The “So-Vain” Roles of Warren Beatty


Carly Simon solved a 40-year mystery this week, revealing to People magazine that the second verse of her breakup anthem “You’re So Vain” is about actor Warren Beatty — a former Hollywood playboy, who some sources estimate slept with almost 13,000 women. The news comes in advance of Simon’s soon-to-be released autobiography, Boys in the Trees. “Warren thinks the whole thing is about him!” Simon commented — and we can totally see that.

Beatty’s romantic and sexual relationships have been tabloid news for decades, thanks to high-profile relationships with everyone from Madonna and Brigitte Bardot, to Cher and Diane Keaton. The actor has a knack for playing sleazy, slimy, full-of-himself types who manage to get away with everything after flashing a devilish grin. Occasionally, Beatty’s movie roles and personal exploits have intertwined and embodied his “so-vain” reputation.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

When bae brags about his imported shoe trees, pants hangers, six-inch rule about closets, and rich-boy suits.

Splendor in the Grass

A spoiled brat (Beatty) from the wealthiest family in town spends most of his free time trying to have sex with his virginal girlfriend (Natalie Wood) — even though his father thinks he should find someone who’s easy, and the whole situation emotionally torments his good-girl sweetheart.

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

A sleazy Italian gigolo (Beatty, with a hilarious accent) romances an aging American actress (Vivien Leigh) who just lost her husband. Controlled by a greedy madam, the boy toy eventually sends her into deep despair when he dumps her for another movie-star prospect. It wouldn’t be a Tennessee Williams adaptation without endless suffering.

All Fall Down

A good-looking drifter/abusive a-hole named Berry-Berry (ugh) takes advantage of lonely, older women and hops prison cells like the beds he frequents.


An occupational therapist with a God complex (Beatty) becomes obsessed with an institutionalized schizophrenic (Jean Seberg) believing he can help her — and make her his. But he winds up destroying her life and a few others.

Promise Her Anything

An adult filmmaker (Beatty) makes mail-order nudie movies, but wants to be an art-house director (groan). He’s in love with his neighbor and manages to woo her, despite the other guy being a fancy-pants doctor. Cue Tom Jones (who performed the title theme).

Bonnie and Clyde

A small-time crook (Beatty) gets a big head and a babe (Faye Dunaway), makes it rain, and winds up getting them both killed.

The Only Game in Town

As freaking if a lounge lizard and gambling addict (Beatty) would have to think twice about marrying a woman like Fran (the fierce Elizabeth Taylor, aging chorus girl role be damned).

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

A western drifter (Beatty) stumbles into town and tries to achieve the American dream . . . by gambling and running a brothel. But Julie Christie’s Mrs. Miller is smarter than that and survives the brutal buy-out attempt by a mining company.


A swinging Beverly Hills hairstylist (Beatty) “just can’t get out of his own way” and beds every woman in town. He falls in love, but can’t change his ways. At least things end better for him than real-life hairdresser Jay Sebring, who partly inspired Beatty’s role and was murdered by the Manson family in 1969.