IT WOULD BE SO NICE IF YOU WEREN'T HERE: My Journey Through Show Business by Charles Grodin

IT WOULD BE SO NICE IF YOU WEREN'T HERE: My Journey Through Show Business

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Master of the double-take performed as a single-take, or long pause, Grodin here relives the heights of rejection and valleys of acceptance in his lengthening career as a movie comedian and stage actor-director. Show business has been tough on Grodin, a lot tougher than he ever imagined when choosing to be an actor, and more than once has given him an overwhelming message--""Stop. . .Go away. . .We don't want you. . .Get lost. . .You're no good. . .and worse."" Born in Pittsburgh to a garment-industry wholesale supplier, he was assigned the lead in his ninth-grade graduation play, Getting Gracie Graduated, because of his tireless asking of questions, and in high school was elected class president four years running. Later, his career took root in several seasons of summer stock and in working with Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg, whose classes developed hint as an ""inner"" actor but made working with him an upsetting experience for stage hams who relied on technique. In New York, he found it lonely at the bottom, but then broke into live TV drama, played against Anthony Quinn in the Broadway hit Tchin Tchin; did six months on a soap (each show a feat of memorization, not acting); became a staple villain on The Virginian, and at last got the nod from Mike Nichols for the lead in The Graduate--but turned down the film role as too low-paying. His time came with Elaine May's The Heartbreak Kid, a smash hit, followed by really black reviews for his lead in 11 Harrowhouse. Meanwhile, he was growing as a writer and trying to shuck an original script (51 turndowns!), but was still identified with The Heartbreak Kid. Filmed at last as Movers and Shakers, it bombed. Grodin's triumphs as the villain in the King Kong remake, in Heaven Can Wait, and in his later smash with Robert de Niro in Midnight Run are all amusingly detailed, while some clinkers are greased over with silence. His love life is missing entirely. Laugh-out-loud moments, but Grodin is satisfying when just being Grodin and moaning about fork-tongued studio heads and bilious reviewers.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1989
Publisher: Morrow