Diane Keaton has never quite fitted the stereotype of Tinseltown glamour. But with her unusual combination of quirkiness and elegance, she has defined a stardom all of her own. Indeed an Oscar-winning performance in the film Annie Hall transformed her into a household name and sparked an unlikely fashion craze across the United States.
It was that same idiosyncratic appeal which persuaded Woody Allen to choose her for the role of Linda when he was casting a Broadway production of Play It Again Sam. Somehow she also seemed a natural match for the director himself who has since become synonymous with urban neurosis - and the two went on to form one of Hollywood's most celebrated partnerships.
Men Of Crisis was their first big screen collaboration, and a series of hugely successful romantic comedies, including a movie version of Play It Again Sam, followed. The fact that she was four inches taller than the director seemed only to reflect the offbeat charm that made them both so popular with the cinema-going public. "She believes in God," said Woody when asked to describe his muse. "But she also believes that the radio works because there are tiny people in it."
The exposure she received from those early films helped her win more serious roles, most notably the part of Kay in Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy. And for a time she was the Queen of Hollywood.
Of course her romantic entanglements, including relationships with Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, also helped keep her in public eye. Diane never married, however. And though she still doesn't rule out the possibility of finding a husband, the actress has no intention of following the current Hollywood trend for younger men. "Not for me count me out not my bag!", she declared in a recent interview. "I don't want to be around someone who's hard as a rock and I'm this, let's just say, softer person."
These days she's a lot more interested in her relationships with her two young children. The native Californian, who was born in LA on January 5, 1946, is a late arrival to motherhood. She had already turned 50 when, in 1996, she adopted her daughter Dexter. And five years later the family of two expanded to three when the actress decided to adopt another youngster. "Having children is so much more important than everything else I have done," she affirms. "When you're a parent the entire landscape of your life is entirely obliterated by them."
Her achievements in the professional field have been remarkable, nonetheless. Apart from her obvious success as an actor, she has also published three books of photographs and won the respect of her peers for her work as a director and producer. Diane took charge behind the camera on Unstrung Heroes and Hanging Up. She also produced Gus Van Sant's Elephant, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
The actress remains modest, however, insisting she has never been a "great" performer; those who know her are more complimentary. "Everyone loves Diane Keaton," says her Something's Gotta Give co-star Jack Nicholson. "She's a true original."