The LA-born Diane Keaton, 77, is a legend with a career spanning over six decades and is one of Hollywood’s most renowned leading ladies.
In her nearly 60 years as an actor, Diane Keaton, a septuagenarian who has garnered countless adoring fans, has mastered a variety of skills. Off-screen, however, the Hollywood “it girl” was a “master at hiding,” dark secrets harboured by a young girl that she now acknowledges are “creepy.”
She began her career on the stage in 1968 as an understudy for a main role in the counterculture musical Hair, when she was spotted by Woody Allen, who later hired her to play his love interest in the Broadway production of Play it Again, Sam (1969).
The then 23-year-old received her first and only Tony nomination for the role of Linda Christie, which she later repeated in the 1972 film adaption of the same name. Although they collaborated on multiple films over the following two decades, her real-life relationship with Woody Allen only lasted a few years, mirroring the fleeting stage romance her character enjoyed with Allen.
The award-winning actor had a few unremarkable cameos in films, TV shows and advertisements before landing her breakout part in The Godfather. In the Oscar-winning movie with unparalleled commercial and critical success, Keaton played the girlfriend and ultimately the wife of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), which significantly increased her fame as an actor.
She returned to The Godfather Part II in 1974, playing the estranged wife of the criminal empire’s boss opposite Al Pacino, with whom she had an on-and-off romance.
“I was mad for him. Charming, hilarious, a nonstop talker,” Keaton tells People, admitting she had a crush on Pacino before they started dating. “There was an aspect of him that was like a lost orphan, like this kind of crazy idiot savant. And oh, gorgeous!”
She and Allen reunited in Annie Hall (1977), which brought her both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Warren Beatty, Keaton’s co-star and director in several successful films like Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Manhattan, and 1981’s Reds, was the subject of a passionate love affair between the two.
“The first time I saw Warren was in Splendor in the Grass (1961). I mean, come on! He was, I mean, to die for. A Dream. I mean, Bonnie and Clyde? Come on,” she said in an interview with Variety. “And not only was he beautiful, gorgeous and sexy and captivating and mysterious and a great movie star but he was also an unbelievable producer and director, or is rather, is also an unbelievable director and producer. All of this is just so unique.”
As she grew older, the Baby Boom actress expanded her body of work. She then starred alongside Steve Martin as the mother in Father of the Bride in 1991, had her first appearance with Allen in Manhattan Murder Mystery since Annie Hall, and as the divorced wife of the mafia boss in The Godfather Part III in 2000.
She received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the comedy Something’s Gotta Give in 2003. It was her first major box office success since 1996’s First Wives Club, which also starred Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn.
A consummate professional, her co-stars rave about her performances. “She’s nothing if not fascinating, and working with her, she’s very unpredictable, which I like,” said Jack Nicholson, who co-starred with Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give. “She’s very disciplined about it all. She approaches a script sort of like a play in that she has the entire script memorized before you start doing the movie, which I don’t know any other actors doing that.”
Keaton was particularly fond of Keanu Reeves, her much younger co-star, in contrast to her character in the movie who falls in love with the much older boyfriend (Nicholson) of her daughter.
Recalling her on-screen kisses with Reeves, who’s 20 years younger than her, Keaton explained, “It was pretty embarrassing, and for Keanu, too. It has to do with time of life. It’s instinctive, (while kissing him) you go, ‘Uh, probably not!’” The charming actor continued, “And Keanu was going, ‘Definitely not!’ He was trying to be polite. But he’s so beautiful, it’s stupefying. It was a guilty pleasure. A very guilty pleasure.”
Rumours of their off-screen romance have not been substantiated by either actor.
Keaton is a champion of natural ageing and is proud of her silvery mane and appearance as a woman in her late 70s. She leads with a great deal of humility.
“I tell myself I’m free to do whatever the hell I want with my body. Why not? I may be a caricature of my former self; I’m still wearing wide-belted plaid coats, horn-rimmed glasses, and turtlenecks in the summertime. So what? Nobody cares but me,” she said in an interview with the Daily Beast. “I don’t see anything wrong with face-lifts or Botox or fillers. They just erase the hidden battle scars. I intend to wear mine, sort of.”
Even though she is a well-respected actor, playwright, director, and singer in Hollywood, she is not exempt from unwarranted criticism from the general public.
After she attended the Golden Globes in 2014, a Twitter user called out Diane Keaton, writing, “Wow. Diane Keaton got fat.” Another critic recently stated, “Well Diane Keaton isn’t nice, she ugly inside and out!” without any apparent cause.
It’s important to recognise that the stunning actress, who has an outstanding slender frame, is recovering from a destructive relationship she has with food.
Appearing on the Dr. Oz Show, Keaton revealed, “It was horrible. It was, of course, the lowest point of my life…I was a fat person, I was an obese person, who had somehow tricked myself and managed to hide it. So when you’re living with a lie for four years…” Explaining her battle with bulimia, she continued, “All I did was feed my hunger, so I am an addict. It’s true. I’m an addict in recovery, I’ll always be an addict. I have an addictive nature to me.”
She was teased into taking the lead in Hair in exchange for losing 10 pounds, which set off her insecurities right away. At the conclusion of Act 1, the players who agreed to disrobe would get an additional $50 from the production. Keaton objected.
She ate a lot to cope with the stress. She then let all she had eaten out of her stomach by throwing up.
Every dinner she would have 20,000 calories in the form of “a bucket of fried chicken, several orders of fries with blue cheese and ketchup, a couple of TV dinners, a quart of soda, pounds of candy, a whole cake, and three banana cream pies.”
She visited a therapist five times per week for a year after realising she had a problem to treat her binge eating disorder.
“Now it’s (addiction) work orientated or trying to raise my children as best I can, even though they’re…not really children anymore,” said Keaton, of her adopted children.
At the 2017 American Film Awards dinner, where Keaton received a Lifetime Achievement Award, Woody Allen made fun of his multi-talented buddy by joking about the eating disorder she concealed from him while they were together.
“I didn’t know many things until I read her books,” Allen joked. “I didn’t know she was bulimic… I would be taking her to these high-end restaurants. $400 for dinner. If I knew she was throwing them up, I could have taken her to Pizza Hut.”
Even though the star-studded audience laughed, Keaton’s bulimia was a very serious issue to her.
Insisting that she didn’t lose the weight to meet the demands of the Hair producers, Keaton said she continued to keep the weight off and “became a master at hiding. Hiding any evidence–how do you make sure no one knows? You live a lifestyle that is very strange. You’re living a lie.”
She adds, “People were nice enough, but I felt like an outsider,” she says. “I had a problem–it was sick and creepy. Bulimia takes a lot of time out of your day.”
The star of rom-com royalty, who has never been married, loves being a mother. Duke Keaton, 23, and Dexter Keaton White, 27, are Keaton’s children, both of whom she adopted while she was in her fifties.
“I didn’t think that I was ever going to be prepared to be a mother. Motherhood was not an urge I couldn’t resist, (and) it was more like a thought I’d been thinking for a very long time. So I plunged in,” she said.
In addition, Keaton built her own brick mansion in the manner of a farmhouse to live in while juggling her demanding filming schedule. Keaton’s rustic-chic home was inspired by her infatuation with Pinterest and her love of the “Three Little Pigs,” and she details the design and construction process in her book, “The House that Pinterest Built.”
According to est, an architectural design magazine, Keaton’s home is a “fireproof, earth resistant, water resistant, walled-in compound,” and “built of 75,000 handpicked clay bricks.”
“The actress recalls being read the “Three Little Pigs” and at age five, knew she was going to live in a brick house ‘when she grew up,’” the magazine reports. “While there’s many of us who can relate to pouring over Pinterest, there’s not a lot who can say their entire home was assembled by a collection of its image. But then again–we’re not Diane Keaton…This unique detail is a rare feat–and certainly hard to beat.”
The attractive Diane Keaton has a diverse range of skills in her portfolio, which is always expanding, including acting, singing, writing, directing, being a mother, and designing.
She is a truly remarkable person, and we greatly value her candour in talking about her eating condition. We wish Keaton the best of luck as she continues her quest because the mirror can be our worst critic.
What movie starring Diane Keaton do you prefer?