Diane Keaton opens up about brother's mental illness: 'He was so hidden'

The Oscar-winning actress's new memoir, "Brother & Sister," details her relationship with her troubled younger brother, Randy.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

Diane Keaton is opening up about her complex relationship with her brother.

The Oscar-winning actress has written a new memoir, "Brother & Sister," about her relationship with her younger brother, John Randolph Hall, or Randy, who was diagnosed with various conditions over the years, including bipolar disorder and schizoid personality disorder, though no diagnosis has ever been definitive.

Diane Keaton has written a new memoir, "Brother & Sister," that details the relationship between her and her younger brother, Randy, who suffers with mental illness.Rodin Eckenroth / WireImage

During a new interview with People magazine to promote the book, Keaton, 74, explained that since he was a child, Hall, 71, has lived a life "on the other side of normal."

“Over the years people did a lot of measuring of Randy’s mental status, and it all came to naught,” said Keaton. “He was so hidden. I wanted to explore the mystery of him.”

Keaton said she wrote the memoir about her brother in order "to explore the mystery of him.”

Hall now suffers from dementia and resides in a care facility, where the "First Wives Club" star visits him every Sunday.

When they were children, the pair — who also have a younger sister, Dorrie Hall, 66 — were close, although Keaton noticed her brother struggled with fears she couldn't understand.

“I wondered why he was always crying,” the actress shared. “Why was he afraid of the outdoors? That’s weird!”

Though he was a talented poet and artist, Hall grew reclusive and drank heavily. He was also plagued by violent fantasies about women, though he never acted on them.

“There was no indication he would, in anything he’d ever done. He didn’t have that bone in his body,” Keaton said. “He wrote about them and did collages instead.”

Keaton's parents, Jack and Dorothy Hall, were concerned about their son's behavior, but never sought professional help for him. Mental health simply wasn't discussed at the time, said the actress.

As her career skyrocketed in the 1970s, Keaton had less time for her brother, which she now regrets. The actress, who won an Oscar in 1978 for playing the title character in the comedy "Annie Hall," said her fame contributed to Hall's woes.

“I think it’s hard for anyone who has a sibling who’s out there, throwing themselves into the world and getting recognition,” said Keaton. “I wouldn’t be happy to have a sister like that. Nobody wants to be compared.”

"Brother & Sister" hits bookshelves on Feb. 4.