September 27, 2009 by USA Post
Anjelica Huston, The daughter of director John Huston and his fourth wife, ballerina Ricki Somma, Anjelica Huston spent a privileged but troubled childhood in Ireland. Although her father didn’t really want her to be an actress, he gave her substantial roles in his films Sinful Davy and A Walk With Love and Death (both 1969). The actress did little movie work during the ’70s, choosing instead to pursue a successful, albeit short-term, career as a model before returning to films with a vengeance in the ’80s, diligently studying with famed drama coach Peggy Feury.
In 1985, Huston earned an Oscar for her performance as the vengeful girlfriend of hit man Jack Nicholson in Prizzi’s Honor, making her the first third-generation Academy winner in history. Other worthwhile roles followed in her father’s final directorial effort, The Dead (1987), and Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). She was also rewardingly directed by her half-brother Danny Huston in Mr. North (1988). Huston earned additional Oscar nominations for her outstanding dramatic work in Enemies: A Love Story (1989) and The Grifters (1990). On a lighter note, she was ideally cast as Morticia Addams in the two Addams Family movies in the early ’90s; neither was recognized by the Academy, although both earned her Golden Globe nominations. Despite her breakup with long-time companion Nicholson (she went on to marry Robert Graham in 1992), Huston still occasionally acted opposite him, most notably in Sean Penn’s The Crossing Guard (1995). Other notable roles for the actress during the late ’90s included her turn as the wicked stepmother in Ever After (1998) and a hilarious portrayal of a football-obsessed, dysfunctional mother in Buffalo ‘66.
In addition to her work on film, Huston accumulated an impressive roster of television credits during the 1980s and ’90s, including her powerful performances as frontier woman Clara Allen in the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove and the beleaguered mother of an autistic child in the two-part Family Pictures (1993). She also had a supporting role in the widely acclaimed 1993 production of And the Band Played On. In 1996, Huston made her directorial debut with B***d out of Carolina, a praised adaptation of Dorothy Allison’s novel of the same name, and followed that up with another behind-the-camera effort, Agnes Browne, in 1999. She played Gene Hackman’s estranged wife in the critically-acclaimed The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001. She appeared opposite Clint Eastwood in his police drama Blood Work. She continued to appear in a wide variety of films including an officious antagonist in Daddy Day Care. In 2004 she reteamed with Wes Anderson for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and played in the made for cable historical drama Iron Jawed Angels. In 2006 Huston took on a small role in Terry Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential, and appeared in Martha Coolidge’s Material Girls opposite Hilary and Haylie Duff. Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
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