Annette BeningAnnette Bening

Award-Winning Actress/Community Leader/Arts Advocate

San Francisco State University

Born in Topeka, Kansas, and raised in San Diego, Annette Bening fell in love with acting in junior high after winning the lead role in a school production of "The Sound of Music." She continued to act throughout high school and junior college before transferring to San Francisco State University. Drawn by the University's large, active drama department she appeared in a number of productions, including The Mousetrap, The Country Wife and Light Up the Sky.

Bening graduated with honors from SF State in 1980, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. She then joined the American Conservatory Theatre acting company in San Francisco where she acted, taught and won acclaim for such performances as Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth.

Bening moved to New York City in 1987 and was cast as Holly Dancer in the stage production of Coastal Disturbances. The role earned her a Tony nomination and the Clarence Derwent Award for Outstanding Debut Performance. Her feature film debut in The Great Outdoors with co-stars Dan Aykroyd and John Candy followed a year later and just two years after that her portrayal of Myra Langtry in The Grifters was recognized by an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1995, Bening played Virginia Hill in Bugsy, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. In the years since, Bening has earned three more Academy Award Nominations, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and numerous other honors. Her image is permanently etched in the annals of American cinema for her performances in American Beauty, Being Julia and The Kids are All Right.

Bening is a committed alumna of San Francisco State University. She was inducted to the SF State Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995 as the Alumna of the Year and has made numerous visits to campus to speak with students and faculty in the Theatre Department.

Her latest film, Danny Collins, was released in March and we look forward to seeing her sensitivity, creativity and artistic mastery on stage and screen for years to come.

In recognition of her contributions to cinema and theatre, her artful portrayal of powerful female characters that will stay with us for generations and for her generous mentoring of those who would follow behind her, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Francisco State University are proud to confer upon Annette Bening the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.