The two first met when Beatty cast Dunaway as his partner in crime in the classic bank robbing film, which not only catapulted the two young stars to fame, but earned 10 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director (Arthur Penn), Best Actor (Beatty), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard), Best Original Screenplay and Best Costume Design.
It was also the beginning of Beatty and Dunaway’s 50-year friendship.
“My first impression of her was her no nonsense intelligence and her sense of humor,” Beatty told PEOPLE in August. “Of course I was struck by her beauty also and I knew she would be in for the long haul.”
Despite their undeniable chemistry as rebellious robbers without a cause, Dunaway and her costar Beatty never dated.
“We both knew it would be the end of the relationship onscreen,” she told PEOPLE. “It’s a bad idea. You get very confused. It’s why doctors don’t operate on their families. You don’t want to carry that personal luggage onto the set with you when you’re trying to do a great job.”
Dunaway went on to make The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and says Beatty was one of the first people to reach out to her after the film’s success.
“Warren called me when Thomas Crown opened. He said ‘everybody wants you,’ He was really complimentary, very happy,” she said.
Over the years, the two kept in touch and Dunaway says, “I would see him anytime. I would call him up and say, ‘I have something I need to talk to you about.'”
They’ve also remained supportive of each other’s careers and Dunaway recently spoke highly of Beatty’s latest film, Rules Don’t Apply, in which he plays Howard Hughes.
“I just saw him in his most recent film and he is phenomenal,” she told PEOPLE. “He’s got the talent, he’s got the intelligence, he’s got this incredible sensibility, that will not give up ever.”
She added that Beatty, who was also a producer on Bonnie and Clyde, recently thanked her for the film’s success.
“He thanked me for making him rich and I said ‘well you did get pretty rich, do you want to give me some now?’ she joked.