Allegra Huston or ‘Legs’ as her sister Anjelica calls her was at Hay to discuss her autobiographical memoir ‘Love Child’ published last year. Huston was born in London and her mother the American ballerina Enrica Soma was married to John Huston who she Allegra believed to be her father. In fact her biological father was the aristocratic historian John Julius Norwich. What made this session all the more extraordinary was the fact that Norwich was in the audience.
Allegra’s mother died when she was four and her childhood was one lived out of a suitcase. There was the time spent with ‘Dad’ in the “Little House” on the Huston estate in Ireland, and stays with family in Long Island and Mexico.
There were tales of the time spent living with Ryan O’Neal’s, her sister’s boyfriend, and his family. He is the only character in this story for whom Allegra has complete contempt “Ryan O’Neal is frankly an asshole”. Eventually at the age of twelve, she was told of, and introduced to her real father. “I was very lucky in my two fathers …open-hearted generous spirited men” Allegra told the audience at Hay.
Although to her it is not a story about the Hollywood A-list, it is an insight into that world and its insecurities. Perhaps the most poignant moment of all was when Allegra told us that the monogrammed suitcase out of which she lived her young life was also not entirely hers, the A.H. had been put there for her older sister ‘Anjel’.