October 08, 2019
Before the death of her sculptor husband Robert Graham, and before the end of her long-term on-and-off relationship with actor Jack Nicholson, the life of “The Addams Family” star Anjelica Huston was forever marked by loss when her ballerina mother Enrica Soma died at 39.
At the age of 62, Anjelica Huston decided to write her autobiography. After all, her life had been anything but ordinary. The daughter of legendary film director John Huston - who had made movies like “The Maltese Falcon,” The African Queen,” and “Prizzi’s Honor” – and the beautiful ballet dancer Enrica Soma, Anjelica was destined for greatness.
Getty Images l Anjelica Huston at the "Smash" panel discussion on January 6, 2013 in Pasadena, California
“A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York” is the first book in Anjelica’s two-part autobiography. While talking to USA Today, Anjelica revealed that she decided to write the books herself – a rare move for celebrities.
“It became evident to me that if I was going to embark on this idea that I should do it myself,” she said after trying to work with a ghostwriter. “I don’t think anyone can replicate your way of thinking.” So armed with her Paper Mate Sharpwriter#2, Anjelica took a walk down memory lane and chronicled her past in what NPR called a “stirring memoir.”
In her memoir, Anjelica revealed that her father was deep in the heart of the Congo shooting “The African Queen” when a barefoot runner arrived with a telegram bearing news of her birth. “When the messenger handed the telegram to my father, he glanced at it, then put it in his pocket,” wrote Anjelica. “[Audrey] Hepburn exclaimed, ‘For God’s sakes, John, what does it say?’ and Dad replied, ‘It’s a girl. Her name is Anjelica.’”
Huston moved his fourth wife and their children to Ireland, the source of Anjelica’s earliest memories. But he was hardly around. “We hated it when he left,” the actress told Reuters. “If we were lucky – and he’d finished the movie he was directing – we’d get a glimpse of him in the summer. But when he left after coming home for Christmas, it was connected to the sadness of Christmas being over.”
Getty Images l Anjelica Huston at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California
Anjelica’s mother decided to leave Ireland for London with her two children. The young girl yearned for her childhood home and her father. When she asked Enrica why she was no longer with Huston, she said “people grow apart,” Anjelica shared with The Guardian. She went through her teens trying to avoid her father, which wasn’t hard to do as he was rarely around, even less than before.
“My father was an odd dichotomy of adventurous, racy, a hunter in every sense – and extremely conservative when it came to his family, and particularly to his daughter,” revealed Anjelica, who was scared of her disapproving father as a teen.
Anjelica wanted to become an actress, but her father was not for it. She got a callback from a director after auditioning for the part of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet.” When word got back to her father, he offered her the lead in his film “A Walk with Love and Death,” which was being shot in Paris. This effectively killed her chance of appearing in the Zeffirelli production. Anjelica was furious. “My father placed me in a film I didn’t want to do.”
The film bombed and Anjelica felt the heat from critics. Years later father and daughter would work together again on “Prizzi’s Honor” and she would win her first Oscar for her performance.
Getty Images l Anjelica Huston gives a speech at the Costume Designers Guild Awards
The last time the actress saw her mother was the night before she left for Venice with her lover. Anjelica was 17. “That was a completely devastating moment,” she told Parade about her mother’s fatal car accident. “I don’t want to say that one thing is more difficult to write than another, but it’s a hard place for me to reenter – a very dark, sad place.”
“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,” she confessed to “O” books editor Leigh Haber.
While Anjelica's first book mainly focused on her childhood, her second memoir "Watch Me" is full of glamour as she details her life through Hollywood and her relationship with Jack Nicholson. Carrie Rickey, a movie critic for SF Gate, called the book "engaging and laced with mourning."