There is a wonderful moment at the end of Anjelica Huston’s new
memoir A Story Lately Told, in which
she makes her decision to move to Los Angeles. After a hectic life as a top
model in New York, and a fraught love affair with the photographer Bob RIchardson,
she washes up on these SoCal shores in need of peace, healing. And, standing up
on the Palisades, looking down on the rolling hills of the city, with it’s
protective folds and comforting canyons, warmed by the subtropical sun, she
instantly makes up her mind to stay. The rest—the daughter of legendary
filmmaker John Huston becoming a legendary actress in her own right—is, as they
say, history. We caught up with Miss Huston to talk about that young girl on
the precipice, to find her still basking in the sun.
Memoir is such a tricky
thing as you are playing with the unreliability of memory. Did you find that
your telling of these episode over the years had polished some of the them,
changed them in some way?
The very early ones—because one does revisit memories throughout
time—are probably altered. But I also think they are pretty pure. I always
wonder what happened to the stuff between the memories. [laughs] That’s what
I’m more concerned with.
The moment at the end of
this book is really wonderful, as you do see LA as this oasis, which it is.
It is! It is healing.
And of course you have
gone on to build your own sort of oasis by the sea, but what was your image of
LA before you moved here?
Even as a child, LA was where my family was from, where my
parents were from. My father owned a ranch in Tarzana; they talked about
Beverly Hills. This is where his lawyer was, this is where his business manager
was. Even though we were living in Ireland, things related to Beverly Hills.
Most of his friends came from here. His work drew him here. Even though it
wasn’t directly part of my landscape, it was always there. It was a seat of the
So it was a return to home
in a way.
That was how it felt when I first came back. It was like, Ahhhh,
here it is: Sun, for a start. I had been without sun all my life and I really
craved it. [laughing] It comes up a lot in my book. I was always burning myself
in the sun. That was part of my first ten years here, always burning myself in
the Los Angeles sun.
- Interview by Chris Wallace, Photo by Lisa Eisner