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Watch Me - A Memoir Book Review

Anjelica Huston is true Hollywood royalty. Her grandfather was actor Walter Huston. Her father was director/actor John Huston. She is an actress, director and author. They comprise three generations of Academy Award winners. “Watch Me” is the page-turning, star-studded story of her success in the film industry. The book is also a revealing look at the personal lives of herself and her family.

“A Story Lately Told”, Angelica Huston’s first book, covered her childhood and teen years. “Watch Me” is a continuation of her life story to the present day. Huston arrived in Los Angeles in 1973 at the age of twenty-one. She was working as a model but was unsure about an acting career. Her first attempt at acting, in her father’s film “A Walk with Love and Death”, had received very negative reviews.

Her breakthrough came when she finally took an acting class at the age of thirty. She eventually appeared in more than seventy movies and television shows. Her father directed her in two critically acclaimed films, “The Dead” and “Prizzi’s Honor”.

Huston’s co-star in “Prizzi’s Honor” was Jack Nicholson. Huston had a stormy seventeen-year relationship with Nicholson. She writes about it at length in “Watch Me”. Although Nicholson was not the monogamous type (to put it mildly), the two have remained friends. In the acknowledgments, Huston thanks Nicholson for allowing her to write about him. She also calls him a “fair and true friend.”

Huston writes about her subsequent marriage to the artist Robert Graham. It lasted for eighteen years, until Graham’s tragic death from a rare vascular disease. The death of her father is also a traumatic event that she relates in detail.

As in most celebrity autobiographies, there is mention in the book of drugs and various scandals. Huston used marijuana and cocaine but makes no apology for it. She was arrested with director Roman Polanski at Jack Nicholson’s house. She was also physically abused during her brief affair with the actor Ryan O’Neal.

Huston never writes in a self-pitying manner. She relates her triumphs and defeats with honesty and humor. There are tales about fellow actors, such as the time Raul Julia’s eye fell out (how does that happen)! But her best writing actually occurs when she describes landscapes. Scouting locations in North Carolina, she writes, “This was a country of endless fields and wet timberland, with great distances between dwellings.”

After the success of her two memoirs, perhaps Huston will continue to write. Her eventful life has given her more than enough material.

This book was first published in November of 2014.

I reviewed the book from a personal copy.

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