Of course, celebrities have long been known for publishing memoirs, autobiographies, and tell-all books. But in recent years, a large number of the famed and fortuned has dabbled in the world of fiction – with mixed results. Some of these authors are genuinely creative individuals whose ability to convey a story on the screen translates well to telling a story on the page. Others are less . . . well, gifted, shall we say.
But when I see the words “New York Times Bestselling Author Nicole Richie” on the cover of a novel, I have to wonder if my efforts at publication should have included being born to a pop singer icon. Nevertheless, here are few authors who have entered the world of fiction:
Carrie Fisher – Best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars (although my favorite role of hers was Marie in When Harry Met Sally), Carrie has authored several novels including Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, and Postcards from the Edge.
Fannie Flagg – In case you’re not old enough to recall, Fannie Flagg was an actress in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Her acting credits include three appearances on The Love Boat as three different characters! But her writing career has overshadowed her acting with books like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. Her most recent release is I Still Dream about You.
Gene Hackman – This actor’s credits are too numerous to name, although I probably became aware of him when he portrayed Lex Luthor to Christopher Reeve’s Superman. He co-wrote three novels with Daniel Lenihan but has set out on his own for his latest release, Payback at Morning Peak.
Jimmy Buffett – The singer who has inspired a lot of tequila consumption through his hit, Margaritaville, is also an author of three novels – one co-written with Helen Lansford. The other two are Where is Joe Merchant? and A Salty Piece of Land.
Kirk Douglas – The unmatchable Kirk Douglas is not only an amazing actor, the original Spartacus, and father to actor Michael Douglas, he is an author as well with three novels to his name: Dance with the Devil, The Gift, and Last Tango in Brooklyn.
Meg Tilly – Best known for her role in The Big Chill, Meg Tilly was also Sister Agnes in Agnes of God. She still acts from time to time (e.g., Mother in Caprica) but is now the author of Singing Songs, Porcupine, and Gemma.
Steve Martin – Almost a modern-day Renaissance man, he tells jokes, acts in movies, plays incredible banjo, and writes novels. Formerly a “wild and crazy guy” on SNL, Steve Martin has penned The Pleasure of My Company, Shopgirl, and An Object of Beauty.
William Shatner – Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, T.J. Hooker in the series of the same name, Denny Crane in Boston Legal, and many more TV series appearances are in William Shatner’s bio. Beyond those achievements, and his Priceline gig, he has authored over twenty books, including the popular science fiction Tek and Quest for Tomorrow series.
I haven’t read most of these, so I am by no means recommending that you pick up these novels– except for Fannie Flagg who is wonderful – but I find it interesting that these celebs are channeling their creative juices into writing fiction. So maybe I should rethink my plan and try to get on a reality show! However, I don’t have any crippling addictions (my love of Coca-Cola doesn’t count); I’m not a rich, single gal looking to date 20 men to find a hubby; and I don’t want to race across the world in record time. Oh well.
Just so you know, I did not include any celebrities whose books listed a second author, although certainly some of the titles above could have been ghost-written. And I plan to cover celebrity children’s book authors another time. If you want to see more information about celebrities who write, check out the following websites: The Millions: Celebrity Book Club, Culture Mob: Celebrity Authors and the Books They Write, and Celebrity Cowboy: 40 Celebrity Book Authors.
Have you read any of these books? How do you feel about celebrities taking up their pen? Do you feel they have an unfair advantage? Or do they have something unique to offer given their background and creativity? Do you know other celebrities who have written novels? Do you have ones to recommend?