The Curious Mind and Singular Success of Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton is perplexed by my query. Not many aspiring actresses grow to be Hollywood main girls, and never many main girls have careers that span greater than 50 years, that garner 4 Oscar nominations (together with one win) or that hyperlink them to a few of the most iconic administrators and costars in cinema historical past. However after I ask Keaton for the key to her success and longevity within the enterprise, she appears stumped. Does she perceive why administrators and audiences have been so taken together with her all this time?

An extended silence. Then, “I perceive my nice success. That’s what I perceive,” says Keaton, 77, by cellphone from her residence in Los Angeles. “There was a facet to me that was, I believe, a bit extra, I don’t know …” She hunts for phrases to elucidate the tragicomic, off-kilter enchantment of a lot of her work. “I wasn’t what you’d name ‘an actual actress.’ I used to be extra, effectively, not fairly there. It simply wasn’t me. Shoot, the entire thing is so unusual to even assume again on.”

That “entire factor” consists of roles as Kay Corleone within the Godfather movies; because the endearing, self-deprecating heroine of Annie Corridor; as a journalist in Reds; and as a hard-charging single mother in Child Growth. Keaton’s pantheon of main males has featured Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Sam Shepard, Richard Gere — let’s hold going — even Steve Martin and Keanu Reeves. Keaton additionally performs effectively with ladies, like Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn, her costars within the shock 1996 smash hit The First Wives Membership.

Diane Keaton looking sharp in white hat and turtleneck, black blazer, and white dress slacks


And she or he continues to be in demand. In director Invoice Holderman’s E book Membership: The Subsequent Chapter, Keaton and costars Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen reprise their roles from the 2018 movie to cavort by way of Italy, flirting with locals and draining bottles of prosecco.

Keaton has now added a brand new line to her résumé: Instagram star. Her account has been referred to as “a nationwide treasure” by the digerati at Mashable, “a healthful hub of never-before-seen throwbacks, hilarious jokes, nods to spectacular artwork and structure, considerate birthday needs to fellow celebs, and high quality Crush Content material.”

And we’ve found one thing. By speaking to Keaton about her very public Instagram account — she has some 2.3 million followers — we acquired a greater understanding of what’s behind the quirky attract that has fostered one in every of Hollywood’s best careers, an attract Keaton herself can’t fairly clarify.

Keaton in her home office under a large picture that says 1948


The oldest of 4 youngsters, Keaton spent her earliest years within the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park, the place her household lived in a corrugated steel Quonset hut. As soon as, seeing an identical constructing on the outskirts of Tucson, Keaton posted a photograph to Instagram and wrote, “It made me miss my mother and pop.” Her father was John Corridor, a civil engineer and actual property dealer, and her mom, the previous Dorothy Keaton, was a homemaker. (Keaton makes use of her mom’s maiden title as a result of there was already an actress named Diane Corridor.)

Dorothy, who was an newbie photographer, collagist, potter and diarist, yearned for recognition — a craving that impressed Keaton’s personal skilled aspirations.

“After I was a younger lady, about 6, I watched my mom get topped Mrs. Highland Park,” Keaton recollects. “I keep in mind going, ‘Oh my God, I would like that too. I need to go up there on the stage the place it’s all lit up.’ ” Dorothy went on to win the Mrs. Los Angeles title, however a household transfer to Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles, curtailed her broader ambitions. “That was the top of it,” Keaton recollects. “Life adjustments.”

That Dorothy couldn’t notice her desires fueled her daughter’s drive. “I noticed what my mom went by way of,” she says. At 19, Keaton moved to New York to check performing. “I wished to be well-known,” she told AARP in 2015. “I wished to be a film star.”

It didn’t take lengthy.

Diane Keaton in black and white outfit including her signature hat


Keaton labored with famed performing coach Sandy Meisner earlier than making her Broadway debut within the unique forged of Hair — by which she notably refused to disrobe — in 1968. She subsequent teamed up with Woody Allen on the stage and movie variations of Play It Once more, Sam. Then, lengthy earlier than Allen’s movie got here out, Keaton auditioned for The Godfather.

The Mario Puzo novel had spent 67 weeks on the New York Occasions bestseller listing following its publication in 1969, however one way or the other Keaton had missed it. “I didn’t even know what The Godfather was,” she recollects. “Somebody mentioned to me, ‘You’ve acquired to go and audition for issues,’ so I auditioned for the movie, and I acquired the position of Kay Corleone,” spouse of a mafia scion. In an Instagram video marking the fiftieth anniversary of the movie final yr, Keaton narrated clips from her audition with costar Al Pacino, sounding incredulous that she, a comic book actress, had been forged within the dramatic position: “That was the strangest factor to ever occur to me in my entire life.”

Within the spring of 1972, Play It Once more, Sam and The Godfather have been launched six weeks aside. “After that, issues have been completely different,” Keaton admits. She was on her method.

Her Oscar for Annie Corridor adopted six years later, when her affinity for oversize menswear and floppy hats sparked a development. That movie was adopted by many years of comedies and some dramatic roles, together with Reds and Marvin’s Room, each of which earned her finest actress Oscar nods. (Her fourth nomination was for writer-director Nancy Meyers’ One thing’s Gotta Give.)

Final August, Keaton caught her palms in moist cement as a part of a ceremony to put her handprints and footprints on the TCL Chinese language Theatre. Choking up throughout her speech, she devoted the second to her mother and father.

On Valentine’s Day this yr, Keaton posted a montage of a few of her steamiest make-out scenes, devoted to “all the boys who have been paid to kiss me.” (Responded Meyers: “Hilarious however as somebody who was round for a number of of these — these guys all the time wished another take.”)

The actress has had a number of high-profile romances in her life, together with with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, however she has by no means married. At present, she declares, she is comfortable on the shelf.

“I don’t date,” she says. “Extremely unlikely. I don’t keep in mind anybody calling me, going, ‘That is So-and-So. I’d wish to take you out.’ They don’t occur. After all not.”

Diane Keaton at home with her golden retriever dog


However Keaton didn’t permit the shortage of a accomplice to maintain her from having a household. At age 50, she adopted daughter Dexter, now 27. Son Duke, 22, arrived 5 years later. “They’re nice,” she says merely. “They’re doing good.” Over the previous few years, although, as her nest has emptied — Dexter acquired married and Duke acquired his personal place — Keaton’s golden retriever, Reggie, has grow to be her day-to-day companion.

“A buddy of mine gave her to me,” says Keaton. “I didn’t even ask for her. He got here to me and mentioned, ‘I believe you want this canine.’ I used to be like, ‘OK, I suppose?’ After all, now I simply love her. Canines are irresistible. They’re simply idiots. Reggie is a giant jerk, and she or he’s an incredible jerk, and she or he’s hilarious.”

On Instagram, Reggie might be seen greedily soaking in Keaton’s consideration whereas the actress, wanting into the canine’s eyes, croons “How Deep Is the Ocean?” Keaton captioned the publish, “Don’t neglect to sing to your canines!”

Considered one of Keaton’s most important inanimate passions is pictures. Her time in Italy throughout final yr’s shoot for the E book Membership sequel “was among the finest experiences ever for me on a film,” she says. “My complete journey was actually about all the issues I noticed and took footage of. You stroll across the streets and don’t know what you’re going to come back throughout — that’s how wealthy it’s.” On Instagram, Keaton posted a montage of door and window pictures she’d snapped in Italy, calling doorways “my new obsession.” Her buddy Allison Kaye, a supervisor, commented: “Obsessive about you.” Replied Keaton: “❤️❤️❤️”

a few pairs of Keaton's boots in front of a framed photograph by Ruven Afanador

Diane Keaton’s boots in entrance of a framed {photograph} by Ruven Afanador.

The actress has printed three memoirs in all: Then Once more, a remembrance of her mom, in 2011; Let’s Simply Say It Wasn’t Fairly, on the tradition of magnificence and Keaton’s iconic fashion, in 2014; and the intimate and heartbreaking Brother & Sister, the story of her brother, Randy, and his battle with psychological sickness and alcoholism, in 2020.

“He handed comparatively just lately — it’s been a few years,” Keaton says, with a catch in her voice. A poet and artist, Randy “had a tough time with the world at giant and simply in life,” she says. “He was so delicate in some methods, so delicate. He was an actual artist at coronary heart.”

After Randy’s demise, Keaton shared a few of his collages together with her followers in an Instagram video. “I like this one,” she says of a daring, summary work in tones of pink, cream and blue. “What’s it about? I’ll by no means know. I’ll by no means perceive.”

Diane Keaton photographed by AARP at home in Los Angeles on February 10, 2023
Diane Keaton photographed by AARP at residence in Los Angeles.

Keaton has a small workforce that helps her put collectively her Instagram movies and posts. “I want the assistance, and I cherish it,” she says. “It’s like making little motion pictures, in a method. It’s collaborative.”

Not too way back, she posted a video that one in every of her helpers had shot of Keaton doing a goofy dance open air to the Miley Cyrus tune “Flowers.” “Your unimaginable tune gave me a purpose to bounce in my very own yard!” Keaton wrote, tagging Cyrus. The publish obtained practically 1 million likes, together with from admirers Lindsay Lohan, Ellen Pompeo, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington and Roma Downey.

“It was simply a kind of days after I thought, I’m going to do one thing silly,” she says of the viral publish. “The music was on, I used to be open air and thought, What the heck. It occurred out of nothing.”

Possibly that’s the reply to my earlier query: What’s Diane Keaton’s eccentric enchantment, the explanation she has stayed for therefore a few years on People’ screens and of their hearts? It might simply be that she lives life on her personal idiosyncratic phrases — and encourages the remainder of us to strive it too.

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