It's barely 10:00 in the morning on a sparkling day in Beverly Hills, and Diane Keaton has practically run a decathlon already. Before dawn she was energetically typing at her computer, fine-tuning the afterword for Then Again, her endearingly unguarded best-selling memoir about herself and about her mother's 15-year struggle with Alzheimer's. At 6:15 she woke her 16-year-old daughter, Dexter, one of two children Keaton adopted in infancy, and shuttled her to the bus stop. "You really should get extra points for rallying a teenager at that hour," Keaton says, laughing. She swung home and got her son, Duke, 11, to school before 8:00. "Then I did a half-hour run with the dog, answered e-mails, looked at designs for the house I'm building, and — well, hey, can you believe it? — here I am!"
Slideshow: Through the years with Diane Keaton
And, la-di-da, despite the morning frenzy, Keaton looks as striking and original as she did in Annie Hall, showing off her pouffy black miniskirt over leopard-print leggings and shiny black pumps, flashing her nails — "Don't you love these?" she says — which shine from plaid appliqués rather than polish. Famous for her turtlenecks ( like the one Jack Nicholson seductively scissored off her in the 2003 comedy Something's Gotta Give), Keaton, who turned 66 in January, today has chosen a black version with extra-long sleeves that sling around her thumbs. "At my age," she says with that infectious smile, "I try to hide anything I can."
The truth is, Diane Keaton is a woman willing to reveal herself, as she demonstrates in a candid interview. She's had a lifetime of unimaginable success (she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar during four consecutive decades) and remarkable romances (Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, Al Pacino), and is frank about, well, you name it: single parenthood, dating, aging, mortality, and whatever else keeps her up at night.
"I worry all the time about everything, actually," says Keaton, sounding a lot like the lovably neurotic characters she plays. "I don't know how you can't worry when you're my age." She frets about what she calls the "memory sicknesses" — Alzheimer's and brain cancer — that ravaged her mother and father, respectively. She admits she has misgivings about being single even after all these years of being unattached. "As a parent I provide all I can," she says, "but I think in the best possible scenario you need to have a man." And she acknowledges how challenging it is to juggle a still-busy career with a teen and a preteen at an age most women are feathering their empty nests with IKEA guest beds.
Not that Keaton would want it any other way.
"At this point in life, everything's throwing me punches from left and right, but it's certainly been an amazing adventure," she says over coffee at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, a locale that holds a special fondness for her. Years ago Keaton used to meet Warren Beatty in his bachelor pad on the top floor of the hotel, a thought that gives her a laugh now. "It's all unbelievable. Every little bit of it. I look back on experiences like that and think, 'Did I really do that?' It's a big collage. A piece here, a piece there. That's my life."