Book Talk: Anjelica Huston on an Irish childhood and famous father

Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:11pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ellen Freilich

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some fathers are in the delivery room when their children are born and some pace outside, but actress Anjelica Huston's dad learned of his daughter's birth by telegram in the Belgian Congo where he was filming "The African Queen."

That circumstance foreshadows an extraordinary childhood with an often absent father that Huston, who won the best supporting actress Academy Award in 1986 for "Prizzi's Honor" - a film directed by her father, shares in her memoir, "A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York."

If a storytelling gene exists, Huston, 62, inherited one from her father, the Oscar-winning director John Huston, and another from her mother, the ballet dancer Enrica Soma, who nurtured in her children a love of books and a gift for observation.

Huston spoke to Reuters about her childhood, growing up in a rambling 18th-century estate in Ireland that her father had purchased, and writing her memoir by hand.

Q: In your memoir you quote an excerpt from one of your mother's letters. "The sky has blazed blue, the remaining few Beech leaves are brazen against the sky," she writes to your father. She was a wonderful writer.

A: Yes, her language is so beautiful - and so unusual. It's incredibly reminiscent of her. That's why it was such a pleasure to be around her and have her point things out to us.

Q: Her exceptional gift for language seems to have influenced you.

A: I certainly hope so. I think it came from both of my parents, my mother and also my father, who wrote on every screenplay that he directed. He was tremendously aware of language and a very literate person.   Continued...

Angelica Huston arrives at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood, California in this file photo taken March 7, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/Files