Written with the same reckless sincerity and understatement as A Story Lately Told, Anjelica Huston’s second part of her autobiography, Watch Me, depicts her California life and Hollywood years, from 1973, when she was 21, to the present. There was a long and rough journey from an aspiring, insecure actress in her twenties, to the reassuring one that she is now. And it is told by a real and honest heart, by someone who is very frank about her bad decisions and humiliations, but who doesn’t dwell on them, always showing true grit and never pitting herself.
She may have had a privileged start in life, but she didn’t take this for granted and had to fight her way up. Being John Huston’s daughter and Jack Nicholson’s on-off lover for 17 years, she was made to feel lucky when she landed a part. “We’d like nothing better than to see her dropped from the film. She has no talent. Her boyfriend is the star and her father is the director, that’s the only reason we are even having this conversation”, a producer of Prizzi’s Honor told her agent when she was cast in the role for the film. It must have been very satisfying, and rightfully so, for Anjelica to win the Oscar for best supporting actress, the only one of the total number of eight the movie was nominated for, including Jack Nicholson for best actor and John Huston for directing – my favourite kind of story.
From the matter-of-fact portrait of her relationship with a philandering Jack Nicholson (they have remained friends to this day and he gave her his consent to write about him) and the realistic recount of her far from easy fight for self-affirmation, to the moving depiction of her husband, Robert Graham, whom she was married to from 1993 until his death, in 2008, this is an affecting, candid, uplifting, well balanced memoir.
photo by me | picture from the book by David Bailey, June 1988