Write On: Celebrities and Their Literary Endeavors
Any TMZ junkie will tell you that being a celebrity is about having sex scandals, suffering from eating disorders, going through public breakdowns, and not wearing underwear when you get out of limos. That sort of thing might get the biggest headlines, but there are plenty of actors, rockers, pundits, and personalities who have made their mark in the publishing world as well. Whether they’ve penned semi-autobiographical tell-alls or earnest stabs at the literary arts, some celebs have done something almost as impressive as being famous: They’ve written books.
Notable work: _Palo Alto_.
The critics have spoken and it’s almost unanimous: James Franco shouldn’t quit his day job. While he’s undoubtedly a man of many gifts besides his pretty face, his first fiction effort, a collection of short stories inspired by the suburb of his youth, is not standing up to his other achievements. But surely any one of his Ivy League, postgraduate degrees will make up for it.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/ij3yWE_
Notable works: _Priceless_ and _The Truth About Diamonds_.
Previously known as Paris Hilton’s hanger-on, Nicole Richie has since not only made a name for herself in celebrity magazines with DUIs and an alarmingly skeletal appearance, she’s also published two novels in the past four years. Like a lot of celebrity “fiction,” _The Truth About Diamonds_ is a thinly veiled autobiography, but the follow-up, _Priceless_, released in September 2010, has a slightly more worldly story arc about a girl humbled by the hardships of losing her wealth and status. Fiction? Maybe.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/ftakjG_
Notable works: _The Hottest State_ and _Ash Wednesday_.
While Ethan Hawke might officially qualify as a has-been on the film front at this point, he’s got two novels under his belt, regardless of the vicissitudes of his career. The first one, _The Hottest State_, is largely an autobiographical tale of a struggling actor in New York City and the sexually dysfunctional relationship he has with his girlfriend—and himself. _Ash Wednesday_, published in 2002, is a broader work creatively and is more highly praised. Though sadly, it’s out of print.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/f3hVWS_
Notable works: _Postcards from the Edge, The Best Awful,_ and _Delusions of Grandma_.
For many, she will always be Princess Leia. But Carrie Fisher has proven herself a prolific fiction writer in addition to being an actress and a screenwriter. While her books deal largely with her autobiographical details of alcoholism and drug addiction, they are also full of wit, irony, and humor, all of which has made her vocation in letters as storied as her metallic bikini in _Return of the Jedi_.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/ifD7II_
Notable works: _Shopgirl_ and _An Object of Beauty_.
A talent such as Steve Martin’s cannot be contained by slapstick comedy. He brings his remarkable intellect and humor to bear not only in numerous plays, but also in his novels. While his wry and droll persona is always present in his writing, his themes transcend his recognizable voice, dealing in moral and existential crises brought on by the nature of the modern world.
_Photo source: “PR Photos”:http://www.prphotos.com/_
Notable work: _The Gun Seller_.
Before becoming known as the socially dysfunctional medical genius on _House_, Hugh Laurie starred in a British comedy based on P.G. Wodehouse’s comic novels called _Jeeves and Wooster_. It’s speculated that Laurie’s turn as Wooster in the series is what became the inspiration for Thomas Lang, the protagonist of his novel, _The Gun Seller_. He first submitted the manuscript, a cloak and dagger story of intrigue, anonymously until his agent talked him into leveraging his celebrity to nudge it a little further.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/eXknVK_
Notable works: _Where Is Joe Merchant?, Swine Not?, A Salty Piece of Land_, and _The Jolly Mon_.
That’s right; I said “Jimmy Buffett.” The man who brought us the vacation anthem “Margaritaville” and spawned the adoring fan base known as the Parrotheads has written several books, three of which spent quality time on bestseller lists. This doesn’t include his autobiography, which is reportedly pretty colorful. He’s only one of a handful of authors whose nonfiction and fiction have reached number one on the _New York Times’_ bestseller list, putting him in the company of such legendary authors as Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck, as well as the aforementioned Glenn Beck.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/eNCFIj_
Notable work: _The Overton Window_.
Glenn Beck is no stranger to the _New York Times_’ bestseller list, but _The Overton Window_ is his only fiction contribution. But judging by the book’s synopsis on Amazon.com, it’s not thematically far off from the outlook he shares in his nonfiction and his widely viewed television show: “An unprecedented attack on U.S. soil shakes the country to the core and puts into motion a frightening plan, decades in the making, to transform America and demonize all those who stand in the way.” Sounds a bit like a paranoid fantasy—or a tragic inevitability—depending on where you stand politically. Either way, the story is surely as fiery as Beck himself.
_Photo source: “Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/a7BAW8_
Notable work: _The Death of Bunny Munro_.
_Publishers Weekly_ described Nick Cave’s novel about a door-to-door lotion salesman who’s also a Casanova to attractive housewives as “pleasantly demented,” which are two words that might be used to describe any number of Cave’s artistic undertakings, either as front man for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds or as a screenwriter of the dark, moody film _The Proposition_. He seems quite at home among the pathos of the human experience.
_Photo source: “Wikimedia Commons”:http://bit.ly/gGxChA_