Samille Diane Friesen is an American actress, filmmaker, and screenwriter. She is better known by her stage name, Dyan Cannon. Active since 1958, she has been nominated for the Oscars three times and the Golden Globe Award three times and won the latter for ‘Heaven Can Wait’. A native of Washington, Cannon had harboured aspirations of becoming an actress since she was a child. She made her screen debut in an episode of ‘Have Gun - Will Travel’ in 1958. Two years later, she debuted on the big screen in ‘The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond’. Some of her most prominent roles are of Alice Henderson in ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice’, Julie Messinger in ‘Such Good Friends’, Julia Farnsworth in ‘Heaven Can Wait’, and The Honorable Judge Jennifer 'Whipper' Cone in ‘Ally McBeal’. In 1976, Cannon wrote, produced, and directed the short film ‘Number One’. In 1983, she received a star (Motion Picture) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on January 4, 1937, in Tacoma, Washington, Cannon is one of the two children of Claire (née Portnoy) and Ben Friesen. She has a younger brother named David Friesen, who is a jazz musician. Her father was a life insurance salesman while her mother was a homemaker.
After graduating from West Seattle High School in Seattle, Washington, Cannon enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle but eventually dropped out. Prior to becoming an actress, she participated in various beauty pageants. She was the Miss West Seattle of 1955.
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Dyan Cannon debuted on the small screen in a season one episode of ‘Have Gun - Will Travel’ in 1958. In the following two years, she made a series of guest appearances in various TV shows before portraying Dixie in ‘The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond’ (1960).
In 1963, Cannon became a part of the national touring production of the Broadway musical ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’, portraying the character Rosemary.
In 1969, she was cast as Alice Henderson opposite Elliott Gould in ‘Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice’. The film earned her both a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy Award nomination. She received her second Golden Globe nomination for playing Julie Messinger in Otto Preminger’s comedy-drama ‘Such Good Friends’ (1971).
In 1976, she achieved the distinction of being the first Oscar-nominated actress in history to be nominated in the Best Short Film, Live Action Category for ‘Number One’ (1976). She wrote, produced, directed, and edited the film and played the role of Matt’s mother. That year, she also served as a host on one episode of the first season of NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live’.
Cannon is also a singer-songwriter. For the soundtrack of the 1980 romantic-drama ‘Honeysuckle Rose’, she sang three tracks, ‘Two Sides to Every Story,’ ‘Loving You is Easier’, and ‘Unclouded Day’. Cannon was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for the 1982 thriller ‘Deathtrap’.
In 1990, ‘The End of Innocence’ was released. Besides writing, producing, and directing the film, she played the adult version of the protagonist, Stephanie. In Fox’s legal drama ‘Ally McBeal’ (1997-2000), she had the recurring role of The Honorable Judge Jennifer 'Whipper' Cone. She was a series regular in the short-lived NBC sitcom ‘Three Sisters’ (2001-02).
After appearing in the 2010 TV movie ‘Women without Men’, Cannon took a long hiatus from acting. She has recently made her return and is currently working on the upcoming television series ‘Mood Swings’, playing a character credited as Auntie Sam.
Dyan Cannon portrayed Julia Farnsworth, an unfaithful wife bent on murdering her husband, in the 1978 fantasy-comedy ‘Heaven Can Wait.’ Directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry, the film also starred Beatty and Julie Christie.
For her performance in ‘Heaven Can Wait’, she won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.
She was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress but lost it to Maggie Smith for ‘California Suite’.
Family & Personal Life
Dyan Cannon has been married two times. She exchanged wedding vows with actor Cary Grant on July 22, 1965. Grant was 33 years older than her and was the father of her daughter Jennifer (born February 26, 1966). Cannon and Grant divorced on March 21, 1968. Jennifer has gone on to follow in her parents’ footsteps to become an actress.
She tied the knot with real estate investor Stanley Fimberg on April 18, 1985. After six years of marriage, they divorced in 1991. A born-again Christian, Cannon is deeply religious.
Cannon is an ardent Los Angeles Lakers fan.