Anjelica Huston life and biography

Anjelica Huston picture, image, poster

Anjelica Huston biography

Date of birth : 1951-07-08
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-06-21
Credited as : Actress, The Addams Family,

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Anjelica Huston is an American actress. Huston became the third generation of her family to win an Academy Award, for her performance in 1985's Prizzi's Honor, joining her father, director John Huston, and grandfather, actor Walter Huston. She later was nominated in 1989 and 1990 for her acting in Enemies, a Love Story and The Grifters respectively. Among her roles, she starred as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993), receiving Golden Globe nominations for both. More recently, she is known for her frequent collaborations with director Wes Anderson.

Huston re-launched her screen career with a small part in "The Last Tycoon" (1976), directed by Elia Kazan, and also appeared as a lion tamer involved with Nicholson in Bob Rafelson's remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1981) but was finding it increasingly hard to land auditions when her friendship with Penny Marshall led to guest appearances on ABC's "Laverne and Shirley" in 1982 and 1983. A role as a swaggering, tough-talking Amazon in the harmless space romp "The Ice Pirates" (1984) allowed her to have fun and gain confidence before "Prizzi's Honor" (1985) teamed her with her two biggest influences. Bringing an intense sexual voltage and blissfully coarse tenderness to her role as Maerose Prizzi, she stole the spotlight from the film's stars Nicholson and Kathleen Turner. Her electrifying performance as the vengeful mob daughter brought her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar to go with those earned by her father and grandfather Walter for "The Treasure of Sierra Madre" (1948).

After playing a witch opposite Michael Jackson in Francis Ford Coppola's 3-D fantasy short "Captain Eo" (1986), Huston tackled her first leading role in Coppola's disappointing "Gardens of Stone" (1987), portraying an independent, politically-aware Washington Post reporter who falls in love with a career Army sergeant (James Caan) whose beliefs about the Vietnam War-and the world-are dramatically opposed to her own. "Prizzi's Honor" had brought father and daughter closer together, and building on that, she starred as a romantic Irish wife trapped in a loveless marriage for his final directing effort, "The Dead" (also 1987), a moving coda (scripted by brother Tony) to a distinguished career, drawing critical raves and a limited box office. John Huston's emphysema had required him to wear an oxygen mask on that film's set, and his frailness prevented him from acting in the next family affair, half-brother Danny's directing debut "Mr. North" (1988). Co-scripted and produced by the elder Huston, it traded on her aura of sophisticated authority for her role as a mysterious, wealthy widow.

Over the next few years, Huston became established as a terrific character actress, putting glamour on hold to honestly explore a series of visceral parts. She delivered an appropriately shrill turn as Martin Landau's desperate, neglected mistress in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989) and earned another Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as a delightfully cynical Holocaust survivor whose return complicates the life of her re-married husband (Ron Silver) in Paul Mazursky's "Enemies: A Love Story" (both 1989). Huston offered a tour de force and earned a Best Actress nod as a hardened con-artist vying with another con for the love of her estranged son (John Cusack) in "The Grifters" (1990). Earlier the same year, she returned to the ranks of witches with a superbly over-the-top performance that complemented the wizardry of Jim Henson's creature shop in Nicholas R g's "The Witches", adapted from the book by Roald Dahl.

Huston moved into lighter territory as the elegantly ghoulish Morticia Addams in "The Addams Family" (1991) and "Addams Family Values" and helped inflame Diane Keaton's Nancy Drew streak in a more comic second venture with Allen, "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (both 1993). That year also saw her in a small role in HBO's acclaimed AIDS chronicle, "And the Band Played On", as well as playing the mother of an autistic son in the ABC movie "Family Pictures". Sean Penn's "The Crossing Guard" (1995) offered a chance for redemption in its pairing of Huston with ex-beau Nicholson as a divorced couple coping with the hit and run death of their daughter, and she brought some of her same conflicting passion from "Prizzi's Honor" to her role as a Cuban wife separated from her husband (Alfred Molina) for 20 years in "The Perez Family" (both 1995). The CBS miniseries "Buffalo Girls" (also 1995) transported her back to the West as envisioned by novelist Larry McMurtry. Having garnered her first Emmy nomination for the 1989 CBS miniseries "Lonesome Dove", based on McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, she earned another for her starring turn as Buffalo Gal Calamity Jane.

Following in the family tradition, Huston stepped behind the cameras to direct the film adaptation of "Bastard Out of Carolina" (1996), originally shot as a made-for-TV movie for Ted Turner's TNT network. Although the picture revealed her almost maternalistic talent for coaxing performances from children, Turner refused to air it, deeming its harsh subject matter-rape and child abuse-inappropriate for advertiser-supported TV. When he did allow Huston to shop the film around for another distributor, several other basic cable channels, including Lifetime and USA, passed on it, echoing his concerns. After its debut at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival elicited a mixture of shock and admiration, Showtime, who had ironically developed the project prior to TNT's involvement, reacquired it and hyped it saying, "See the movie no other network would show you." Huston was back in front of the camera for three 1998 movies, playing Vincent Gallo's Buffalo Bills-obsessed mother in Gallo's "Buffalo 66", the evil stepmother in Andy Tennant's "Ever After" take on the Cinderella story and the love interest of Ray Liotta in the mediocre crime pic "Ph nix" (HBO).

Huston returned to the director's chair for "Agnes Browne" (1999), an old-fashioned melodrama about a young Dublin widow struggling to support her large family in 1967, which again showcased her remarkable facility for working with children. She also upped the ante this time, starring in the picture as well, reveling in the kind of role an actress of her generation finds so seldom in feature films. Co-adapted by Brendan O'Carroll from his best-selling Irish novel "The Mammy", the picture provided a perfect showcase for an accent born of the actress' Irish upbringing, while the realization of Agnes' simple dream to buy a ticket to an upcoming Tom Jones concert unfolded like a warm-hearted, whimsical fable. Huston's best moments opposite Marion O'Dwyer as her best friend were full of affection and unexpressed emotions, and her feisty, likable performance made up for the over-sentimentality of the story. She then satisfied her taste for literate scripts by appearing in her first Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala production, "The Golden Bowl" (2000). In 2001, further praise came for her supporting role in the much-admired indie "The Man From Elysian Fields" and Huston gave a memorable performance in her role as the mother of an eccentric family in director Wes Anderson's critically acclaimed "Royal Tenenbaums,' and she was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 for her role as Viviene the Lady of the Lake in TNT's "The Mists of Avalon." Lesser roles in the crime drama "Blood Work" (2002) and the hit comedy "Daddy Day Care" (2003), Huston was again seen at the top of her game with another Emmy-nominated turn in HBO suffragette telepic "Iron Jawed Angels" (2004) as Carrie Chapman Catt. She rejoined Anderson for the less successful "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004) in an alternately brittle and warm turn as Bill Murray's estranged wife. In 2005, Huston won a Golden Globe Award-her first-for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her performance in "Iron Jawed Angels."

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