The Making of an Accidental Actor
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A comic memoir recounting the obstacles one man endured on his quest to become an actor.

In his debut, Hamlin—best known for his role as Perseus in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans, as well as his stint on L.A. Law—depicts how his lifetime of debacles began at an early age. At four he urinated in the dog dish, and a few years later, wrote a book report on Mein Kampf, resulting in his removal from school. On Christmas Day 1962, his parents offered him less offensive reading material—a five-year subscription to Playboy—though this would have an equally disastrous result for the hormone-crazed youth. From Hamlin's first introduction to the female body, the memoir takes a turn, no longer focusing on the innocent trials of a prepubescent boy but rather on the litany of sexual escapades that followed the actor throughout his life. While the author’s tales of sexual encounters string the narrative together, his romps are not the focal point. Instead, Hamlin's history with drugs overpowers the other aspects of the story. Though he explains his run-ins with law enforcement in a comical manner, readers will recognize the seriousness of his crimes. The book is rampant with road trips, fraternity debacles and prison sentences, yet when these unoriginal tales are told with hackneyed phrases (“Bring it on, baby!”; “But that's another story”), readers may desire more substance. Nevertheless, Hamlin's story has its charms, and his unabashed honesty provides a clear view of a boy's life in the late-’60s and early-’70s. In one instance, he describes selling himself as a handyman in order to raise money for a road trip to Woodstock. “I highly recommend this strategy of creating an income when you're seventeen and know how to do absolutely nothing but sleep and whack off,” he writes, acknowledging his own low expectations for himself in a world that would one day require much from him.

A fairly commonplace tale of one actor’s coming-of-age—disappointingly, though, his acting career only makes a guest appearance.
Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-6999-5
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2010


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