IN THE MOMENT: My Life as an Actor

Ben Gazzara, Author . Carroll & Graf $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1399-8

Since Gazzara's been a star for more than 50 years, most readers can remember at least one of his performances: on stage in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , in old television shows like Arrest and Trial and Run for Your Life or in recent independent films like The Spanish Prisoner and The Big Lebowski . In this memoir, Gazzara recalls his altar boy days on East 29th Street in New York City; his discovery of acting at the Madison Square Boys Club; his immigrant Italian parents, who trusted their son to embark on a totally non-blue collar career; his training in the Actors Studio; his experiences on the sets of various films; his affairs with a series of attractive women. His prose is plain and he's too much the gentleman to do a kiss-and-tell on his celebrity lovers like Audrey Hepburn, but his thoughts on working with various creative men—Kazan, Bogdanovich, Albee and others—are revealing. Gazzara is most engaging when he describes working with John Cassavetes and Peter Falk on that masterpiece of scriptless filmmaking, Husbands ; a story about three men who bond while mourning a friend who has died, Husbands brought the three actors a profound sense of closeness as they went through intense improv sessions. While not bursting with the typical salaciousness of a Hollywood autobiography, Gazzara's simply written memoir should please fans of late 20th–century stage and screen craft. Agent, Jennifer Lyons. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-7867-1582-4
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