Warren Beatty Strikes Again

In Heaven Can Wait, he produces, acts, directs, writes—and gets the girl

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He is a millionaire many times over but lives in two small, slovenly kept hotel rooms. He travels with the fastest crowd in the country but rarely drinks and never snorts or smokes. He is offered the best jobs in his profession but turns most of them down. His idea of sin is to eat ice cream. His idea of a great time is to talk on the phone. His idea of heaven is to spend hours debating the pros and cons of Proposition 13. He wears dirty jeans three days in a row, chews vitamin pills and remembers everything. He makes coast-to-coast plane reservations for six consecutive flights, then misses all of them. Almost the only appurtenance consonant with his celebrity is an address book Don Juan would envy. As one of his best friends puts it, "He can be an idiot, and he can be brilliant. The thing is, whatever he does, he does it bigger than the others do it. It's his appetite. His appetite is epic. He looks at the world, and there are things in it he wants. There are things he must do. There are people he must have. His appetite is enormous, and he has a wonderful time getting what he wants."

The life-style may be odd, the methods unorthodox, but Warren Beatty gets what he wants. And it almost invariably works —and sells. No actor of his generation, not Redford or Nicholson, has been a star half as long as Beatty has. Few in the film industry make as much money. No one can do so many of the jobs required to create a successful film as he. In the most visible function, acting, Beatty, unlike Travolta or De Niro, began at the top. He has been a sensation ever since he first appeared on the screen, in Splendor in the Grass, 17 years ago.

He also revels in his life. Having no strong family ties, he goes wherever he wants whenever he wants. Having no strong compulsion to work, he takes off months to hop around the world, read, dabble in politics and consort with beautiful and in teresting women. (He has made only 15 movies in 18 years.) While other stars hang out with one another in Malibu, Beatty moves and mingles with the "right" people. He has had breakfast with Henry Kissinger in San Clemente and dined back in town with Vladimir Horowitz. He has numbered among his friends the likes of Lillian Hellman, Robert F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern and Jerry Brown. The countless women in his life have included Natalie Wood, Julie Christie and his current flame, Diane Keaton.

With all this going on, he might well show signs of wear, but at 41, Beatty has the looks of a crown prince. He carries his 6-ft. 2-in. frame like a youth of 20. Maybe there are a few crows'-feet around Beatty's bedroom eyes and a small bald spot, but these are minor imperfections. When people lead charmed lives, they age remarkably well. Explains Beatty's friend, Screenwriter Robert Towne (Shampoo): "People say you don't learn from success but from your failures. Warren learns from success."

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