Anjelica Huston in LA

An Oasis By the Sea

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 family.

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

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