NEW YORK (Reuters) - In her well-received debut memoir, “A Story Lately Told,” Anjelica Huston described her upbringing in Ireland and London with her famous father, director John Huston, and dancer mother, Enrica Soma.
Huston’s follow-up, “Watch Me,” picks up where she left off, trying to make a name for herself as an actress in 1970s Hollywood.
She also dishes on her long relationship with actor Jack Nicholson and an affair with Ryan O’Neal, rubbing elbows with director Roman Polanski and singer Michael Jackson, winning an Oscar and finding love with sculptor Robert Graham.
Huston, 63, spoke with Reuters about the book, her career, drugs and discretion.
Q: Jack Nicholson looms large in this book. Did you have any discussions with him about it before publication?
A: Yes, I told him that I’d written a second book and that obviously he was going to be a part of it. But I didn’t tell him much more besides that I would pass it on to him before publication in case there was anything he objected to.
Q: What is your relationship with Nicholson like now?
A: Good. Overall he’s somebody I love, respect and admire. And he’s enormously caring about his friends. There’s a reaction from some people who say, “Why did you stick around?” There were very real reasons. Jack is a pretty fabulous person to be around.
Q: You came of age with this jet-set crew when, as you describe, cocaine and other drugs were ubiquitous. How did you come out of that with your head straight?
A: Well, I think my head was always on pretty straight. We were hedonistic, but that wasn’t to say that we were idiots. We liked to think we could have our cake and eat it too. I think a lot of people fell by the wayside, but I come from particularly strong stock. And I wouldn’t call myself a danger-seeker. I like some excitement, but I’m not tempted by the dark side.
Q: In some ways it seemed like your social life was more discreet than many celebrities today.
A: That’s absolutely right. It never had to do with the culture of celebrity. It had to do with who were our friends and where was the fun.
Q: The incident with Ryan O’Neal, in which you say he head-butted you at a party, then hit you several times, has gotten a lot of attention. Have you heard from him?
Q: You married sculptor Robert Graham in 1992, and were with him until he died in 2008. Did being with a nonactor work better?
A: Relationships are relationships; you can’t say that because somebody is an actor it’s harder. As far as I was concerned, maybe it was easier all around to be with a nonactor, because living with Jack Nicholson, the phone rings and it’s for him, scripts come and they’re for him.
So yes, living with a famous actor has its drawbacks, but I think Jack managed his career brilliantly and still happens to be a very astute, thoughtful individual.
Q: What’s your next film or TV project?
A: I’m in a movie, “(The) Master Cleanse,” that will be coming out this year ... I play a sort of mad scientist.
Q: Do you anticipate writing another memoir?
A: We’ll see how life goes after this.
Editing by Patricia Reaney and Matthew Lewis