What actor or actress biographies are worth reading?
Posted on 31st of October, 2019


My answer is probably going to be a bit different from everyone else as I don't really care to read about the sex lives, addictions, partying and other activities of the rich and famous. When I read a biography I want to learn more about the craft of the author. This has unfortunately meant that I am frequently disappointed by the biographies of some of my favorite actors as it is just things that I could read in a tabloid if I was interested.

One biography that I read recently and enjoyed is Drama: An Actor's Education by John Lithgow. This actor has taken on mostly comedic roles in his life and while it is not my favorite genre I can appreciate his wit. He has however worked with a lot of big names in the industry like Meryl Streep and Live Ullman and I enjoyed reading about his experiences in the industry. Another good one is the Bryan Cranston biography, A Life in Parts. I wouldn't say that he is one of my favorite actors, but he did well in Breaking Bad and really knows how to write about his profession. He's really dedicated to his craft and that is something that I can admire. The last one I have is the Sydney Poitier autobiography and this one is really the best. This is the kind of story that I love to read and I walked away from it with newfound respect for the actor.
I have found that it is actually musicians who tend to have the most interesting biographies and I can name plenty of great ones, but your question is specifically about actors and actresses so I'll stick to that. Maybe I should post my own question about musician biographies :)

Robin by Dave Itzkoff - Everyone remembers Robin Williams as the funny guy who was always cracking jokes and making people laugh. I think very few people ever knew what went on behind the scenes in his life and how much he struggled with self-doubt. There are a lot of information in this biography that I never even knew about and I'm a big fan of Robin Williams. His death came as a huge shock to the world, but after reading this biography and finding out about his addiction and depression I can understand why he did what he did.

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher - This is another great biography by an actress that is sadly no longer with us. Everyone who only knows Carrie Fisher as the beautiful Princess Leia from the Star Wars movies are in for a bit of a shock if they read this biography. Carrie was undeniably a brilliant and talented actress but she also had her struggles with addiction and suffered from manic depression. I never would have thought that Princess Leia spent time at a fair amount of mental institutions either. This is not just a biography for Star Wars fans, but for anyone who can appreciate well written true life stories.

I Can't Make This Up by Keven Hart - Kevin Hart is another comedian who hides a lot of hardship behind his smile. The odds were overwhelmingly against him ever becoming a success as he grew up in a household where his father was a drug addict while his brother was a drug dealer. Yet, somehow, Kevin managed to not follow in their footsteps and instead pursued his dreams to get him to where he is today.

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini - I fell in love with Leah Remini watching the show The King of Queens, but I never had any idea that she was a former Scientologist until I saw her biography. Imagine my surprise when it turns out that she was raised as a member of the church and was part of it up until 2013 when she left. Since then she has been a constant thorn in their side and followed up her biography with a series as well.

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