Diane Keaton attributes part of her success to the fact that she's like everybody else.
“You need to have one of the actresses that are out there be identifiable as somebody similar to you,” Keaton said. “I'm ordinary. I have an ordinary aspect. I'm not extraordinary. I sort of feel like I'm one of every woman. I'm identifiable.”
Keaton will speak Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Civic Center Music Hall as part of the Integris Women's Health Forum. The free event is full. The health forum runs from Saturday to Sept. 22 with several events in the city.
In May, Keaton released her book “Then Again,” a memoir about her mother and herself. To write the book, she read her mother's 85 journals and used portions of those journals throughout the book. In “Then Again” she writes, “Mom continues to be the most important, influential person in my life.”
In a phone interview with The Oklahoman, Keaton talked about her upcoming trip, her mother and her career:
On her upcoming talk in Oklahoma City:
“It's really a speech about the effect of love on our lives, and how love is this extremely misused word and how hard it is to define it and the role it plays in our lives.”
On her mother's 15-year battle against Alzheimer's:
“It's a personal tragedy for everyone who has to go through that. It defines to me how you treat somebody who's ill, which is with as much independence with the least amount of judgment and just being there — just being there. I think too many people try to help too much. Especially with somebody with Alzheimer's, you just want to go along with what they're saying. ... Care and empathy are key components to somebody going through such a horrible illness, such a slow, cruel losing of their ability to judge and think for themselves.”
On caregivers for people with Alzheimer's:
“To be a good caregiver is a huge, enormous gift. It's a grace. It's like an art. I think that caregivers really don't get enough attention, particularly people who really are hands-on day to day. Doctors come in, and they have all this knowledge, and they help as best they can, but really the heart of it is the people who are there all the time — the nurses and the family — people like that.”
Advice for young people starting their careers:
“I mean, how do you lead a successful career? You think I know? I don't know. For me, it was just a question of — I followed certain paths. Part of it is, I got lucky — but I got lucky, and I was prepared when I got the luck. I was ready to take it on, because I did a lot of acting, and I went to acting school, and I was interested in performing all my life, and I got a lot of encouragement from my parents. I just knew what I wanted to do — that doesn't mean you always get what you want — and then I got lucky because people would cast me. And then I got to know interesting people, and then you get to do more, the more you do. So I do think preparation is an extremely important factor in luck. You can get lucky, but if you aren't prepared for the opportunities that you get, you can fall to the wayside.”
On how she thinks about Alzheimer's, aging and illness:
“Every single day I think about anything that relates to some sort of illness, death. I mean, when you get older, that is what you're facing — the reality is the fact that it will end. How will it end? Will I be like my mother? There is a chance, of course. Will I get cancer like my dad who had a brain tumor? Or will I get killed by walking across the street because I'm not paying enough attention? Or will I die in a plane crash because I hate to fly and I'm scared to go to Oklahoma City but I'm doing it? These things as you get older become much more a part of your life. ... But once you get going in a day, you don't belabor it. You've got to live in the moment. That's the whole point. We've got to live now — this is the moment I'm having. I'm having this moment with you on the telephone, and I'm alive in that moment. I'm grateful for that, and I'm not thinking about morbid things that are probably up and coming ahead of me. I can't live forever.”