Anjelica Huston is truly Hollywood royalty. Born into one of the most prestigious families in cinema history, Huston’s life is full of immense privilege, heartbreaking tragedy, and lasting scandal. Through it all, she’s remained one of Tinseltown’s most delightful leading ladies. Here are 42 provocative facts about Anjelica Huston.
Anjelica Huston Facts
1. A Star Is Born
Huston was born on July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California. She is the daughter of John Huston, the award-winning filmmaker, and Enrica Soma, a prima ballerina, socialite, and model. The little girl basked in the glow of Hollywood royalty right from the start, and for much of her childhood, she wanted nothing—materially at least.
2. Family Lies
Huston’s young home life was full of drama. Her father John was a notorious drinker, but that was just the beginning. He also entertained numerous affairs throughout his life. An already-married John even relentlessly pursued Anjelica’s mother Enrica, who was more than two decades younger than him, after only seeing a photo of her.
Sadly, the marriage was utterly troubled. Both partners were unfaithful and eventually had children out of wedlock: Anjelica’s half-siblings Allegra and Danny.
3. Tell Us How You Really Feel
Though she’s a Hollywood legend today, not everyone was always enamored with Huston. When she got her big start in A Walk With Love and Death, one critic sneered the she “has the face of an exhausted gnu, the voice of an unstrung tennis racket, and a figure of no discernible shape.” Definitely not mincing words there.
4. Mean Boys
Though Bill Murray and Huston worked together previously on The Royal Tenenbaums, the actor was reportedly extremely rude to her on Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic. According to Huston, when everyone arrived on set, Murray dealt her a cold-hearted betrayal. As she said, “The first week I was there, we were all in this little hotel, and he invited the entire cast to go and have dinner, except me.” Ouch.
5. The Unhappy Hedon
In her heyday of the 70s and 80s, Huston made the most of her glamorous life in Hollywood. She was a frequent figure on the party scene, and more than a bit of a wild child. Nonetheless, she once admitted, “I was never happily hedonistic. There’s no hedonism without a downside.”
6. Take Your Daughter to Work
As much as Anjelica’s father John was a loose cannon in his personal life, he could be disturbingly controlling when it came to his daughter. As a teen, Anjelica began acting in small roles, and when Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet started casting for Juliet, she was desperate for the part. But her father’s response was chilling.
He barred her from taking the role, and cast her in his own film, A Walk with Love and Death, instead. According to Anjelica, papa Huston wanted to be the one to “introduce” her to Hollywood.
7. Going for the Gold
The Huston family name has three generations of Oscar winners. Anjelica’s grandfather Walter was an actor, and her father John Huston was of course an acclaimed director. Father and son both won for their work in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, while Anjelica took home top prize for Prizzi’s Honor. Talk about a name to live up to!
8. The Home That’s Chosen
Huston’s father is an Irish citizen, and as a child, little Angelica spent a lot of time on the Emerald Isle, particularly in Galway. She even attended school there, and still considers Ireland her home.
9. One out of Three
Aside from her Academy Award for Supporting Actress in 1986 for Prizzi’s Honor, Huston nabbed two Academy Award nominations in 1990 and 1991 for Enemies: A Love Story and The Grifters, respectively.
10. Vows Untaken
Even as a child, Huston was undeniably chic. When she was a little girl, she wanted to become a nun—for a hilarious reason. Apparently, the young Anjelica thought that wearing a veil all day was the height of beauty, and wanted to try out a nun’s life, if only for aesthetics. Hey, if the wimple fits…
11. Troubled Teen
Anjelica and John Huston’s collaboration in A Walk With Love and Death ended in total disaster. The teenaged Huston was resentful that she had to work on the film instead of gallivanting around Italy for Romeo and Juliet, and she clashed frequently with her father. For his part, John was unusually harsh on her, and would rip into her in front of the crew when she forgot her lines.
12. Sacré Bleu!
Anjelica Huston isn’t just proficient in English; she is also fluent in French. Some people truly are talented in so many ways. What an incredible woman.
13. Daddy’s Not Home
Huston has admitted that growing up with a famous director for a father meant that he was largely absent from her life. At one point, she recalled overhearing an interview where the journalist asked, “What is the most precious thing to you on earth?” When he answered “My children,” Huston was flabbergasted and suspicious.
14. Mommy’s Gone
Only January 29, 1969, utter tragedy struck. Huston’s mother Enrica was driving in Dijon, France when she got into a brutal car accident and died at the age of only 39. Suddenly, the teenaged Anjelica was grieving, without a mother, and left with her philandering father to take care of her and the rest of the family.
15. The Halstonettes
After her mother’s death, the young Huston moved to the United States to get away from it all, and switched from acting and into modeling for a time. Like almost everything she did, Huston was a huge hit. She became so popular with famed designer Halston that the public crowned her one of his “Halstonettes,” a group of his model muses.
16. Tall Order
Just like her father, Anjelica Huston is one tall drink of water: She stands at a statuesque 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
17. Santa Steinbeck
Though Huston’s childhood was far from idyllic, being silver screen royalty wasn’t without its perks. The family was friends with great American author John Steinbeck, who visited them once for Christmas while they were living in Ireland. The writer then reportedly dressed up as Santa Claus for the young Anjelica.
18. I Have a Thing for Mature Men
Huston had to grow up very fast in her family, but her precociousness led to a scandalous love life. When she was still a teenager, she had relationships with much older men, including actor James Fox and photographer Bob Richardson. Both lovers could have been her father’s age, though her relationship with the middle-aged Richardson did last four years.
19. Shining Brightly
In 2010, Huston received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is the third person in her family to receive that honor, her grandfather and father being the other two. Truly a talented family.
20. The Eye of the Beholder
When legendary director Elia Kazan was casting for his new movie The Last Tycoon, he briefly considered Huston for two different parts—but in order to decide which one, he put her through a cruel test. According to Huston, Kazan stopped a random woman at a bus stop and asked her in front of the actress, “Do you think she’s beautiful?”
When the woman said she didn’t, Huston knew she’d lost the lead. Instead, Kazan cast her in a smaller role.
21. The Burton to My Rickman
As of 2019, Huston has appeared in four Wes Anderson films: The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, and (technically) Isle of Dogs.
22. Mate for Life
Huston has only been married once in her life. In 1992, she tied the knot with Robert Graham, a sculptor and artist. The two of them stayed married until Graham’s unfortunate passing in 2008. Throughout their entire marriage, they lived together in a three-story house that Graham himself custom designed.
23. My Father’s Daughter
When Huston won her Oscar for Prizzi’s Honor, she leapt down off the stage after collecting the award and ran into the audience to see her elderly father, who had directed her in the film. His response was heartbreaking. The proud dad had tears streaming down his face as his daughter rushed over to greet and thank him.
24. Degree of Difficulty
By her own admission, Huston is attracted to difficult men. As she put it, “I seem to have been drawn to dominating men, like my father and Jack [Nicholson].”
25. We’re So (Well) Done
Huston’s relationships were almost always stormy, but her older photographer boyfriend Bob Richardson was one of her worst flames. After getting together when Huston was still a teenager, their love developed a dark side. Richardson became controlling and abusive, getting jealous when she took jobs with other photographers—but that wasn’t even the worst part.
He once slammed a steak she was cooking for him into the wall because she was taking too long.
26. Friend of the Felines
In the timeless debate of cats vs. dogs, Huston will forever stand on the side of cats. In one interview, she admitted that she kept three indoor cats and eight outdoor cats in her home! That’s a lot to handle!
27. Leave Em Wanting More
When Jack Nicholson and Huston ended their years-long relationship, Nicholson gave his ex a parting gift: a pearl and diamond bracelet that Frank Sinatra had once given screen siren Ava Gardner. Apparently, it was the Hollywood lothario’s way of saying goodbye. Thoughtful and touching, or creepy and patronizing? You decide.
28. Royal Drama
The set of The Royal Tenenbaums was notoriously dysfunctional, and Huston has revealed her disturbing side of the story. As she tells it, veteran actor Gene Hackman was a vicious presence on the shoot, and he often hurled insults at the young director Wes Anderson. Huston confessed that it got so bad, she and Bill Murray would have to step in to protect Anderson, with Murray even coming in on his days off to make sure nothing happened.
29. No Hard Feelings?
Huston very nearly became the director for the boxing drama Million Dollar Baby. However, producer Al Ruddy snapped up the rights to the original novel when Huston was busy with another project. As we all now know, Clint Eastwood went on to direct the film to massive Oscar success. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, right?
30. Hocus Pocus
Oddly, Huston has almost been typecast in the role of witches. Throughout her career, five of her films have involved her playing women who are powerful in the dark arts, including The Addams Family and, fittingly, The Witches.
31. Sour Grapes
Reportedly, Huston has a one-sided feud with one of the most powerful women in show business: Oprah. Ever since Huston beat out the Great O’s performance in The Color Purple and bagged an Oscar, she claims Oprah has shunned her. For one, Oprah never had her on the show—but at one Hollywood party, the feud went to the next level.
According to Huston, she was in the middle of talking to Clint Eastwood at the soiree when Oprah inserted herself between them without a word, putting her back to Huston and refusing to acknowledge her. Yeah, that’s a grudge.
32. Poetic Justice
Huston has directing chops just like her father, and has directed three feature films. The three films she has director credits on are: Bastard Out of Carolina (1996), followed by Agnes Browne (1999), and then Riding the Bus with My Sister (2005).
33. Spoiled Rotten
The actress based her portrayal of Morticia Addams in The Addams Family on actress and bombshell Jerry Hall. More specifically, Huston drew inspiration from her friend Hall’s “sweet indulgence of her children.”
34. Near Miss
In 1980, Huston’s life nearly came to a tragic, eerie end. She was driving her car in Los Angeles County when she got into an accident, smashing her face right into the windshield. Doctors had to work around the clock to reconstruct her face, but she managed to pull through and avoid the same violent fate as her mother.
The accident also pushed her to turn her previously sporadic acting career into a lifelong ambition.
35. Love Blooms
The first thing Huston saw after waking up from her accident was Jack Nicholson holding out flowers for her. Even though they had some troubling times, they seemed to also have some great ones too.
36. Good Riddance
Huston took up with American actor Ryan O’Neal in the 1970s—but they were doomed to a chilling end. As Huston later revealed, O’Neal was physically abusive during their relationship. One terrifying night, he even head-butted her because he couldn’t find her in the middle of a party. Thankfully, Huston eventually got out of the nightmare, calling him “a deeply disturbed person.”
37. Dinner for Two
Though Huston’s relationship with O’Neal was tragic and troubled, it was something of a fantasy at the beginning. In one infamous story, Huston says she and her new boy toy made out on his dining room table for six full hours.
38. A Method to Her Madness
When Huston starred as a mafia daughter in Prizzi’s Honor alongside Jack Nicholson, she devoted herself to a punishing routine. She attended a Brooklyn church in order to perfect her accent, mannerisms, and costume, but she also took it even further. She actually refused to live with Nicholson during the shoot because their art and life were starting to blend.
39. Take That!
One of Huston’s most famous roles is as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family. Believe it or not, another superstar brunette was up for the iconic part, too: the singer-turned-actress Cher. This was a bit of karma, since Cher had previously thwarted Huston’s attempt to be cast in The Witches of Eastwick.
40. No One Suffers Like the Artist
Huston went to brutal lengths to play Morticia Addams in The Addams Family. Not only did she have to wear an uncomfortable metal corset, she also underwent a daily routine of eye lifts, a neck tuck, and fake nails. As she said, “Come afternoon, I could be prone to a really good headache from my various bondages, and because I couldn’t lie down (in the corset) or rest.”
41. Friend and Foe
Anjelica’s father John had his fair share of illicit trysts—but one day, he absolutely went too far. John took up with Anjelica’s somewhat older friend, Zoe Sallis. Even worse, he informed his daughter of this important fact by simply telling her she now had a baby brother, Danny. Understandably, Huston felt utterly betrayed by both her father and her friend.
Anjelica and Danny Huston
42. Love Hurts Huston
Of Huston’s many Hollywood affairs, arguably her most famous relationship was with Jack Nicholson. The pair were together for 17 years, but it was far from happily ever after. Just like her own parents’ marriage, Nicholson and Huston had a tumultuous love life—right up until Huston made a disturbing discovery.
Nicholson had her over for dinner one night and informed her “Someone is having a baby.” Except by “someone,” he meant him, with another woman. After that delightful surprise confirmation of his infidelity, Huston called it off for good.