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The actress bares her heart in a gorgeously written memoir.
Anjelica Huston's A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York (Scribner), is an intimate account of a childhood that was enviable in many ways—her legendary director father, John Huston, and stunning ex-ballerina mother, Ricki, drew fascinating, famous people into their lives and to their sumptuous Irish estate. Yet Huston was often lonely while her parents entertained or traveled. And at 17, her life was upended when her mother died in a car crash. Huston went on to become a model and style icon whose romance with Jack Nicholson sealed her status as It girl; she eventually became an A-list actress. But in this, the first installment of a two-volume retrospective, she focuses on the years before her fame. On the occasion of Huston's literary debut O books editor Leigh Haber asked her to elaborate.
On losing her mother...
I've never gotten over my mother's death, and I don't expect to. It was like something emptied out of me that I've never been able to regain. It's a disappearance, an unanswered question.
My earliest impression of great beauty was of blondes with pale eyes, but I realized at a young age I wouldn't look that way. I was disappointed, but I knew I had to do something with what I had—long legs, stature, a chameleon's ability to make myself interesting-looking or plain. Beauty is mutable.
On the most beautiful people she ever crossed paths with...
Peter O'Toole was way over and above in sheer, shining glamour. He was godlike. He had the bluest eyes, like the sea when the sun almost hits it. Ava Gardner was extraordinary. She glittered.
On her teenage affair with a 42-year-old photographer...
I don't regret falling in love; I regret being so hungry. I think my hunger for love sometimes caused the opposite reaction of what I wanted. I think men get defensive when they feel that women are needy, and I was needful of love for a long time.
On what led her to write a memoir...
The more you open up, the more you reveal, the scarier it is. But my life changed 20 years ago when I married my husband and went to live in Venice, California. All of a sudden I wasn't behind gates anymore, living the movie-star life. I made a conscious choice to be more open about who I am.
On the best way to apply eyeliner (which she is rarely seen without)...
Keep it very low to the eyelashes, and use a steady hand.
Anjelica Huston is the author of A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York.
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From the December 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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