Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 12:42 UK

Turner passion for ties that bind

Kathleen Turner talking at the Hay Festival
Turner lived in London as a teenager where she found her love of acting

Actress Kathleen Turner has spoken movingly at the Hay Festival about her respect for her late diplomat father.

His work meant she was a teenager in London, where she gained her love of acting, but she long feared their cross words contributed to his heart attack.

But she had later accepted her mother's advice he had in fact been laughing.

She also told how she had hitched a lift into the Powys town with a member of the laughing audience - who failed to recognise her.

Turner, who was at the literary festival to promote her memoirs, Send Yourself Roses, told how to follow her acting dream, she went to Stratford, against the wishes of her father, who died when she was 17.

For years she said she was "sure he had died angry with me".

She read a passage from her book relating how while walking a mountain path shaped at one point into a labyrinth her thoughts turned to her father.

Here it's respected as a career, unlike in the US where they think acting is accidental... you should try it!"
Kathleen Turner, on how acting is viewed on either side of the Atlantic

She told how, through tears, she had remembered her mother's words that her father had been joking about the episode and had been looking forward to the teenage Turner's return so they could work in the garden.

She explained how she had increasingly come to see her father's influence in her "passion" for promoting pro-choice women's health clinics in America and human rights.

She was more able to "appreciate the ties that bind," she said, adding: "I feel very strongly about the things that he felt strongly about".

As a diplomat, his values were public service and the notion that, as Americans abroad, every member of the family was an ambassador for their country, she said.

Love scenes

She said she believed had he lived to see her career, he would be proud of her. She said: "He would be proud of my rebelliousness."

Despite this, her family's sense of duty required her to obtain a fine arts degree before she felt she could pursue her acting ambitions.

When she was awarded her degree, she told the Hay audience how she had said: 'Please send that to my mother. And tell her I'm off to New York'.

On acting she said: "Here it's respected as a career, unlike in the US where they think acting is accidental... you should try it!"

Kathleen Turner is interviewed by Paul Blezard
Turner talked about acting, her father and Hollywood, but not Nicolas Cage

Her big screen break came with her sexy performance in Body Heat in 1981, but her star credentials were cemented with more comedic parts, particularly Romancing the Stone opposite Michael Douglas in 1984.

But she said she always found it hard to play the vamp, confessing to crying in her dressing room on occasions at the emotional toll she felt love-scenes sometimes imposed on her.

On the subject of love, Turner said she was "very much single" after divorcing her husband of 22 years, New York City real estate entrepreneur Jay Weiss.

She said the pair were still good friends, talking often on the phone and meeting for lunch.

Turner refused to talk about her recent spat with fellow movie star Nicolas Cage which ended with him winning a libel action against her about comments in her memoirs.

"I'm not talking about it - sorry. Next!" she said when asked about it in the question-and-answer session, raising a laugh from the audience.


She told festival-goers how she felt her generation of women had an energy and a "wave of creativity" which she wanted to "share and encourage".

She gave an example of how this attitude had led to her to hitching a lift from her festival-arranged digs into the Powys town.

It was the first time she had hitchhiked in her life and was because she wanted something for breakfast for herself and daughter Rachel.

To a laughing audience, she explained how she flagged down a passing motorist, Martin, who was in the audience.

"It was eight o'clock in the morning, without any make-up on. I said 'I'm the American actress Kathleen Turner' and he said: 'You're not!'"

She said the driver added: "I didn't recognise you, but I thought I'd stop because I thought you were someone important."

Her father would have been pleased.

Turner apologises for Cage libel
04 Apr 08 |  Entertainment
Cage sues Turner over book claims
12 Feb 08 |  Entertainment

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