Who is Dyan Cannon?
Three-time Oscar-nominated actress with over 90 acting credits to her name, Dyan Cannon was one of the biggest Hollywood stars back in the ‘70s. She is still probably known best for her role as Julia Farnsworth in the fantasy romantic-comedy “Heaven Can Wait”, also starring Warren Beatty. Besides the mentioned role, Dyan had numerous significant portrayals, including her performances in “Bob& Carol & Ted & Alice”, “Deathtrap”, and “The Last of Sheila”, among others.
Early life, family, and education
Born Samille Dyan Friesen under the zodiac sign of Capricorn on 4 January 1937, she recently celebrated her 86th birthday. Dyan is a native of Tacoma, Washington USA, holds American nationality, and comes from a family of Ashkenazi Jewish and Russian descent. Her mother, Claire Portnoy, an Ashkenazi Jewish Russian immigrant, married Ben Friesen, an Anabaptist of Russian Mennonite ancestry. Dyan has one brother, David, who is a jazz musician.
Dyan attended West Seattle High School, and upon matriculating in 1955, she enrolled at the University of Washington, however, after two and a half years, she dropped out of college, moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she lived with her aunt, and worked at Merrill Lynch & Co, an American investment bank. She then met her future fiancée, a traveling businessman, with whom she moved to Los Angeles, California.
They separated, but Dyan decided to stay in Los Angeles, enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and to provide for herself, worked as a part-time model. This led to her interview with Jerry Wald, an American producer, who suggested she change her surname to ‘Cannon’. Subsequently, Dyan signed with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Studio, and studied acting with the great Sanford Meisner.
Roles in series
Dyan made her acting debut as Fifi in the 1958 series “Have Gun-Will Travel”, followed by her guest roles in “Target” (1958), “Playhouse 90” (1959), “The Detectives” (1960), and “Bat Masterson” (1961), among several others.
In the late ‘60s, she focused on her film roles, and her next television appearance was her role as Kate Blackwell in the 1984 TV mini-series “Master of the Game”, playing the lead role opposite Harry Hamlin and Ian Charleson; the show was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Limited Series or a Special.
Diane’s most notable television series role was her portrayal of Judge Jennifer ‘Whipper’ Cone in the popular comedy series “Ally McBeal”, which brought her the Viewers for Quality Television Award- Best Recurring Player, in 1998.
The legendary Dyan Cannon lights up our set… and our hearts! pic.twitter.com/ltfqEBV6gX
— Mood Swings (@MoodSwings_TV) September 22, 2020
The early 2000s saw Dyan as Honey Bernstein-Flynn in the series “Three Sisters”, also starring Vicki Lewis and Katherine LaNasa, which followed the story of a man who married his long-term girlfriend but didn’t realize that her two sisters are going to live with them. The series aired from 2001 through 2002, and Dyan was seen in 31 episodes.
After her long hiatus for almost 20 years, Dyan returned to the television screen as Aunt Sam in an episode of the 2019 series “Mood Swings”, a comedy about four generations of women and an eight-years-old girl living under one roof, which aired for just one season.
Roles in movies
Dyan made her first big-screen appearance as Dixie in the 1960 movie “The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond”, and later that year, she was cast to play Wiggles in “This Rebel Breed”. Five years later, she was seen in “The Murder Game”, then in 1969 came her first major movie role.
Dyan portrayed Alice Henderson in the romantic comedy-drama “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”, also starring Natalie Wood, Elliot Gould, and Robert Culp. The plot revolved around middle-aged love and friendship, it had 12 award nominations, including four for Oscars- Best Cinematography, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Material Not Previously Published or Produced, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (E. Gould), and Diane’s nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Dyan was also nominated for the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress and two Golden Globe Awards- Most Promising Newcomer – Female and Best Actress – Comedy or Musical.
In the following years, Dyan was seen in “Doctors’ Wives” (1971), “The Last of Sheila” (1973), and “Child Under a Leaf” (1974), among many others, but since the list of her roles is too long, we have chosen some of the most significant for her career.
Certainly worth mentioning is her role as Matt’s Mother in the 1976 short movie “Number One”, which brought her another Oscar nomination for Best Short Film, Live Action which she shares with Vince Cannon, who was her personal manager.
Two years later, Dyan was cast to play Julia in “Heaven Can Wait”, which tells the story of a Los Angeles Rams quarterback who comes back to life in the body of a recently deceased millionaire, after being unintentionally snatched from his body by an excessively frantic angel before he was due to die. The movie had 14 award nominations, winning four, including the Oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration. Dyan was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Supporting Actress, while she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture and the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Next, Dyan was seen in “Revenge of the Pink Panther” (1978), “Honeysuckle Rose” (1980), and “Coast to Coast” also in 1980. Two years later, she played Myra Bruhl in “Deathtrap”, also starring Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine, which had six award nominations, including Diane’s nomination for Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
The ‘80s and early ‘90s saw Dyan in “Having It All” (1982), “Caddyshack II” (1988), “The End of Innocence” (1990), and “The Pickle” (1993). She then focused on movies made for television, and was seen starring in “Based on Untrue Story” (1993), “A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Jealous Jokester” (1995), and “Beverly Hills Family Robinson” (1997), before she returned to the big screen as Mrs Flint in the 1997 comedy “That Darn Cat”.
She followed with her roles in “Kiss of a Stranger” (1998), “Kangaroo Jack” (2003), and “Boynton Beach Club” in 2005, mostly playing supporting roles. In the following years, Dyan was seen in two TV movies “A Kiss at Midnight” (2008) and “Women Without Men” in 2010 before her acting pause.
Almost a decade later, in 2019, she was seen in the short comedy “Five Old Comedy Writers Talking Sh*t”, and her most recent role was her portrayal of Linda in the 2021 family drama “Hope’s Legacy”, in which she starred opposite Jim Benson and Ken Arnold.
Love life and relationships
Being one of the most beautiful Hollywood actresses who was crowned 1954 Miss West Seattle for Dyan was both a blessing and a curse. Her trademarks were a throaty laugh, curly blonde tresses, and a seductive deep voice. Dyan has been the subject of various rumors about her romantic life and was often romantically linked to numerous men from the entertainment industry, including many of her co-stars, such as Elliott Gould.
Her first husband was Cary Grant, a famous English-born American actor who needs no special introduction. The two married on 22 July 1965, and their daughter, Jennifer Grant, also an actress, was born on 26 February 1966. Dyan and Cary divorced on 21 March 1968. Cary was 33 years older than Dyan.
Subsequently, Dyan was in relationships with Armand Assante, Mort Sahl, Hal Ashby, Ron Ely, and Michael Nouri.then on 18 April 1985, she married Stanley Fimberg, a real estate mogul, who produced her movie “The End of Innocence”. They didn’t have children together, and divorced in 1991.
Dyan was then in a relationship with famous producer Ron Weiser – they were together until 1993, and this is her last known partner. As of May 2023, it seems that Dyan is single.
Where is she now? How she found her spirituality?
As a child, she was raised Jewish, and as she put it, growing up, she didn’t want to have anything to do with God and religion. However, she found faith again. Dyan said that at one point in her life, she came into the standing when she wanted to be happy but wasn’t. She wanted to know what real love is, and her search for love began. Dyan felt that love is more than human emotion, and she found what she was looking for in Jesus.
How rich is Dyan Cannon?
Thanks to her over 65-years-long acting career, Dyan has earned a hefty sum of money, most of her income coming from the hit movies she starred in. She also made notable television appearances which contributed to her wealth. According to sources, as of May 2023, she has a net worth estimated at over $16 million.