Crown Affair to a calculating head of programming in Network.

Actress Faye Dunaway as insurance investigator Vicki Anderson in the heist film 'The Thomas Crown Affair', 1968. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

But, as she tells People magazine in a rare interview this week, these tough ladies “were tender and vulnerable too.”

She says moviegoers have always assumed she’s strong, too.

“And perhaps like at least one of the characters I played,” she adds. “Joan.”

Of course she means Joan Crawford, whom Dunaway played in the 1981 classic Mommie Dearest. It’s an iconic performance, and one that is appreciated on a much deeper level now then when it first hit theaters.

Actress Faye Dunaway and Mara Hobel on the set of Paramount Pictures movie
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

But Dunaway still maintains it did irreparable damage to her career.

“I think it turned my career in a direction where people would irretrievably have the wrong impression of me—and that’s an awful hard thing to beat,” she tells the magazine. “I should have known better, but sometimes you’re vulnerable and you don’t realize what you’re getting into.”

“It’s unfortunate they felt they had to make that kind of movie,” she adds. “But you can’t be ashamed of the work you’ve done. You make a decision, and then you have to live with the consequence.”

Oh, Faye, don’t be like that.

Below, the cast of Logo’s Cocktails and Classics explain why Mommie Dearest is such a gay gem.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.