Hollywood remembers John Huston


HOLLYWOOD -- Legendary director John Huston was hailed at a memorial service Saturday as 'irreplaceable,' a filmmaker who 'painted with his camera' and lived dangerously.

'It was a privilege to know him and share his magic,' said actress Lauren Bacall, star of Huston's 'Key Largo.'


Bacall joined actors Jack Nicholson, Robert Mitchum, Harry Dean Stanton, Huston's daughter, actress Anjelica Huston, and 500 other friends and colleagues to remember Huston at the Directors Guild of America Theater.

Huston died Aug. 28 at the age of 81, after years of battling emphysema that did not stop him from working on such films as 'Prizzi's Honor,' which won Anjelica Huston an Academy Award.

'There will surely never be another like him,' Bacall said, repeating the words that Huston said when he eulogized his friend and Bacall's husband, Humphrey Bogart, three decades ago.

Huston's friend and agent for 60 years, Paul Kohner, also quoted Huston's eulogy for Bogart: 'We don't have to feel sorry for him, only for ourselves for having lost him ... He was quite irreplaceable.'


Gottfried Reinhardt, who produced Huston's 'The Red Badge of Courage,' said, 'He was one of the classic painters in (the motion picture) field. He painted with his camera.'

Laughter rang out repeatedly as Bacall, Mitchum and other friends imitated the director's gravelly baritone voice and recalled his international exploits and legendary sense of humor.

Reinhardt called the white-bearded Huston a 'marvelous raconteur ... He was one of the luckiest men that ever lived. He also had the talent to live dangerously.'

Bacall, laughing as she recalled Huston's nonplussed reaction to the news that the boat used in 'The African Queen' had sunk one night during filming, praised 'the wit of him, the elegance, grandeur, the grace of him ... the size of the man. He was about something.'

Huston won two Academy Awards for his direction and screenplay for 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre.' His first feature film, 'The Maltese Falcon,' became a filmmaking classic.

Huston was a combination of 'puck and king,' said Ray Stark, who produced 'Night of the Iguana,' 'Fat City' and 'Annie.'

Harry Dean Stanton, one of Huston's poker partners after they met while filming 'Wise Blood,' sang a rousing rendition of 'El Revolucionario,' a Mexican song the Huston family used to sing.


In a rambling, emotional discourse, Nicholson recalled Huston telling him, 'Making a film can be art, tending a garden can be art. It's the way that you do it.'

Nicholson, who played a hit man in 'Prizzi's Honor,' recalled Huston's dislike of 'drunken women, writing that tried too hard for effect, people with too much propriety.'

A tearful Anjelica Huston told the crowd, 'Contrary to some reports, my father didn't die in his sleep.'

She said her father, a veteran of the Mexican cavalry and a U.S. Army documentary filmmaker during World War II, on his deathbed facetiously asked his longtime companion, Maricela Hernandez, how many rifles and how much ammunition they had left.

Anjelica Huston, who was not present when her father died, said Hernandez reassured her father, 'We've got plenty of ammo.'

Then, during her father's last moments, Anjelica Huston said, 'He took her hand in his and put it up like a prizefighter and said, 'Then give 'em hell, honey.''

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