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Anjelica Huston

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Also Known As: Angelica Huston Died:
Born: July 8, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Santa Monica, California, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

If ever there lived a woman more destined for a life of glamour, sophistication, and stardom than Anjelica Huston, that fortunate soul was most certainly born into royalty. From a fairy-tale childhood in the hills of Ireland to a history-making film career that would see her become Hollywood's first-ever third generation Academy Award-winner, Huston credited much of her success with her ability to transform herself through sheer force of will and her flair for making her critics eat their words. The daughter of famed actor/writer/director John Huston and first generation Italian-American model/prima ballerina Enrica "Ricki" Soma (his third wife, who earned the nickname "The Mona Lisa Girl" for her painterly beauty), Huston was born July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California. A world traveler by eight, she attended The Convent of the Sisters of Mercy until age 11, and quite took to the religion despite suspicions that her father attempted to sidestep indoctrination by claiming the family atheist. Soon after, Huston attained Irish citizenship. Her early years were spent at St. Clerans, a 110-acre Irish Georgian estate built in 1784. Nestled comfortably in western Ireland, the picturesque country manor...

If ever there lived a woman more destined for a life of glamour, sophistication, and stardom than Anjelica Huston, that fortunate soul was most certainly born into royalty. From a fairy-tale childhood in the hills of Ireland to a history-making film career that would see her become Hollywood's first-ever third generation Academy Award-winner, Huston credited much of her success with her ability to transform herself through sheer force of will and her flair for making her critics eat their words. The daughter of famed actor/writer/director John Huston and first generation Italian-American model/prima ballerina Enrica "Ricki" Soma (his third wife, who earned the nickname "The Mona Lisa Girl" for her painterly beauty), Huston was born July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California. A world traveler by eight, she attended The Convent of the Sisters of Mercy until age 11, and quite took to the religion despite suspicions that her father attempted to sidestep indoctrination by claiming the family atheist. Soon after, Huston attained Irish citizenship. Her early years were spent at St. Clerans, a 110-acre Irish Georgian estate built in 1784. Nestled comfortably in western Ireland, the picturesque country manor (once the home of Merv Griffin) had been purchased by her father, who had moved to Ireland in 1952 (before renouncing his U.S. citizenship in 1964). When benevolent patriarch John was around, he was a loving yet stern presence who never suffered fools, encouraged his children to take calculated risks, and regaled the starry eyed siblings with thrilling tales of adventure and wildlife. Ricki, with her uniquely striking beauty and flair for haute couture, may have been, "an exotic fish out of water" in such a pastoral setting, yet she never appeared self-conscious. At St. Clerans, lavish picnics, fox hunts with with the Galway Blazers (of which John was Joint Master), and equestrian sports were welcomed ways of passing days. On occasion, the wanderlusting siblings would slip away to explore the ruins of a nearby castle. Novelists, socialites, ambassadors, countesses, and celebrities such as Peter O'Toole were a common site at St. Clerans. It was a botched staging of Macbeth at the family's first Christmas in the estate that Huston first caught the eye of the bedazzled "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) star. Though her parents' union was dissolving, the siblings remained largely shielded from the turmoil, so it came as quite a shock when John and Ricki separated in 1960. The following year, Huston and Tony moved to London with their mother. Neither parent ever discussed the separation with the children, and the move was done in such haste that it seemed to happen in a camera's flash. There, with the current of culture shock surging inside, Huston attended the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle. A pariah on the playground, she seemed as out of place in London as her mother had been in Ireland, yet more self aware and despairing about it. Meanwhile, after transferring schools, a penchant for playing hooky and shoplifting began to strain the relationship between Huston and her mother. Life in the city was vibrant; music was ubiquitous, and the revelation of seeing legends like The Kinks, Cream, The Animals, and Pink Floyd in their prime proved nearly as inspiring to Huston as the French New Wave masterworks unspooling at the local cinemas. She was acutely aware that despite being born in sunny Santa Monica, her distinctive beauty was as far from "All-American" as the films of Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard were from those of Blake Edwards or Russ Meyer. Just as Huston was becoming acclimated with her new environment, however, a cutting remark made by fashion photographer Richard Avedon cast doubt on her future as a model. Some time later Avedon would photograph Huston for Vogue, just one of many instances in which she plated crow for her critics. A school search for the female lead in Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet" (1969) was being launched throughout London, and despite producer Dyson Lovel's request that Huston audition, a letter from her father to his Italian counterpart strictly forbade the prospect, as she was to star in his own film "A Walk with Love and Death" (1969), which was created specifically for her. Infuriated by her father's unwelcome intervention, unable to connect with the character, and acutely self-conscious in front of the film crew she had grown up around, Huston's frustrations with the film were only compounded when it was released to little fanfare, and critic John Simon dismissed her performance as "supremely inept" (perhaps his kindest words in the review). A portrait for British Vogue led to regular modeling work, and an encounter with British New Wave filmmaker Tony Richardson in an invitation to audition for the role of Ophelia his upcoming Roundhouse production of Hamlet. Though she lost the role to Marianne Faithfull, Huston remained her understudy through the play's London run. Meanwhile, Huston and her mother had begun to grow apart. Tragically, a heart-to-heart conversation concerning the prospects of reconciliation came too late, as Ricki perished in a car accident in 1969. Later, when Hamlet went on tour to New York, Francesca Annis took over the role of Ophelia, relegating Huston to a walk-on role that nevertheless served as the bridge to a new life stateside. Before the year was out, Huston was living in New York City. A tumultuous romance with schizophrenic, twice-married photographer Bob Richardson (over 20-years her senior) blossomed during a photo shoot for Harper's Baazar that plunged Huston headlong into the world of high fashion. A friendship with Penny Marshall led to walk-on roles in "Laverne and Shirley" (ABC 1976-1883), and a stint with Ford Models found Huston fulfilling her desire to become a fashion model. A stint in Europe served well to advance Huston's modeling career, but a return to New York a year later found Richardson growing dangerously erratic. Her father seemed to recognize this, offering his daughter an escape hatch in the form of a vacation to La Pax, Mexico -- which desperate Huston gladly accepted before moving to Los Angeles. A chance invitation to Jack Nicholson's birthday party resulted in a romance that endured for nearly two decades, and in 1980 Huston -- having dipped her toes back into the acting pool with appearances in "This is Spinal Tap" and "The Ice Pirates" (both 1984) -- enrolled in an acting class taught by Peggy Feury of the Loft Studio. Over the course of the next few years, the model morphed into an actress with increasing command of her body and craft. In March of 1983, an American Film Institution celebration honoring the work of John Huston was at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. He was in high spirits despite his deteriorating health, and in a rush of emotion Huston bungled her part of the presentation. She longed for a chance to correct the wrong that was "A Walk with Love and Death," and she got the opportunity when John Foreman presented her with the prospect of adapting Richard Condon's book Prizzi's Honor for the screen. Huston would star as Maerose Prizzi, the estranged granddaughter of an aging mafia don, and Jack as Charlie Partana, her former lover and the man for whom she still carries a flame. The film was quickly taking form when Huston signed with the Yvette Bikoff Agency. Convinced that her critical role in shepherding the project merited pay above scale, Huston goaded her new agent into pushing the issue with the producer. His caustic response decrying his inability to drop her from the film and her perceived lack of talent was precisely the kindling she needed to burn her absolute brightest, and that year at the Academy Awards, an elated Huston became the third Huston to win an Oscar when awarded Best Supporting Actress for her mesmerizingly nuanced performance. Nominations for her turn as a presumed-dead Holocaust victim who returns to her husband unexpectedly in Paul Mazursky's "Enemies: A Love Story" (1989) and as a sociopathic con artist in Stephen Frears' "The Grifters" (1990). The model/actress enjoyed an exhilarating film run that included parts in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and "Manhattan Murder Mysteries" (1993) and a wickedly fun turn as a hag who turns children into mice in Nicolas Roeg's "The Witches" (1990). Later, the woman who as a young girl glided around her bedroom pretending to be Morticia Addams found her force of will once again yielding fruitful results when she essayed the character in Barry Sonnenfeld's "The Addams Family" (1991), and its sequel "Addams Family Values" (1993). On occasion, Huston would return to the small screen for roles in the western "Lonesome Dove" (CBS 1988), and Roger Spottiswoode's "And The Band Played On" (HBO 1993), but her bread and butter was on the big screen, where performances in "The Player" (1992), "The Crossing Guard" (1995), and "Buffalo '66" (1988) offered impressive examples of her expanding range. In 2001, Huston appeared opposite Gene Hackman in director Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums," marking the beginnings of an ongoing  collaboration that would continue with "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004), "The Darjeeling Limited" (2007), and "Isle of Dogs" (2017). The Golden Globes grew to love Huston during the 1990s, showering her in nominations that culminated in a win for her moving depiction of Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Women Suffrage Association, and founder of the League of Women Voters, in "Iron Jawed Angels" (2004). Over the course of the following decade, Huston drifted effortlessly drifting between film and television, keeping busy with appearances in shows like "Medium" (NBC/CBS 2005-2011) and "Smash" (NBC 2012-13). Interestingly -- at least for a celebrity initially known for turning heads in fashion mags -- the veteran actress seemed to find a second life as a voice-over artist beginning in the 2000s, and the work became steady with roles on the animated Dreamworks series "Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia" and Netflix's "All Hail King Julien" (both 2016). In May, 2018, Huston joined the cast of "John Wick 3: Parabellum."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
3.
  Bastard Out of Carolina (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Isle of Dogs (2018)
4.
 Thirst Street (2017)
6.
 Master Cleanse (2016)
8.
 Cat in Paris, A (2012)
10.
 50/50 (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1998:
Acted in Danny Cannon's mediocre crime film "Phoenix" (HBO), portraying Ray Liotta's love interest
1988:
Acted in half-brother Danny Huston's "Mr. North"; co-adapted by father, John Huston
1990:
Acted the part of the Grand High Witch in Nicolas Roeg's "The Witches"
1984:
Career received a boost when she was cast as an Amazon with guns in "The Ice Pirates"
2004:
Co-starred with Bill Murray in Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" as Zissou's (Murray) estranged wife
2003:
Co-starred with Hilary Swank in the HBO movie "Iron Jawed Angels," about the American women's suffrage movement during the early 1900s; received an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress
1999:
Directed, co-produced and starred in "Agnes Browne" as a widowed mother of seven in 1960s Ireland
1969:
Made feature acting debut with an uncredited appearance in her father, John Huston's "Sinful Davey"
1969:
First starring role, "A Walk with Love and Death"; directed by her father (who also co-starred as her uncle)
2006:
Guest starred as an unorthodox psychiatrist in a four episode stint on the Showtime series "Huff"
1971:
Modeled for photographer (an old friend of Huston's mother) Richard Avedon in a 30-page fashion shoot for <i>Vogue</i> magazine
1973:
Moved to Los Angeles, CA to live with off-screen love Jack Nicholson
2008:
Played a missing persons investigator in a six-episode story arc on "Medium" (NBC); received an Emmy nomination for Guest Actress in a Drama
1987:
Played a woman in a loveless marriage in John Huston's final film, "The Dead"; screenplay was adapted by brother, Tony from the short story of the same name by James Joyce
1995:
Portrayed Calamity Jane in the CBS miniseries "Buffalo Girls" (adapted from Larry McMurtry's novel); received an Emmy nomination for Supporting Actress in a Miniseries
1993:
Portrayed Doctor Betsy Reisz in the acclaimed HBO movie "And the Band Played On" that followed the course of the AIDS crisis
1998:
Portrayed the evil stepmother in Andy Tennant's take on the Cinderella story "Ever After"
1995:
Re-teamed with Nicholson to play an estranged couple in Sean Penn's "The Crossing Guard"
1989:
Received a Best Supporting Oscar nomination as a Nazi concentration camp survivor in Paul Mazursky's "Enemies, a Love Story"
2010:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
1981:
Second film with Nicholson, Bob Rafelson's remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice"
1992:
Appeared as herself in Robert Altman's "The Player"
1985:
Landed breakthrough screen role as the Mafia princess in John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor"; third onscreen collaboration with Nicholson
1989:
Cast as as Clara Allen in the CBS miniseries "Lonesome Dove" (adapted from Larry McMurtry's novel); received an Emmy nomination for Lead Actress in a Miniseries
2008:
Cast as Sam Rockwell's mother in the film "Choke," based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk
2005:
Directed Rosie O'Donnell and Andie MacDowell in the CBS movie "Riding the Bus With My Sister"
1969:
Moved to NYC after mother's death and was an understudy for Marianne Faithful in the Broadway production of "Hamlet"
2010:
Played the curator of the Guggenheim and Kristen Bell's boss in the comedy "When in Rome"
2001:
Played the matriarch in a family of failed geniuses in Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums"
1998:
Played Vincent Gallo's Buffalo Bills-crazed mom in Gallo's "Buffalo 66"
1991:
Portrayed gothic matriarch Morticia Addams in "The Addams Family"
1987:
Re-teamed with Coppola in her first leading role, "Gardens of Stone"
1993:
Re-teamed with Woody Allen for "Manhattan Murder Mystery"
1993:
Reprised role of Morticia for "Addams Family Values"
1976:
Returned to the screen in Elia Kazan's "The Last Tycoon"; first film with Jack Nicholson
1967:
Auditioned for the role of Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's film version of "Romeo and Juliet"
1996:
Made directorial debut with "Bastard Out of Carolina" (originally filmed for TNT, but they would not air it due to its content; later aired on Showtime); received an Emmy nomination for Directing
:
Moved to Ireland as a young child and lived in an estate in Galway
1961:
Moved to London at age ten
1985:
Played title role in the Los Angeles stage production of "Tamara"
2001:
Portrayed the Lady in the Lake in the TNT retelling of the Arthurian legend "The Mists of Avalon"
1990:
Received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role as Lily Dillon in "The Grifters"
2002:
Starred opposite Clint Eastwood in "Blood Work"
1984:
Made TV-movie debut in "The Cowboy and the Ballerina" (CBS)
1982:
Acted on episodes of "Laverne and Shirley" (ABC)
2000:
Appeared in James Ivory's "The Golden Bowl" (based on the Henry James novel)
1984:
Appeared in Rob Reiner's feature directing debut "This Is Spinal Tap"
2006:
Cast in Terry Zwigoff's adaptation of Daniel Clowes' comic story "Art School Confidential"
2007:
Co-starred with Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan in the western "Seraphim Falls"
1989:
Acted in first film with director Woody Allen, "Crimes and Misdemeanors," playing the desperate mistress of Martin Landau
1986:
Joined Michael Jackson and Dick Shawn in Francis Ford Coppola's 17-minute, 3-D musical "Captain Eo" (produced for the Disney theme parks)
1993:
Offered a strong performance as the mother of an autistic child in the ABC miniseries "Family Pictures"
2011:
Cast opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen in "50/50"
2011:
Cast in the comedy feature "The Big Year" opposite Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin
2012:
Cast as the tenacious producer of a Broadway musical on NBC's "Smash"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Kylemore Abbey: -
Holland Park School: -
Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle: -

Notes

Remembering her father: "He was 6-foot-3; his voice was big. He was devestatingly attractive--even to his daughter as a child. I remember watching him get dressed sometimes.

"He would ask me about his ties--rows of ties. I would pick out something, and he would never follow my advice. He had a sort of contempt for vanity, but he knew exactly the kind of impact he had . . .

"He had a cruel streak--made him interesting. He liked his fun. It was certainly sometimes at the expense of others. I think he was sometimes reckless, and at worst thoughtless, but I don't think he was ever a man of bad intent. I think that he regretted things later, after he'd had time to consider. But I think if there were sin there, it was that he was very much preoccupied with what he wanted to do, which didn't necessarily coincide with his having a wife, or having children." --Anjelica Huston to James Kaplan in The New York Times, February 12, 1989

"I bought it when I was told beauty came from the inside. When you become older, it's an act of faith to believe beauty is inside. Do I like my looks? Sometimes . . . I'd say I'm one of those people who's handsome rather than beautiful. I have the same duality my father had. He could look wrinkled or child-like within hours. Feature-wise I'm more like him than [my mother]. I think I'm like a tall Englishwoman." --Huston quoted in Los Angeles Times, February 4, 1990

On her first directing experience, helming the controversial "Bastard Out of Carolina": "I was surprised that a television network would embark on this. But since the script had been sent to me directly by TNT, I assumed they knew what they were getting into.

"As we made the film, I was left blissfully alone, and I received only good reports when I sent back my dailies. By the time I handed in my director's cut, I was feeling quite in the clover." --Huston to Warren Berger in The New York Times, December 15, 1996

About acting in and directing "Agnes Browne": "I'm more terrified by technology than I should be, but I'm pretty good with people, and certainly still better in front of the camera than behind it . . .

"I've been on sets a long time, so there's not a lot people can tell me about what goes on. I basically do what's honest to me, and rely on my cameraman [Anthony B. Richmond] to keep it on the right side of the line and to watch over me when I get so far into the acting discipline that I can't be objective." --Huston quoted in Premiere: Women in Hollywood 1999

"My father was extremely loving to me and funny and wise and understanding, and at other times extremely demanding, critical, calculating, exacting. When you're a young woman, I think you want to please a lot, so maybe you accept more of the criticism than you would as an older person. But criticism can be very wounding. It certainly was to me."---Anjelica Huston to Graham Fuller in Interview, FEBRUARY 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Bob Richardson. Fashion photographer. Met on a fashion shoot when Huston was still in her teens; according to Richardson, maintained a relationship until the early 1980s.
companion:
Jack Nicholson. Actor, director. Together from c. 1973; lived together until c. 1983 when she moved out and bought a place nearby; relationship continued until c. 1989 when she learned Nicholson was having a child with another woman.
husband:
Robert Graham. Sculptor. Born c. 1938; married in May 1992.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Walter Huston. Actor. Born on April 6, 1884; died on April 6, 1950; played leading roles in many important American films of the 1930s and 40s, including "American Madness" (1932), "Dodsworth" (1936), "The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1941), "And Then There Were None" (1945) and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948), directed by his son John and for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.
father:
John Huston. Director, screenwriter, actor. Born on August 5, 1906; died on August 28, 1987; worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter before directing "The Maltese Falcon" (1941); subsequently made "The African Queen" (1951), "Moby Dick" (1956), "The Night of the Iguana" (1964), "Fat City" (1972), and "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), among others; earned Oscars for directing and scripting "The Treasure of Sierra Madre".
mother:
Enrica Soma. Ballerina. Born in 1930; Huston's fourth wife; married to Huston from 1950 until her death at age 39 in an auto accident in 1969; lived apart after 1962; had child, Allegra, with titled Englishman; Huston raised her as his daughter.
brother:
Tony Huston. Attorney, screenwriter, actor. Born on April 15, 1950; mother, Enrica Soma; wrote screenplay for "The Dead" (1987), directed by father and starring sister Anjelica; married to actress Pat Delaney.
half-brother:
Danny Huston. Director. Born on May 14, 1962; mother, Zoe Sallis; formerly married to Virginia Madsen; directed "Mr. North" (1987), John Huston's final film (as executive producer and co-screenwriter; was to have acted in it), which also starred Anjelica.
half-sister:
Allegra Huston. Producer, former book editor. Born c. 1963; mother, Enrica Soma; father was a titled Englishman; adopted by John Huston and raised by him after his wife's tragic death.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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