Host: In 2005 David Hedison came to a StoryCorps booth with his youngest daughter, Serena, to share something they’d never discussed.
David Hedison (DH): 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.
Host: 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.
In 2023 his daughters, Serena and Alex, came back to StoryCorps to reflect on the secret he shared.
Serena Hedison (SH) and Alex Hedison (AH)
SH: 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.’
SH: ‘That’s dad? And even then I thought, ‘Well, maybe he grew out of his nose, too, like he said that I’m gonna 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.’
SH: There was something about how he said, ‘You’re going to be okay.’ And I never thought about getting a nose job after that moment.
AH: I actually have more of dad’s nose than you do.
SH: His new nose?
AH: No, his, his, his old nose.
AH: 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.
AH: What for me still is painful is that he walked away from the parts of himself that he felt didn’t belong.
AH: 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.
AH: I carry him with me.
That’s his legacy.