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There is a touch of elaborate fantasy about the salad-dressing venture and, for two people whose reality is Hollywood, a suggestion of make-believe to the contented exiles in Westport. For years Paul and Joanne lived beside the small, tumbling Aspetuck River, where Paul would break the ice and splash on winter mornings after his sauna. They have another house in Beverly Hills and an apartment in an East Side Manhattan hotel. In the summer of 1981, keeping their former house for the use of whichever daughters happened by, they moved across the river to a small, 1736 farmhouse. They have an apple orchard, a swimming pool, eleven acres of fields and woods, and a refinished barn used as a guesthouse and screening room. They have cats, dogs and an expensively renovated stable half an hour away that Paul swears he will have memorialized in an oil painting showing a huge hole into which beautiful people are throwing money. They have a piano that Paul, a lover of Bach (he urges his sports-car friends to buy Glenn Gould's new digital recording of the Goldberg Variations), has learned to play fairly well.
They have a marriage. A few years ago, when he was filming in Hawaii, Paul handed Joanne a box with a new evening gown in it. When she had changed, they were flown to a deserted golf course where they were served an elegant dinner alone beside the sea, serenaded by a string quartet. A superstar's easy gesture; what says more is that after 2½ decades he describes her, with great relish, as "a voluptuary."
On the wall of their kitchen is a sampler, which Paul had made to commemorate a remark by Joanne "that seemed appropriate at the time." It says, "I will regulate my life. JWN." The sampler shows a lit light bulb and an exploding cannon: husband's view of wife's character. Since then Joanne has attended est sessions and resolved to stop "choosing to be in Paul's shadow" and to stop apologizing for being what she calls "a creative dilettante." Says she: "As I look back, I think what I really wanted was to have a life with no children, but I was raised in a generation that taught us otherwise. I felt very torn at times, lured away by the satisfaction of acting, which is a worthy thing, and by my sense of ambition, which isn't. Acclaim is the false aspect of the job, which screws you up. You start to need it, like a drug, and in the final analysis, what does it all mean? I won my Academy Award when I was very young, and it was exciting for five or ten minutes. Sitting in bed afterward and drinking my Ovaltine, I said to Paul, 'Is that it?' Now I think being a full-time parent would be O.K. with me. With what I've learned, I'd enjoy it a lot more." Though she isn't interested in playing "mother roles" in films, she remains a mother, who, in a competitive, talented family, had the difficult job this fall of convincing their 17-year-old daughter Clea that a mediocre performance at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden was not the end of the world.
When Paul is traveling, he calls Joanne every day, and when they are in Westport he will break off a conversation to say, "I want to see my lady." Fifteen years ago, he decided that his first try at directing would be Joanne's film Rachel, Rachel. The film is a gentle and