Faye Dunaway: Tallahassee Gal And Famous Actress

Have you heard of Bascom, Florida? It’s a town just outside of Tallahassee, and it’s the town that actress Faye Dunaway calls home! Dunaway is best known for her breakout role in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. She played bank robber Bonnie Parker, the female lead opposite Warren Beatty. Not only did this particular role put Dunaway on the map, but it changed the whole film industry’s view on how violence and sex could be portrayed in films. In other words, it wasn’t seen as a forbidden or an unthinkable act for females anymore. But what was life like before she hit it big?

According to Dunaway, her early childhood memories consist of dirt roads.

“Dirt roads, no shoes. Playin’ out in the dust,” said Dunaway.

She also remembers saying that she wanted to be an actress ever since the second grade. She carried this goal with her all throughout high school and college as well.

Dunaway was a student at Leon High School in the late 1950’s. During this time, she was a cheerleader, and runner-up in the May Queen beauty competition, all while taking advantage of all of the theatrical opportunities thrown her way. In 1959, when she finished up at Leon High School, Dunaway decided to head to Florida State University, where she continued to keep her eye on the prize, by appearing in the university’s show of “As You Might Like It.” She was also an education major, on the 1959 Miss FSU Court, and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. 

Photo Source: here

Sadly, Dunaway transferred from Florida State University after one year, but it’s quite apparent that FSU and Tallahassee have accepted her as one of their own. A 1977 issue of the Herald Tribune went so far as to title an article, “Oscar Winner Faye Dunaway Called ‘Tallahassee Girl Who Made Good’” after she won an Oscar for her role in Network. You can check out the neat article here.

Dunaway doesn’t seem to mind that Tallahassee is so proud to call her one of its own. She truly loves how much of a home the South and Florida were for her. It is fun to read her explanation of what she loves about the South.

“You don’t think of most of Florida as the South…and I am from the South!” said Dunaway. “It’s a very romantic place—the Spanish moss on the trees, the red clay hills. The whole Southern tradition, the Gone with the Wind stuff, is very important, and the Southern woman is quite different from the Northern woman. The steel magnolia is not a myth. Southern women are gracious, elegant, but very strong underneath. Very strong and very funny.”

It’s very cool to think that we have walked on the same ground and have seen the same Spanish moss trees that Faye Dunaway has, and as we know from watching her in the spotlight, Faye Dunaway is the epitome of the Southern woman. She is gracious, she is elegant, she is funny, but most importantly, she is strong — strong enough to keep fighting for her dream of becoming a famous actress.