To the Temple of Tranquility…and Step on It!

Hachette. Oct. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780306832109. $29. MEMOIR
Actor and activist Begley’s heartfelt memoir is a who’s who of Hollywood, Broadway, and the music industry. His book is filled with a jumble of name-dropping admiration, love, and an entertaining account of the author’s journey through addiction, personal growth, and redemption. Begley’s career began with stints on TV shows (Room 222, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and more), coupled with frequent stand-up comedy gigs and supplemented by handyman work. During his struggles with addiction, he frequently courted danger, including crossing paths with Charles Manson and being beaten and stabbed by a group of men. Following his arrest for impersonating a cop (he wore a police costume when he was out drinking), Begley’s lifetime of environmental activism grew to include a passion for prison reform. His friendships with the numerous celebrities he worked with over the years provide tales that range from John Belushi’s ironic concern about the author’s drinking to Begley’s initial excitement at Marlon Brando’s offer to work together, only to find that he just wanted to talk about electric eels.
VERDICT A memoir that’s both touching and funny. Readers will see how Begley finds joy in life in spite of his battles.
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