Oral History: Anjelica Huston, Growing Up in a Unique Family

by Jack Tewksbury February 27, 2019
Actress and director Anjeica Huston, Golden Globe winner

hfpa archives

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world's largest collection of its kind - over 10,000  items- is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library.

In this excerpt from our archives, Golden Globe winner Anjelica Huston - in a busy phase of her career, the early 90s - recalls her childhood years in Ireland with her brother Tony, her father, iconic filmmaker and multiple Golden Globe winner John Huston and mother, actress and prima ballerina Enrica "Ricky" Soma.

"John Huston, my father - a celebrated international movie director - loved Ireland.  In the 50s, we moved from Hollywood to a remote corner of Ireland, an hour away from the nearest town. My brother Tony and I had private tutors until we were 10 or 11 when it was thought we should mingle with other children. Days we would dress up,  performing in our own plays, riding around on our ponies. Because I had a famous father, when I was in my teens, the bourgeoisie was something I aspired to.  

At the age of 17, my father cast me in a medieval romance,  A Walk With Love And Death. The film was a disastrous failure and that discouraged me from acting for almost 12 years. I was essentially brought up by my mother, a very funny, very beautiful actress completely devoted to her children. She remained in Ireland with us while my father was working all over the world, and it was a lonely life for her.

Later she moved to London with me and Tony.  Too late to restart a career. My mother was killed in a car crash. I was having problems communicating with my father. I left my home in London and started off on my own in New York. 

When I visited my father, then living in Mexico, I told him, ‘I'm  serious about wanting to become a film actress.’ He replied, ‘Aren't you a bit old,  dear?’”