Diane Keaton is a powerful force in Hollywood. In a revealing interview with AARP The Magazine, Keaton discusses how she wanted to be a movie star in her youth and uprooted her life at age 19, moving to New York to study under the famous acting coach Sandy Meisner. 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.
Growing up as the oldest of four in Santa Ana, California, Keaton was inspired to dream by her mother, Dorothy Deanne Keaton Hall. “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.”
One way Keaton expresses herself is in her home renovations, a consistent passion for the past 25 years. She has renovated at least a dozen houses so far, including a Lloyd Wright (son of Frank) in Los Angeles, a Spanish Colonial revival in Beverly Hills and an urban farmhouse in Laguna Beach. “I’ve always been looking for home,” explains Keaton. “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.”
Keaton also talks about motherhood, a task she admits she took on “at a very, very late age,” when she decided to adopt Dexter in 1995 and Duke in 2001. Her goal for them is as complex and simple as it sounds: “Let them be happy.” She notes that her kids haven’t seemed to mind being L.A. gypsies. “They stayed in the same schools,” Keaton says, emphasizing that her home-hopping has been done with careful attention to maintaining ties to people and the past.
For the legend’s staying power, Keaton credits director-producer-writer Nancy Meyers, who directed Keaton in four films, beginning with 1987’s Baby Boom. “I remember at 50 worrying, God, will I ever be in a movie again? I’m almost 70, and you’ve got to be in a hit to stay around. People like Nancy are the reason I’m still here.”
Nonetheless, work has become less important as she has ratcheted up her lifelong quest for happiness. “My father died when he was 67,” she says, “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.”
At almost 70 years old the Oscar winner is still enjoying life to the fullest. As she tells the magazine, “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.”
For more pick up 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/