At the start of this second volume Huston is in her early twenties and has just arrived in Los Angeles. She has been a successful fashion model in Europe and New York but is eager to commence a new life in sunny SoCal after finally extrapolating herself from a difficult relationship with a mentally ill photographer old enough to be her father.
Anjelica is a new girl in town but, being the daughter of legendary film director and bon vivant John Huston, she is an extremely well-connected one. It isn't long before she meets rising star Jack Nicholson and they begin a lengthy reign as Hollywood's coolest couple. Woody Allen immortalized their partnership in Annie Hall in which Annie's acceptance by the in-crowd is represented by her being invited to a party at Jack and Anjelica's.
Jack and Anjelica are an unequal pair. Nicholson essentially replaces John Huston as the charismatic, energetic and famous man dominating over Anjelica's life. As Jack ascends to superstardom in Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Shining, Anjelica hangs around and smokes -- sometimes on Jack's movie locations, sometimes back home at Jack's house on Mulholland, sometimes at the homes of friends in Paris, London, New York, and Aspen.
|Jack and Anjelica back in the day, 1976,|
The Oscar earns Anjelica increased respect as an actress and raises her profile but did not send her to the top rank of Hollywood stars. Still, she works regularly in major productions and has carved out a career that is her own. She is often part of ensemble casts as in Francis Ford Coppola's Gardens of Stone, the television mini-series Lonesome Dove, and the Wes Anderson films -- The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited. Occasionally there are lead roles. Anjelica calls the part of Lilly Dillon, a cold-hearted conwoman in The Grifters (1990) "arguably the best role of my life" and admits that director Stephen Frears contacted her only after the part had been turned down by Melanie Griffith (who was a big star back in the 1980s, it should be remembered). About another plum role -- Morticia in Barry Sonnenfeld's The Addams Family and Addams Family Values -- Anjelica wryly wonders why the producers wanted her and not Cher.
|Anjelica in Prizzi's Honor, 1985.|
|Anjelica with unfriendly co-star Bill Murray in|
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, 2004.
|Anjelica with husband, the sculptor|
Robert Graham, in 2000.
Anjelica's life as presented in Watch Me lacks the usual components of a Hollywood memoir. No difficult climb out of obscurity. She is a Huston, after all. No divorces. Though she says she sometimes pressed Nicholson to legalize their relationship, they both seem to have been too self-aware to ever have thought that things would really be till death do us part. Drug use and drinking are alluded to but don't turn problematic. Anjelica even manages to permanently overcome a forty-year long heavy smoking habit with a day-long seminar at a hotel conference room in 2006. "I haven't had a cigarette since, and have had no desire to smoke," she tells us. Whether this is true or not, it's not dramatic.
|Anjelica in 2014 (photo/David Livingston/Getty Images)|