TALK SHOW WITH HARPER SIMON | EPISODE 9
Actress and Former Teen Idol Ione Skye on Her Lasting Career and Writing Children’s Book
Ione Skye Lee born Ione Skye Leitch, September 4, 1970) is a British-American actress, painter and writer. Skye was brought up in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Connecticut. Skye made her film debut in River’s Edge in 1986, and played the title character in The Rachel Papers (1989). She played Diane Court in the 1989 film Say Anything…For a few years in the 1980s, Skye had a relationship with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis. Kiedis’s 2004 book Scar Tissue contains a nude photo of the couple. Skye’s first husband, Adam Horovitz, is a member of the Beastie Boys. The couple married in 1992, separated in 1995, and divorced in 1999. Skye had a relationship with furniture designer David Netto and they had a daughter, Kate, in December 2001. In 2008, Skye became engaged to musician Ben Lee.On December 29, 2008, Skye and Lee were married in a Hindu wedding ceremony in India. They have a daughter, Goldie Priya Lee, who was born September 24, 2009. She has also written a children’s book called My Yiddish Vacation, published by Henry Holt and Company in May 2014. Skye also practices Buddhism.
Ione Skye joins Harper Simon for a wide-ranging interview covering her beginnings in Hollywood and her latest artistic projects.
Ione explains that she appeared in her first film as a teenager, the 1986 crime drama River’s Edge, which she came upon through her brother Donovan Leitch Jr., who was acting at the time, and got her an audition.
“I said why do they want to see me, I’m in junior high? He said, ‘They saw your picture in the L.A. Weekly. But I was very much the director Tim Hunter’s style,” she said, pointing out that Hunter put Matt Dillon and Med Tilly on their first films. “I was a brunette, I had that sort of look.”
She says that at the time, her favorite movie was the 1986 David Lynch film Blue Velvet, “so this kind of dark thing was just up my alley.”
She said she also looked at the opportunity as a chance to get out of an unhappy situation at Hollywood High School. “I was so insecure, because I was a teenager, but I really wanted to get out of high school, and I wanted something different. But also probably somewhere it was a way for me to be creative, I was definitely very creative.”
On getting cast in the 1989 film Say Anything, Ione said it was a much bigger project and to her represented the fact that she was approaching another level in her acting career. She said that while she was thrilled to be part of the movie, she also found it a bit intimidating because it was directed by Cameron Crowe and starred John Cusack.
It was also Say Anything that put Ione much more in the public eye and she was living more of the celebrity life, which included a stint dating Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “I could have avoided that chapter because it was definitely a little darker than I wanted to go.”
She also talks about growing up in Hollywood as the daughter of ‘60s singer Donovan, but she said her mother kept her grounded and provided culture and sophistication through her diverse circle of friends. “We grew up in the foothills of the Hollywood Hills in the same house, so it was a mixture, it was too out of control.”
Ione is also very involved in other areas of the arts, including painting and writing, and recently released a children’s book called My Yiddish Vacation.
She says she wrote the book as a kind of homage to her grandparents and brother. “My dad was out of the picture, and my grandparents were classic Jewish grandparents, and their great.”
The book is based on her own experiences going on vacations in Florida while growing up. “Florida is where all of them retired and you had this… like practically a reality TV show of retirement community of these hilarious characters who would be in a Scorsese movie if they were Italian, just crazy and fun.”
She said she enjoyed that writing experience so much that she is currently experimenting wih young adult fiction and could publish another book in the near future.
Watch the full interview to also hear about Ione’s new short film based on a Daniel Clowes comic book called Ice Haven, as well as her musical preferences.