After rising to fame in a series of hit Woody Allen comedies, Diane Keaton went on to enjoy a successful film career both as an actress and as a director. Born Diane Hall on January 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, she studied acting at Manhattan's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater and in 1968 understudied in Hair. On Broadway she met actor/director Allen and appeared in his 1969 stage hit Play It Again, Sam. In 1970, Keaton made her film debut in the comedy Lovers and Other Strangers and rose to fame as the paramour of Al Pacino's Michael Corleone in the 1972 blockbuster The Godfather. That same year, she and Allen -- with whom Keaton had become romantically involved offscreen -- reprised Play It Again, Sam for the cameras, and in 1973 he directed her in Sleeper. The Godfather Part II followed, as did Allen's Love and Death. All of these films enjoyed great success, and Keaton stood on the verge of becoming a major star; however, when her next two pictures -- 1976's I Will, I Will for Now and Harry and Walter Go to New York -- both flopped, she returned to the stage to star in The Primary English Class.
In 1977, Allen released his fourth film with Keaton, Annie Hall. A clearly autobiographical portrait of the couple's real-life romance, it was a landmark, bittersweet, soul-searching tale which brought a new level of sophistication to comedy in films. Not only did the film itself win an Academy Award for Best Picture, but Keaton garnered Best Actress honors. That same year, she also headlined the controversial drama Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Two more films with Allen, 1978's Bergmanesque Interiors and the 1979 masterpiece Manhattan followed; however, when the couple separated, Keaton began a romance with Warren Beatty, with whom she co-starred in the 1981 epic Reds; she earned a Best Actress nomination for her work in Beatty's film. Continuing to pursue more dramatic projects, she next co-starred in 1982's Shoot the Moon, followed by a pair of box-office disappointments, The Little Drummer Girl and Mrs. Soffel. The 1986 Crimes of the Heart was a minor success, and a year later she made her directorial debut with the documentary Heaven.
Keaton's next starring role in the domestic comedy Baby Boom (1987) was a smash, and after close to a decade apart, she and Allen reunited for Radio Days, in which she briefly appeared as a singer. Upon starring in 1988's disappointing The Good Mother, she began splitting her time between acting and directing. In between appearing in films including 1990's The Godfather Part III, 1991's hit Father of the Bride, and 1992's telefilm Running Mates, she helmed music videos, afterschool specials (1990's The Girl with the Crazy Brother), and TV features (1991's Wildflower). She even directed an episode of the David Lynch cult favorite Twin Peaks. After stepping in for Mia Farrow in Allen's 1993 picture Manhattan Murder Mystery, Keaton essayed the title role in the 1994 TV biopic Amelia Earhart: the Final Flight and in 1995 made her feature-length directorial debut with the quirky drama Unstrung Heroes. After co-starring with Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn in the 1996 comedy smash The First Wives Club, she earned another Oscar nomination for her work in Marvin's Room. In 1998, Keaton starred in The Only Thrill and followed that in 1999 with The Other Sister. She subsequently stepped into another familial role in 2000's Hanging Up with Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow.
Despite participating amongst a star-studded cast including veterans Goldie Hawn, Garry Shandling, Charlton Heston, and Warren Beatty, 2001's Town & Country was not particularly well-received among audiences or critics. In 2003, Keaton played Jack Nicholson's love interest in director Nancy Meyers's Something's Gotta Give (for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination) and executive produced director Gus Van Sant's avant-garde Elephant), which won Best Director and Golden Palm awards at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Keaton would spend the ensuing years appearing frequently on screen in films like Because I Said So, Mad Money, and Darling Companion. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi