Academy Award winning actress Diane Keaton grew up the oldest of four in a neighborhood surrounded by orange groves in Santa Ana, Calif. From a young age, Keaton was inspired to dream by her mother, who ran the household but carefully nurtured her children’s creative sides.
In an insightful interview with “AARP The Magazine,” Keaton reveals how she wanted to be a movie star from a young age and uprooted her life at age 19, moving to New York to study under the famous acting coach Sandy Meisner. While Keaton was a hard worker, she credits luck for her early breaks. After decades in show business, Keaton, now 69, acknowledges that she has become more content with herself and has a newfound appreciation for enjoying life with her two children. She also discusses her motivations for renovating at least a dozen houses in the last 25 years, all part of her search for the home.
On her search for home:
“I’ve always been looking for home. I feel like I’ve chased the concept of home with all the renovations and building I’ve done in my life, and I can’t stop. I can’t seem to stop having the dream of it.”
On her mother:
“My mother had to take care of everything that had to do with four kids in the house. She was in her 20s. Imagine! And she still had this enormous desire to express her life, to tell her story, to experience beauty – so she gave that all to us.”
On her many interests but one talent:
“I like to say that I have one talent, and that would be plenty – but I also have a lot of pursuits.”
On her change in perspective after her mother’s death:
“When I think about my life now, I try to be in the moment, cherish people I love and not be in pursuit of some abstract concept.”
On getting her breakthrough role in The Godfather:
“I don’t know how I got that part. I was, like, kooky and unusual and left of center and not always castable at that time. I would go up against Jill Clayburgh or Blythe Danner, and it just wasn’t happening for me.”
On Woody Allen as her ultimate teacher:
“He gave me everything. It was a privilege to be in those films with him. I’ve never seen anybody more disciplined. For him, work is an art form. Work really is the answer to so many problems, and it’s a form of play, too, that you take very seriously and keep trying to expand. That’s something I learned from Woody.”
On appreciating the passage of time:
“My father died when he was 67, so I’ve already lived two years longer than he did. You know you’re coming up against it. You realize that it doesn’t really matter how successful you get.”
On enjoying life taking place around her:
“In a way, this is the most interesting time. At this age, everything seems much more astonishing. Like, Oh my goodness, look at that sycamore tree! Why didn’t I see that before? There’s a magical aspect, a wonder, to being on this planet.”
The following are excerpts from the December/January issue of the “AARP The Magazine” cover story featuring Diane Keaton, available in homes today and online now at http://www.aarp.org/magazine/.