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2 daughters reflect on a secret their dad shared nearly 20 years ago

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. Nearly 20 years ago, David Hedison came to a StoryCorps booth with his youngest daughter, Serena, to share something they'd never discussed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID HEDISON: I wanted to be an actor, but I realized it was going to be a battle because I had a very Armenian nose. And in those days, to get a job, you had to have the boy-next-door face.

MARTÍNEZ: He revealed to his daughter that he'd had a nose job. David Hedison went on to have a prolific career as a television, film and stage actor. He died in 2019 at the age of 92. Recently, his daughter Serena came back to StoryCorps with her sister, Alex, to reflect on the secret their dad shared.

SERENA HEDISON: I was really surprised because we never talked about it as a family. My recollection of realizing that something was different was seeing older photos of him at Grandma's house and thinking, like, wait a second. That's Dad? And even then I thought, well, maybe he grew out of his nose, too, like he said that I'm going to do.

Years prior, I was 12, and I guess I had spent a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror and all I could see was my nose. And I remember asking Dad, like, Dad, can I have a nose job? He never in that moment said, I didn't like the way I looked once, too. He just laughed and said, oh, honey, you got a terrific nose. There was something about how he said, you're going to be OK. And I never thought about getting a nose job after that moment.

ALEX HEDISON: I actually have more of Dad's nose than you do.

S HEDISON: His new nose?

A HEDISON: No, his old nose. I see Dad in my face. He's in my gesture, like the way I move my hand and the way I'll make a dumb joke or try to make someone laugh because I want them to feel seen.

S HEDISON: Yeah.

A HEDISON: What for me still is painful is that he walked away from the parts of himself that he felt didn't belong. But I see Armenian in my face, and I like it. I like the things that make me feel I have a unique sense of belonging in the world. I carry him with me.

S HEDISON: Yeah. That's his legacy.

MARTÍNEZ: That was Serena and Alex Hedison remembering their father, David Hedison. Their conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Jo Corona
Stefan Weiner