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Anjelica Huston's life, once she turned 15 and moved to London, is a who's who of popular culture from the Rolling Stones in late '60s London to the Chelsea Hotel in New York when she was modelling in the early '70s, to Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty in '70s and '80s Los Angeles, to Hunter Thompson in Aspen.
She is a force who has won every possible acting award, working with some of the greatest directors of her time, and a friend to many of the greatest artists, writers, actors and musicians. One could say it was a charmed life, an enviable life, and she would agree.
But it is a life also full of so much tragedy and sadness, and Huston writes about both triumph and hardship with extraordinary eloquence and depth. A stunning achievement, her memoir ranks among the best in the genre.
Actress Huston achieves some moments of ringing clarity in this memoir of her youth, especially as regards her famous director father, John Huston, whom she was both terrified and in awe of (people "considered him a lion, a leader, the pirate they wished they had the audacity to be"). The daughter of his fourth wife, the dancer Ricki Soma (who was much younger than him), Anjelica Huston and her older brother, Tony, were raised in a remote 110-acre estate in West Country, Ireland, called St. Clerans, where being homeschooled; being visited by famous, quirky people; riding horses amid wildly romantic scenery; and playing dress-up filled her youth. Her father was frequently absent on far-flung shoots, and her exotic mother was "out of her element." With her parents' separation, Anjelica moved between Ireland and London, where her mother lived and where Anjelica went to school in the 1960s. She gradually embraced an acting career, appearing in her father's A Walk with Love and Death, though without confidence. After the death of her mother in 1969, Huston slipped into a more comfortable role of modeling and serving as the muse for the troubled, brilliant (and much older) fashion photographer Bob Richardson over four tortured years. Huston ends her brave account by describing her complex relationship with her father.