Mariel Hemingway hopes new film will end her family's curse

Wed Feb 6, 2013 3:39pm EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Actress Mariel Hemingway hopes going public in a documentary about the curse that has plagued her family will finally dispel any mystery around their battles with addiction and raise awareness about mental illness.

For years, Hemingway ignored the drinking, addiction and mental illness that coursed through her family, leading several relatives to take their own lives.

Her grandfather Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize-winning writer, killed himself in 1961 just months before she born. Mirroring his own father's suicide, he shot himself.

One of her sisters, Margaux, died of an overdose in 1996 at the age of 42, and her youngest sister, Joan, has been in and out of institutions for a decade.

Mariel Hemingway, 51, who soared to fame in her Oscar-nominated role in the Woody Allen film "Manhattan", has faced her own demons, battling depression.

But she hopes that talking opening about the so-called Hemingway curse in a new documentary, "Running from Crazy", will help others confront mental illness in their own families.

"I never felt it was a curse but I definitely wanted a normal life," Hemingway told Reuters in London on Wednesday where she attended the opening night of "Fiesta", a play based on Ernest Hemingway's first novel, "The Sun Also Rises".

"There are lifestyle choices you can make which can change the course of your life. I have been able to do that through the food I eat, what I drink, what I do on a day-to-day basis. I have managed to find a balance."   Continued...

Mariel Hemingway poses at the Virgin Unite's "Rock The Kasbah" benefit reception in Hollywood, California July 2, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni