Q & A with Actor Steve Guttenberg

Q & A with Actor Steve Guttenberg


Steve Guttenberg
Steve Guttenberg

Actor-author Steve Guttenberg (“Police Academy,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Cocoon”) recently published his memoir, “The Guttenberg Bible.” He appears at the Marcus Jewish Community Center on Thurs., July 12 at 7:30 p.m. as part of a Page from the Book Festival.

The Atlanta Jewish Times got a chance to chat with him via phone before his visit.

John McCurdy: So I know that, just taking a look at your CV, you have done plenty of stuff both on stage in the theater, on television, in movies – Hollywood movies, made for TV movies, what have you. Just out of curiosity, do you have a preference between these different avenues for your acting?

Steve Guttenberg: No, I don’t have a preference. Each one has its own strength and style. And each one you learn on each of the arenas of acting you learn on. I love them all. Whether it is television, film or theater or storytelling, you know, or stand up. It’s all terrific.

JM: One more specifically acting-related question. Who was your favorite co-star, the best person to work with?

SG: A great guy to work with was Karl Malden. I did this movie called “Miracle on Ice,” for which he played the 1980 Olympic Team Hockey coach. And Karl was just tremendous to work with. Such a well-educated [person] and encyclopedic in show business. So he was great.

JM: I’m wondering if you were writing down some of these stories that are included in the memoir as they were happening or if this was largely written from the point of view of you of you now?

SG: I wrote a diary and when I was writing the book I would look back on the diary. So it was reading that stuff and then all of a sudden all kinds of memories would flood in from the notes that I made in my diaries. So that was great help. You know, you just remember the stories and tell the stories.

JM: So tell me a little bit about the practical process – what it took practically to write the book. You said that the idea came about just a couple of years ago.

SG: Yes, my friends would always say how funny the stories are about me starting out in show business. My agent and I, we had a conversation and he said, “I think it sounds like a great book.” We were joking about it all, and I said okay, I put it out, and St. Martins Press said they’d like to do it.

And before we knew it we were public writing a book. And I went to the office everyday and had a great time writing it. It took about two years off and on.

The Guttenberg Bible
The Guttenberg Bible

JM: So it doesn’t sound like you’ve had a whole lot of trouble having the stories come back to you or having the right words to describe what had happened, how you felt, the situations you were in. Sounds like you might just be a natural.

SG: I hope I am. It was a great experience. I enjoyed looking back on the diaries and sitting and remembering stuff and then using my craft and my skills as a writer. I’ve been in the business a long time and I’ve always had an appreciation for the written word, so this was really a lot of fun.

JM: Could you compare the two art forms of acting and writing? Or are they so vastly different to you?

SG: They are similar in that they are creative outlets. So the creativity comes in a million forms and it’s just different tools. I think that the creative part of the brain is working on both.

JM: A little bit about your readership – who is going to pick this book up? It is the kind of book that has got something for everyone; these stories will make folks laugh or think no matter who those folks are. But if there is something that you wanted your readers to take away from it, maybe a central message or maybe just a general feeling or experience of reading it. Could you put that into words?

SG: I would hope that it makes people laugh and gives them a very interesting narrative to follow about the blessings of ignorance and the journey to fulfilling your desires of fame and fortune.


Interview by John McCurdy, Managing Editor
Transcribed by Sloane Arogeti, Editorial Intern

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