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Anjelica Huston opens up about her early life in 'A Story Lately Told'

Anjelica Huston at Airbnb's Hello LA Event at Cook's Garden by HGEL on September 27, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
Anjelica Huston at Airbnb's Hello LA Event at Cook's Garden by HGEL on September 27, 2013 in Hollywood, California.
Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Airbnb

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Anjelica Huston is Hollywood royalty.

Her father was the legendary Academy-Award winning director John Huston, her grandfather was actor Walter Huston, and it was her father that directed both Walter and Anjelica to Oscar wins in different films, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "Prizzi's Honor."

In the first part of her new two-part memoir, "A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York," Huston says growing up with this pedigree can be a blessing and a curse.

Interview Highlights:

On her childhood in Ireland:
"It was the most beautiful place to grow up. Wonderful scenery, wild green fields full of horses. I think a children's paradise. For me, certainly, looking back on that time it is rather dreamlike, but as you say even with a book like The Remains of the Day they are also undercurrents of other things." 

On her early childhood relationship with her father:
"My early upbringing was wonderful. He moved my mother, my brother and I to Ireland when I was about 2-years-old. We grew up surrounded by the local gentry. We rode ponies, we fox hunted, we took long trips into the country, picnics, we went to deserted castles. Dad was an adventurer and he loved new places. I think the whole atmosphere of Ireland appealed to him enormously."

On how the relationship evolved:
"Well, I think as with most fathers and daughters there's a moment around adolescence when they disapprove and we rebel or at least that was my instinct. I was very fond of makeup and of course it was the 60s so I was very influenced by Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy and all those pretty girls in the fashion magazines, which I don't think was all that welcomed by my father." 

On what it was like to move to London from Ireland:
  "I was a schoolgirl in London initially when my mother took there. My parents separated when I was about 10- or 11-years-old. I was put into the Lycée Français and my brother went to Westminster School. It wasn't really a question of who I was when I went to the Lycée, it was a question of not speaking good enough French and being sort of put in the back of the class. I had a hard time when I was first in London because I had just come from Ireland and I think, to all intents and purposes, I was considered backwards.

"But I soon learned to overcome those problems when I finally wound up at a school called Holland Park. I came into my own as a teenager, really, and I started to enjoy everything that London had to offer. But in those days we didn't use our cachet, those of us who had famous attachments, it was considered sort of low grade to use your name or to ride on anyone's coattails, and I always was very conscious of that." 

On how her father's profile in Hollywood influenced her:
"My father was my father and I was very aware of what he did and the fact that important actors worked for him and he had a life that was very much apart from our domestic life in Ireland so he was away for long periods of time. Yes, things came easily to me because of who I was and because obviously I was my father's daughter. He put me in a film when I was 16 years old, that doesn't happen to everybody.

On being directed by her father in "A Walk with Love and Death"
"It was very difficult for me. First of all, a school search had gone out to find Juliet for "Romeo and Juliet," which was about to be directed by Franco Zeffirelli and I had been called back a couple of times to meet with the producers and was going to meet Franco Zeffirelli, and was pretty excited about that, when my father announced I was going to be working for him. So, it was a time when my father was particularly critical of me and I was rather into avoidance so I would have preferred to have done Franco Zeffirelli movie, but instead I found myself in Austria being directed by my father in a piece that I wasn't that struck by in the first place. I didn't know that I would be very good in it and as it turns out, I wasn't." 

On the difference between today's Hollywood spotlight and her childhood
"Well, I think my father was very correct in taking us out of the limelight. I think a lot of children of celebrities get immeasurable amounts of attention for doing absolutely nothing and I'm glad I allowed to be a child and I'm glad that I wasn't concerned with a lot of the things that kids in Hollywood seem to be brought up with. There's a sort of superficiality to it. I think it was important to my parents to make sure we had a childhood. That we were sort of unfettered by those rather questionable standards that come up in the lives of children who are raised here in Hollywood."