cover image Drama: An Actor's Education

Drama: An Actor's Education

John Lithgow. Harper, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-173497-7

In this clever and heartfelt memoir, Lithgow, well-known for his role in the movie Terms of Endearment and TV's Third Rock from the Sun, tells of his life in the theater and the effect his father had on his formative years. Arthur Lithgow was himself an actor, director, teacher, and promoter of theater, and the family lived a vagabond life as the son became the proverbial new kid and "the good boy and not necessarily in a good way." As Lithgow writes, his talent propelled him to Harvard; he then studied at the London Academy of Dramatic Art and returned immersed in regional theater acting, designing and directing for his father. His father readily imparted words of wisdom early on, but as Lithgow grew up, his paternal guidance diminished. Their relationship was complicated: while Lithgow's Broadway career surged with a Tony Award, his father's career slid, which left Lithgow feeling guilty. With understated wit, Lithgow delivers insight into the difference between stage and screen acting and offers wonderful anecdotes of directors Brian De Palma and Terrence Malick. (Oct.)