And They Pay You For That?? by Robert Trebor

And They Pay You For That??

An Actor's Unreliable Memoir
Email this review


A debut account of brushes with fame, love affairs, and hilarious conversations from an actor’s life.

Trebor writes that his parents, whom he describes as “decent and loving as they were middle class,” agreed to fund his early acting education at Northwestern University despite their initial worries. Right from the start, he showed prodigious talent and charisma, winning the lead in a production of Jean Anouilh’s play Poor Bitos as well as the affection of a beautiful but already engaged woman. Despite his raunchy fantasy life and youthfully crass sense of humor, Trebor says that he earned a reputation as a “four square Mr. Clean.” His star continued to rise in the school’s drama department, leading to him spending a summer at a regional theatrical repertory in California alongside then-unknown Robin Williams and going to New York City with his first serious girlfriend. Unfortunately, both the relationship and his few potential career breaks fell apart. Eventually, his striking resemblance to the Son of Sam serial killer led to him getting a glowing New York Times review for a role opposite Martin Sheen in a TV movie. This took Trebor to Hollywood, where he eventually married his longtime girlfriend and landed a popular recurring role on the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. Throughout, Trebor boils down his advice to aspiring actors with brief asides: “Tip #2: Don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to rivals getting a role….Let the other guy get the coronary.” His story follows a traditional rise-to-fame narrative but without ever relying on clichés; instead, he focuses on the many personalities he encountered, both on-set and off. At times, the memoir has the pace of a screenplay; it’s heavy on dialogue and features simple, concise summations of others’ reactions, such as “silence” or “slightly awkward pause.” These smart choices eliminate excessive nostalgia and highlight Trebor’s incredible wit; the book’s best moments are when he verbally spars with his parents, acting legends, or his own lovers, firing off punch lines on everything from waffles to director Akira Kurosawa. He presents the life of a working actor who neither attained incredible fame nor succumbed to despair, and his engaging, charming voice creates a story that feels extraordinary.

An entertaining memoir that refreshingly focuses on character and dialogue over stardom.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2016


NonfictionWHY NOT ME? by Mindy Kaling
by Mindy Kaling
NonfictionFAME JUNKIES by Jake Halpern
by Jake Halpern
NonfictionTHE BASSOON KING by Rainn Wilson
by Rainn Wilson