What I remember most about my first interview with Diane Keaton is that the executive that hired me was smiling as she got what she was looking for after two other interviewers had failed. I am grateful for not being told it might be tough, because it wasn’t- she was a joy!
I started the interview about her childhood, as it was one of my favorite ice breaking questions. Diane told me that she knew she wanted to perform at about the age of five and both of her parents “were very encouraging to me, always….My father in particular was really thrilled when I would be on stage.That was very rewarding when Daddy likes you,” she said as she laughed. Diane began her career on stage in the original Broadway production Hair. She gained some notoriety for her refusal to disrobe at the end of act one even if it meant not receiving the $50 bonus for appearing nude. I really don’t know how she kept her career going when she admitted that she got very nervous trying out for a role. “I was not very good at auditioning…I think you have elements of all the people you play somewhere in you, they are always lurking about,” which is what she used in the early days. Thanks to lover at the time, Woody Allen, who wrote and directed Annie Hall she never had to audition again. The Oscar she won for the role cemented her career. A little trivia, Hall is her last name and Annie her nickname. She changed her last name to her mother’s maiden name as there was already Diane Hall in the actors union. I never asked her about her famous lovers,Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, all of which are still her friends today, but they were really good to her by getting her roles in some really great films. However, she did say that if she hadn’t had a successful career, “I don’t know what my life would have been like. I can only imagine that I would have been a miserable, unhappy person, an undeveloped, ignorant woman who was driving some guy nuts because I was so emotional.” What I always asked near the end of an interview is the question “Is fame every thing you thought it would be ?” and she replied “NO, no, no. It couldn’t be what you think it is. It is ridiculous. Fame is much more interesting and complicated…but ultimately I really feel if you can survive fame and kind of have your feet on the ground, still, then you’ve done something pretty good. Because I don’t think it’s easy.” I went on to interview her a few more times and she never seem to age as her mind was quick her body oh so slender and her spirit filled with love even for the journalists like me who always wanted more.This wonderful, ageless woman will be acting forever and aren’t we lucky?!