Annette Bening

6th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival - Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film Gala - Arrivals

Bening in 2011, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Annette Carol Bening

Place of Birth: Topeka, Kansas, U.S.

Date of Birth: May 29, 1958

Ethnicity: German, English, Irish, distant Scottish, Swiss-German, and Welsh

Annette Bening is an American actress. Her roles include the films The Great Outdoors, Valmont (1989), Postcards from the Edge, The Grifters, Guilty by Suspicion, Regarding Henry, Bugsy, Love Affair, Richard III (1995), The American President, Mars Attacks!, The Siege (1998), In Dreams, American Beauty, Open Range, Being Julia, Running with Scissors, The Women (2008), The Kids Are All Right, Ruby Sparks, Danny Collins, 20th Century Women, Rules Don’t Apply, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Seagull (2018), The Report (2019), Captain Marvel, Hope Gap, Death on the Nile (2022), Jerry & Marge Go Large, and Nyad; and the made-for-tv movie Mrs. Harris; as well as many acclaimed stage performances. She is Vice Chair on the board of trustees for The Actors Fund.

Annette is the daughter of Shirley Katherine, a church singer and soloist, and Arnett Grant Bening, a sales training consultant and insurance salesman. Her parents were Episcopalians, and her family had recently lived in Iowa and South Dakota. She moved to Wichita, Kansas, in 1959, and then San Diego, California, several years later. She is married to actor Warren Beatty, with whom she has four children.

Annette’s paternal grandfather was Erwin William Bening (the son of Grant W. Bening and Rosa C. Schulze). Erwin was born in Iowa. Grant was born in Missouri, the son of German parents, Ferdinand Benning/Bening and Maria Anna/Ann C. Hamann, who were from Mecklenburg. Rosa was born in Illinois, the daughter of German parents, Louis Schulze and Friedericke/Friederike/Friederika Kanning.

Annette’s paternal grandmother was Margaret Jane Arnett (the daughter of Arthur A. Arnett and Margaret Jane “Jenny”/”Jennie” Barrett). Annette’s grandmother Margaret was born in South Dakota. Arthur was born in Little Hereford, Herefordshire, England, the son of John Bill Arnett and Sarah Elizabeth Robotham. Annette’s great-grandmother Margaret was born in Minnesota, to an Irish father, David Barrett, and a Canadian mother, Jane.

Annette’s maternal grandfather was Roy Edgar Ashley (the son of Hugh Monroe Ashley and Mary Ida Harmon). Roy was born in Iowa, to Iowa-born parents. Hugh was the son of Nathan Farnsworth Ashley and Elmina Mariah/Maria Ashley. Annette’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of William Nelson Harmon and Clarissa Emily Howery.

Annette’s maternal grandmother Mayme Katherine Bradfield (the daughter of Andrew Bradfield and Esther Jane Bradfield Little). Mayme was born in South Dakota, to a father from Indiana and a mother from Iowa. Andrew was the son of Carey Bradfield and Atlantic Ocean Beals. Esther was the daughter of John Little and Mary Jane Hamilton.

Sources: Genealogies of Annette Bening –

Annette’s paternal grandfather, Erwin William Bening, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Annette’s paternal grandmother, Margaret Jane Arnett, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Annette Bening (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Annette’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

3 Responses

  1. bablah says:

    >Arthur was born in Little Hereford, Herefordshire, England, to John Bill Arnett and Sarah Elizabeth Robotham.

  2. ethnic says:

    Here’s some more of Annette Bening’s ancestry through her
    great-great-grandfather Nathan Farnsworth Ashley (father of Hugh):

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