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You know him from his breakout role as Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, his outrageous turn as George and Oscar Bluth on Arrested Development, and his Emmy Award-winning performance as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent. A Broadway star, a television legend, an accomplished screen actor whose singular wit and heartrending performances have been entertaining audiences You know him from his breakout role as Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, his outrageous turn as George and Oscar Bluth on Arrested Development, and his Emmy Award-winning performance as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent. A Broadway star, a television legend, an accomplished screen actor whose singular wit and heartrending performances have been entertaining audiences for more than four decades, but the question remains: Who the hell is Jeffrey Tambor? In his illuminating, often hilarious, and always honest memoir, Tambor looks back at the key moments in his life that taught him about creativity and play and pain and fear. The son of what you might call "eccentric" Russian and Hungarian Jewish parents, Tambor grew up in San Francisco a husky kid with a lisp, who suffered in his "otherness" and found salvation in the theater. While he learned his art from the best of the best--Al Pacino, George C. Scott, Garry Shandling, Mitch Hurwitz, Jill Soloway--he also introduces his many unexpected teachers, from the nameless man in a Detroit bookstore who gave him the love of reading, to his young children who (at this ridiculously late stage in his life) have reintroduced him to play, bravery, and the simple joy of not giving a shit. Tambor shares the triumph of landing his first Broadway role, but not before experiencing the humbling that is commercial work (and how even saying "my socks don't cling" can prove a challenge). He invites you behind the scenes of his wildly successful television shows, but he doesn't leave out the pit stops he made at addiction, Scientology, and what it feels like to get fourth billing after Sylvia the Seal on The Love Boat. At last, Tambor answers the question "Are you anybody?" with a promise that success doesn't mean perfection and failure most definitely is an option.


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You know him from his breakout role as Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, his outrageous turn as George and Oscar Bluth on Arrested Development, and his Emmy Award-winning performance as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent. A Broadway star, a television legend, an accomplished screen actor whose singular wit and heartrending performances have been entertaining audiences You know him from his breakout role as Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, his outrageous turn as George and Oscar Bluth on Arrested Development, and his Emmy Award-winning performance as Maura Pfefferman on Transparent. A Broadway star, a television legend, an accomplished screen actor whose singular wit and heartrending performances have been entertaining audiences for more than four decades, but the question remains: Who the hell is Jeffrey Tambor? In his illuminating, often hilarious, and always honest memoir, Tambor looks back at the key moments in his life that taught him about creativity and play and pain and fear. The son of what you might call "eccentric" Russian and Hungarian Jewish parents, Tambor grew up in San Francisco a husky kid with a lisp, who suffered in his "otherness" and found salvation in the theater. While he learned his art from the best of the best--Al Pacino, George C. Scott, Garry Shandling, Mitch Hurwitz, Jill Soloway--he also introduces his many unexpected teachers, from the nameless man in a Detroit bookstore who gave him the love of reading, to his young children who (at this ridiculously late stage in his life) have reintroduced him to play, bravery, and the simple joy of not giving a shit. Tambor shares the triumph of landing his first Broadway role, but not before experiencing the humbling that is commercial work (and how even saying "my socks don't cling" can prove a challenge). He invites you behind the scenes of his wildly successful television shows, but he doesn't leave out the pit stops he made at addiction, Scientology, and what it feels like to get fourth billing after Sylvia the Seal on The Love Boat. At last, Tambor answers the question "Are you anybody?" with a promise that success doesn't mean perfection and failure most definitely is an option.

30 review for Are You Anybody?: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I enjoyed this memoir very much. I haven't seen a lot of the shows that Jeffrey Tambor is known for, i.e., The Larry Sanders Show, Arrested Development or Transparent, but of course I've heard of him and have seen some of his films. This is a very honest, moving and sometimes very funny memoir and I'm very glad I read it. I enjoyed this memoir very much. I haven't seen a lot of the shows that Jeffrey Tambor is known for, i.e., The Larry Sanders Show, Arrested Development or Transparent, but of course I've heard of him and have seen some of his films. This is a very honest, moving and sometimes very funny memoir and I'm very glad I read it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Some actors “hit it big” as children while others hone their skills in countless performances before Hollywood takes notice. Jeffrey Tambor is one of these late-bloomers. If you haven’t watched “The Larry Sanders”, “Arrested Development”, or the award-winning Netflix hit, “Transparent”; trust me: you would still recognize Tambor’s face. Jeffrey Tambor opens up about his professional and personal life in his memoir, “Are You Anybody?” Although the celebrity memoir bookshelves are overstocked with Some actors “hit it big” as children while others hone their skills in countless performances before Hollywood takes notice. Jeffrey Tambor is one of these late-bloomers. If you haven’t watched “The Larry Sanders”, “Arrested Development”, or the award-winning Netflix hit, “Transparent”; trust me: you would still recognize Tambor’s face. Jeffrey Tambor opens up about his professional and personal life in his memoir, “Are You Anybody?” Although the celebrity memoir bookshelves are overstocked with books (with many young stars now penning their stories which have barely even begun); Tambor’s “Are You Anybody?” is standout in ways that can’t even necessarily be pin-pointed. “Are You Anybody?” is written in a somewhat narrative way recreating a sort of ‘stream of consciousness’- novel with substantial depth. Tambor recalls stories from both his youth and adulthood but the chosen vignettes are truly unique, entertaining, and often times have a moral. There is, frankly, a huge difference in the composition of “Are You Anybody?” from current memoirs especially from those of younger folks. One will feel that they are reading a captivating novel. Not only is Tambor a terrific writer encompassing flair and intelligence; but he is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. There are literally moments within the text which produce chuckles and guffaws, alike. Tambor connects to readers on an intimate level that is beyond simply expressing personal feelings. His presence is dissected and ‘felt’ and Tambor is, therefore, relatable while being a charming storyteller. “Are You Anybody?” does suffer from some clutter and disorganization. Tambor can seem “all over the place” and almost ADD- with his memory recall. Although this can distract or deter some readers; it actually takes no time at all to get used to the madness. A predominant chunk of “Are You Anybody?” focuses on Tambor’s acting craft, roots, and career and less on his personal life. Those expecting an overly gossipy and/or raunchy foray into Tambor’s life will be highly disappointed. Tambor, much like his demeanor; keeps his memoir classy. Tambor takes an interesting approach in “Are You Anybody?” which is not typically found in other memoirs that includes quotes from other figures and events. This adds heartiness to the text and perfectly logical in its placement accentuating the standout traits of “Are You Anybody?”. “Are You Anybody?” is possessed by a raw, intriguing force that envelops the reader in a fog and complete enthrallment (read the memoir for the connection to ‘thrall’). Tambor shows an innocent, soft, and vulnerable side and yet teaches the readers and prompts introspection. It is one of those connections that occur at the perfect time and place—in memoir form. Again, “Are You Anybody?” can’t accurately be described with the correct adjectives but it sure as hell is great. One of the few negatives, but noticeable, is Tambor’s occasional repetitiveness. Although the stories aren’t actually repeated verbatim; the message and moral is sometimes the same which equates it to being retold just in a different way. This can sometimes slacken the pace of the text. The concluding chapters will satisfy fans of “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Arrested Development” with Tambor breaking down how these productions affected both his career and life. It is an insightful look into television and a softer side of Hollywood. Sadly, the heavy impact and substance of “Are You Anybody?” is not translated into the final chapter which was, bluntly, meaningless. The entire chapter could have been skipped entirely without losing any sleep and the memoir could have simply ended on the preceding chapter. It is a disheartening wrap-up to an otherwise great piece. Tambor doesn’t include a section of photo plates and instead includes occasional (black and white) photo among the pages in “Are You Anybody?”. The mistake is that Tambor opted out of captioning the photos which could have really aided the reader. “Are You Anybody?” is also peppered with hand-drawn illustrations by Tambor’s personal friend, Ben Barnes. “Are You Anybody?” is an exquisite piece of writing not just as a Hollywood memoir but for books, in general even despite its small flaws. Tambor is intelligent and deep but humorous and great company. Younger starlets could learn a lot from him. “Are You Anybody?” is suggested for any reader with a remote interest in Jeffrey Tambor or fans of celebrity memoirs (although Tambor ruins future memoir-reading because he sets the bar high at an unreachable caliber).

  3. 5 out of 5

    jeremy

    a funny, bold, sad, touching, self-deprecating, fascinating memoir, jeffrey tambor's are you anybody? takes you through the actor's life on both stage and screen. from his youth and early commercial work to his starring role on transparent, tambor opens up candidly, offering wisdom, insight, guidance, and a compelling glimpse into his own personal life (both tragedy and triumph). you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wait ever more impatiently for the return of arrested development. i would spend t a funny, bold, sad, touching, self-deprecating, fascinating memoir, jeffrey tambor's are you anybody? takes you through the actor's life on both stage and screen. from his youth and early commercial work to his starring role on transparent, tambor opens up candidly, offering wisdom, insight, guidance, and a compelling glimpse into his own personal life (both tragedy and triumph). you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wait ever more impatiently for the return of arrested development. i would spend the rest of my life looking for that red bowtie, trying to connect to that feeling it gave me, that access, that magic. i sometimes struggle to find it, and on occasion i do, and in the most unexpected places—onstage, on a set, in a grocery store, behind the wheel of a car in a strange town, in a book, as a sidekick, as twin brothers, and, to no one's surprise more than mine, as a woman.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I've enjoyed watching Jeffrey Tambor for more than 30 years, his appearances on Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law stand out. This book is perfect Tambor - droll, witty, and honest. I'm now looking forward to watching the performances that I missed because they weren't on network TV - the ones that made him an "anybody." As both a reader and as a seldom performing actor, I'd read this book again. I've enjoyed watching Jeffrey Tambor for more than 30 years, his appearances on Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law stand out. This book is perfect Tambor - droll, witty, and honest. I'm now looking forward to watching the performances that I missed because they weren't on network TV - the ones that made him an "anybody." As both a reader and as a seldom performing actor, I'd read this book again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daria Zeoli

    I highly recommend listening to Tambor read the audiobook of his memoir. Funny, sweet, insightful, heartbreaking at times. I enjoyed the author's company on my morning walks this week. I highly recommend listening to Tambor read the audiobook of his memoir. Funny, sweet, insightful, heartbreaking at times. I enjoyed the author's company on my morning walks this week.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Morris

    So I'm behind on reviewing the books I've won, and read, through the Goodreads First Reads program. I'm refraining from giving this a star rating because recent events have clouded my judgement now. It doesn't seem fair to rate it now. Thank you to the publisher, all the same. So I'm behind on reviewing the books I've won, and read, through the Goodreads First Reads program. I'm refraining from giving this a star rating because recent events have clouded my judgement now. It doesn't seem fair to rate it now. Thank you to the publisher, all the same.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    What an exceptionally lovely man. I am truly impressed by Jeffrey Tambor. Not only is he a consummate actor but he is also a beautiful human being. Jeffrey wove an intricate tapestry with tales of his life. He was candid, heartfelt and inspiring. And he forged his own literary structure for this memoir, following threads of interest and writing, ultimately, a series of excellent short stories about his life. I am a fan.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christine Cody

    Jeffrey Tambor begins this beautiful memoir with a series of letters involving requests for him to write a memoir and his very strong refusal, believing he is definitely not a writer. I began reading this book by standing next to my bookshelf (that holds all the books I have borrowed from the library) and deciding to scan "the first few pages" to see what it was like. Before I knew it, I had read the first three chapters and was still standing in my foyer. Tambor is as entertaining an author as Jeffrey Tambor begins this beautiful memoir with a series of letters involving requests for him to write a memoir and his very strong refusal, believing he is definitely not a writer. I began reading this book by standing next to my bookshelf (that holds all the books I have borrowed from the library) and deciding to scan "the first few pages" to see what it was like. Before I knew it, I had read the first three chapters and was still standing in my foyer. Tambor is as entertaining an author as he is an actor: touching, honest, hilarious, and heartbreaking. The first time I saw Jeffrey Tambor, we were both jogging on the indoor track at our local San Fernando Valley health club. It was before "The Larry Sanders Show," but he was already a very familiar character actor and I remember noticing him: not because he was famous (when you live in L.A., you become accustomed to encountering performers at all levels of fame), but because he was so intense and focused. Jogging for me was always a bit of a torture, even when I was in good shape. Thus, I was always looking around at everyone and everything to be distracted. This man looked like he wasn't even there with his body, just getting the benefit of the run while his mind was elsewhere. Now that I've read this book, I'm certain I read him correctly. Tambor had a difficult childhood, from dealing with the alienation he felt as one of only three Jewish children in his classroom, to the pain of having an alcoholic mother who not only never praised him but often shouted how much she hated him, to the 'vultures' as he calls them, the voices in his head whom he carried around with him for years (even possibly to this day) reminding him what a "s*#t" he was. But from the time as a very young boy he first discovered a local theater, he was hooked. And he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He remained in his home town and attended San Francisco State, then attended graduate school at Wayne State U in Detroit, where he was soon immersed in theater, teaching, studying, and performing in repertory theater, one of the best ways for actors to learn and to develop the dedication that can distinguish an artist from a wannabe. He has written this book rather like a series of stories, each of them dealing with important elements of his life and personality, but not necessarily written in chronological order. It makes reading the book extremely enjoyable. He is honest about some of the big stumbles he made over the years. In fact, he devotes quite a few pages to his biggest mistakes, some of them very funny (in retrospect) but some I imagine mortifying while in progress. I never watched "The Larry Sanders Show" because I didn't have HBO. I didn't watch "Arrested Development" simply because for some reason it was out of my radar. Yet as soon as I heard about "Transparent," I was ready for it, mostly because he was in it and also because the subject is so important. When he reached the "Transparent" section of the book, I learned so much about his process and his tenderness for Mort/Maura, his respect for the transgendered community, and his devotion to be certain he never does anything in this role that would smack of insincerity or caricature. With Jeffrey Tambor playing Maura, I'm certain we will always witness honesty. After reading this book, I'm planning to start streaming "Arrested Development," and will find a way to watch "The Larry Sanders Show." In the meantime, "Transparent" remains one of my favorite shows. The show affects me so emotionally, I can't stream a bunch of the shows all at once. I watch only two or three in one sitting. Then I need a break from the Pfeffermans ...what a dysfunctional family. Maura is the most stable of the bunch. And she's just learning how to be the woman she always knew she was. I'm so grateful Tambor finally gave in to the people who wanted him to write his memoir. It's a beautiful thing indeed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    Initial Impression: This was a good look into Jeffrey Tambor's life and acting career. I was hoping for more about Arrested Development, though. There's only about 10 minutes about it. However, it has convinced me that Transparent may be worth a watch. Initial Impression: This was a good look into Jeffrey Tambor's life and acting career. I was hoping for more about Arrested Development, though. There's only about 10 minutes about it. However, it has convinced me that Transparent may be worth a watch.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    I didn't know anything about Jeffrey Tambor before reading this, really, except that I enjoyed his acting. This memoir endeared him to me as a human person, which is always nice to find. I didn't know anything about Jeffrey Tambor before reading this, really, except that I enjoyed his acting. This memoir endeared him to me as a human person, which is always nice to find.

  11. 4 out of 5

    W. Whalin

    An Excellent Memoir & Audiobook Actor Jeffrey Tamborn is a fascinating storyteller. I listen to a number of memoirs and can often tell in the first few minutes if the book is going to be one to hear to the end. ARE YOU ANYBODY? is excellent and worthy of your attention. Born in a Jewish family, Tamborn at one point says that every character he has ever acted is Jewish. The details about his growing up years and the passing of his older brother, Larry, at 36 from alcoholism were interesting. His l An Excellent Memoir & Audiobook Actor Jeffrey Tamborn is a fascinating storyteller. I listen to a number of memoirs and can often tell in the first few minutes if the book is going to be one to hear to the end. ARE YOU ANYBODY? is excellent and worthy of your attention. Born in a Jewish family, Tamborn at one point says that every character he has ever acted is Jewish. The details about his growing up years and the passing of his older brother, Larry, at 36 from alcoholism were interesting. His love of story and acting shines in the pages of this book. While Tamborn has been in many productions of plays, movies and television shows, the only performance that I recognized was his role as the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie (where you could not easily recognize him). I enjoyed listening to this terrific audiobook. One of his key philosophies is to Be Always Awesome. At 72 with five children—a number of them in grade school, Tamborn has loads of insights about how to stay connected to his family in this book. I loved how he writes about his children and their relationship. Throughout the book there are some occasional four-letter words, yet for anyone in the creative arts (acting, writing, etc) there are great life lessons built into this book. As a long-time writer, I identified a great deal with Tamborn’s teaching and insights. ARE YOU ANYBODY? contains a number of hard-earned lessons through Taborn’s lengthy career. I highly recommend this audiobook and heard it cover to cover.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aisling

    "If there is a God, She lives within the sound of laughter. I search for laughter like one of those old men with a metal detector on the beach looking for pennies. Laugher is the reason I'm living." Beautiful, right? I read that bit multiple times. This is almost 200 pages in so don't think the whole book is deeply moving and profound like this, nor is it a deeply philosophical hard slog; especially in the beginning it is quite choppy and almost glib. But what Mr. Tambor does is, by anecdote aft "If there is a God, She lives within the sound of laughter. I search for laughter like one of those old men with a metal detector on the beach looking for pennies. Laugher is the reason I'm living." Beautiful, right? I read that bit multiple times. This is almost 200 pages in so don't think the whole book is deeply moving and profound like this, nor is it a deeply philosophical hard slog; especially in the beginning it is quite choppy and almost glib. But what Mr. Tambor does is, by anecdote after anecdote, truly build a memoir. It is not only soul baring but highly educational (actors, comedians--buy this book!), entertaining, and chronicles the truly extraordinary life of an amazing man. This is my first memoir in a long time (because you know they can be dreadful) but I am so, so glad I read it. You really can't ask for more than a book amuse, move, educate and make you think/change you in some way. This book does. Five stars is not enough. Hi, Mr. Tambor! (No, I'm not conceited enough to think Mr. Tambor will read my review--read his book and you will know why I wrote that.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Listen to the audiobook version narrated by Jeffrey Tambor. Love the George C. Scott stories in Chapter 8. "I am in awe of teachers. I've had many over the years, but several stand out for how much they inspired me - a handful actually saved my life. One of the key things I've learned in my career is how important it is to work with people who make you better. Sometimes we work with people out of obligation, but if they're not making us better, there's no point. Work with people who give you conf Listen to the audiobook version narrated by Jeffrey Tambor. Love the George C. Scott stories in Chapter 8. "I am in awe of teachers. I've had many over the years, but several stand out for how much they inspired me - a handful actually saved my life. One of the key things I've learned in my career is how important it is to work with people who make you better. Sometimes we work with people out of obligation, but if they're not making us better, there's no point. Work with people who give you confidence, who have confidence in you. This doesn't mean you'll always work with nice guys; far from it. In fact, I would be wary of nice guys. Forget about bedside manner. When I went all Sonja Henie in Sly Fox, Arthur Penn knocked me back to my senses and he wasn't nice about it. But even in that, he was giving me credit that I could handle it and correct my performance." "The ending [of The Larry Sanders Show] is famous... we filmed [an alternative] scene with Larry and his girlfriend...walking through a petting zoo... the part I loved was when the camera pulls back to show Hank following at a distance, as though he simply couldn't bear to be separated from Larry."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This is a memoir of Jeffrey Tambor. it is more like snippets from his life. He did not have a very happy childhood. His mother was very cold and distant. His dad was not there for him. He had some tragedies involving his family. Jeffrey writes about his career the good and the bad. Actors and actresses he has worked with. His work on Arrested Development, and Transgender. Along with stage roles. Embarrassing moments in his career. His later in life marriage to his second wife and four children b This is a memoir of Jeffrey Tambor. it is more like snippets from his life. He did not have a very happy childhood. His mother was very cold and distant. His dad was not there for him. He had some tragedies involving his family. Jeffrey writes about his career the good and the bad. Actors and actresses he has worked with. His work on Arrested Development, and Transgender. Along with stage roles. Embarrassing moments in his career. His later in life marriage to his second wife and four children born when he was in his sixties. He shares many other memoirs of his life as well. A pretty good memoir . I enjoyed reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Went to Jeffrey Tambor's book signing at Skylight Books in Los Angeles (turns out he's a co-owner of the store, an early investor). Very lovely, funny man and book feels like having a conversation with him - also poignant and honest about his upbringing with an alcoholic parent. Gives good advice for actors that he's received along the way, also applicable to life in general. Nice chapter about Garry Shandling (R.I.P). Went to Jeffrey Tambor's book signing at Skylight Books in Los Angeles (turns out he's a co-owner of the store, an early investor). Very lovely, funny man and book feels like having a conversation with him - also poignant and honest about his upbringing with an alcoholic parent. Gives good advice for actors that he's received along the way, also applicable to life in general. Nice chapter about Garry Shandling (R.I.P).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex Simons

    Jeffrey Tambor is the epitome of the word "mensch." He unabashedly loves his family, gives back to his profession, and on top of that, is a very funny man. I really enjoyed learning about his life and what he's learned along the way. I first discovered him as Hank Kingsley on the Larry Sanders Show, and just loved his vulnerability as a character and actor. This book explains so much about how he got from here to there. The audio book, as read by Mr. Tambor, is really well done. Jeffrey Tambor is the epitome of the word "mensch." He unabashedly loves his family, gives back to his profession, and on top of that, is a very funny man. I really enjoyed learning about his life and what he's learned along the way. I first discovered him as Hank Kingsley on the Larry Sanders Show, and just loved his vulnerability as a character and actor. This book explains so much about how he got from here to there. The audio book, as read by Mr. Tambor, is really well done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dusti

    This new work by Jeffrey Tambor is candid, hilarious, and heartwarming. In every sentence he makes himself vulnerable to the reader, taking us into his mind and sharing his strengths, his weaknesses, his fears, and his successes. I loved every second of this book and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys memoirs or who are fans of Mr. Tambor's work. This new work by Jeffrey Tambor is candid, hilarious, and heartwarming. In every sentence he makes himself vulnerable to the reader, taking us into his mind and sharing his strengths, his weaknesses, his fears, and his successes. I loved every second of this book and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys memoirs or who are fans of Mr. Tambor's work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jason Roland

    It was interesting and at times very funny. His swearing was distracting however. It's like he's 12 years old and just learned the f-word; trying to shock his parents. Just use language. It's lazy and isn't shocking. It was interesting and at times very funny. His swearing was distracting however. It's like he's 12 years old and just learned the f-word; trying to shock his parents. Just use language. It's lazy and isn't shocking.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Bakst

    New appreciation for actors... and Jeffrey Tambor himself... I will look at his work and many if not all things quite differently now...thank you

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    One of the best memoirs I've read to date. It's funny, as you would expect, and witty but mostly it is so so wise as Tambor is incredibly generous with all that he's learned. One of the best memoirs I've read to date. It's funny, as you would expect, and witty but mostly it is so so wise as Tambor is incredibly generous with all that he's learned.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Grier Kantor

    3.5 stars. I loved him in Arrested Development and Transparent and now can't wait to go back and watch him in the Larry Sanders Show. 3.5 stars. I loved him in Arrested Development and Transparent and now can't wait to go back and watch him in the Larry Sanders Show.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I scored this book at Bookcon signed. He wasn't very personable when I met him, seemed distracted or whatever but I enjoyed the read. I scored this book at Bookcon signed. He wasn't very personable when I met him, seemed distracted or whatever but I enjoyed the read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Jeffrey Tambor, a SF native, was interviewed in the SF Chronicle (he went to Lincoln HS and SFSU). This book is sort of a narrative scrapbook--little stories about his life, some of them funny, some of them tragic and awful, but all told with candor and without self pity. Some parts are a little pithy (Hi Jeffrey!), but on the whole, a really great perspective of what it's like to be a 70-year-old actor and having come full circle: from the modest parts, hard lessons learned (I'm not right for t Jeffrey Tambor, a SF native, was interviewed in the SF Chronicle (he went to Lincoln HS and SFSU). This book is sort of a narrative scrapbook--little stories about his life, some of them funny, some of them tragic and awful, but all told with candor and without self pity. Some parts are a little pithy (Hi Jeffrey!), but on the whole, a really great perspective of what it's like to be a 70-year-old actor and having come full circle: from the modest parts, hard lessons learned (I'm not right for this part), tough family story, to finding the parts you were born to play (Larry Sanders Show), and everything turning out okay. Here's a few of my favorites: p.52. He called his high school drama teacher to thank him and told him "You changed everything. Is there anything I can do for you?" His teachers said, "Yes. Call back." p.81. The key is how important it is to work with people who make you better. Sometimes, it's out of obligation. But if it's not making us better, then what's the point? p.90. Jeffrey, while an author and major actor, is also a regular dad. "Did you know field hockey sticks are $150? It's a stick!" p.98. The power of positive affirmations. "Attaboy", "He knows what he's doing", and the roughly translated "There you are". p.129. The 12 most embarrassing moments--hysterical!! This chapter alone is worth the price of the book. And all of them make Jeffrey human and relate-able. p.144. "The eyes on you: the observed will change to meet the expectations of the observer." This seems like a parenting lesson. "But dopamine and serotonin flow when you play; makes you joyful and fearless." p.151. "There is no straight line to success." You must fail in love, life, and career, to become great. p.174. "The Thrall vs. Fuck'em" Don't go to the dance with the popular girl who doesn't like you. Go with someone else. Have confidence and loyalty to yourself. Jeffrey describes the confidence that comes when you have "no fucks left to give." "You should always act like your father just died." p.181. Laughter is Darwinian. It gives you renewed courage. p.203. Here we learn that Jeffrey was a Scientologist, just like Leah! I was so happy to that I had read Leah Remini's book, because it illuminated this chapter for me. I wanted to cheer when he decided, "I'm out." p.216. My new, absolute favorite quote: "People are ridiculous." This chapter about watching people, taking notes, seeing the tiny details that give acting (and writing) its honesty. I didn't realize that other people do this. I do this. And people ARE ridiculous.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I have to admit, I picked this book up because my kid goes to school with one of Mr. Tambor's kids, and I occasionally see the Tambors at school functions, but I'm too shy to talk to them. I wish all of the parents of my district would have autobiographies so I could understand where they're coming from a little better. Also, I like Mr. Tambor as an actor. I think I tend to dismiss acting as something anyone who is comfortable enough to speak in front of an audience could probably do. This book h I have to admit, I picked this book up because my kid goes to school with one of Mr. Tambor's kids, and I occasionally see the Tambors at school functions, but I'm too shy to talk to them. I wish all of the parents of my district would have autobiographies so I could understand where they're coming from a little better. Also, I like Mr. Tambor as an actor. I think I tend to dismiss acting as something anyone who is comfortable enough to speak in front of an audience could probably do. This book helped remind me that it is an art form that people have to study and constantly hone their skills at. I was also expecting that Mr. Tambor had a childhood of privilege and a loving supporting family that would have been behind him regardless of whether or not he had been a successful actor. This did not appear to be the case in his life. He just got the acting bug and persevered. It's a lot more complicated than that, but you will have to read the book. I would have never been brave enough to try to make a living as a character actor. There are a lot of interesting and funny anecdotes from his childhood and throughout his career up to the time he won the much deserved Emmy for "Transparent." This would have gotten five stars, but there is something that has bothered me for over 35 years that wasn't addressed in this book. My confusion with the Jeffery P. Brookes III character from "The Ropers." and Winston Cromwell III character from "Three's Company." I thought the Cromwell character had preceded the Brookes character but apparently it was the other way around. Anyway, some anecdotes about his involvement in those two shows would have been the cherry on top of the sundae for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shani

    If you like Jeffrey Tambor and you enjoy memoirs, this one takes the cake. "Laughter is the reason I’m living." And this book made me laugh out loud on several occasions. I loved hearing his backstory. I only hope he writes more! "Lots of people read before bed; I start every single day reading....For me, reading isn’t just what I read—whether it’s a novel, nonfiction, my beloved New Yorker—it’s the actual act itself....to me reading is submitting to another—and yes, a “higher”—power. It is subm If you like Jeffrey Tambor and you enjoy memoirs, this one takes the cake. "Laughter is the reason I’m living." And this book made me laugh out loud on several occasions. I loved hearing his backstory. I only hope he writes more! "Lots of people read before bed; I start every single day reading....For me, reading isn’t just what I read—whether it’s a novel, nonfiction, my beloved New Yorker—it’s the actual act itself....to me reading is submitting to another—and yes, a “higher”—power. It is submitting to a physical and mental yearning that is above and beyond and more." "I am in awe of teachers. I’ve had many over the years, but several stand out for how much they inspired me—a handful actually saved my life. One of the key things I’ve learned in my career is how important it is to work with people who make you better. Sometimes we work with people out of obligation, but if they’re not making us better, there’s no point. Work with people who give you confidence, who have confidence in you." "My older daughter, Molly, is in her late thirties—she’s forty-one—" "Recently I read of a CEO of a very successful company, who says this to his people: You will not be fired here for making mistakes. You will be fired here for not making mistakes. I want 50 percent errors. I want quick decisions. I want innovation. I want you to make big-ass mistakes. That’s why we invented the pencil, because there’s an eraser." "Dopamine and serotonin flow through the body when you play. It makes you joyful and fearless. When you submit to the eyes being on you, the work ceases to be play and becomes something else, something rigid, something expected." "

  26. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I really discovered Jeffrey Tambor earlier this year when I was floored by his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman on the series Transparent. A few weeks later he was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and promoted this, his first, book. I immediately requested it from my library. This has been one of those books that I didn't want to put down. Tambor has had an interesting and challenging life. And, he shares a lot of the wisdom his experiences have given him. At first blush it may seem to I really discovered Jeffrey Tambor earlier this year when I was floored by his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman on the series Transparent. A few weeks later he was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and promoted this, his first, book. I immediately requested it from my library. This has been one of those books that I didn't want to put down. Tambor has had an interesting and challenging life. And, he shares a lot of the wisdom his experiences have given him. At first blush it may seem to be applicable just to actors but it is genuinely applicable to us all. His style of writing and the way he arranged the chapters has been a pleasure to read. It's been like getting to know someone you've seen around and thought you'd like to get to know. His written voice is very casual and familiar as he tells stories of his experiences that resonate with a truth and insightful revelation that left me wondering why he hasn't had more and bigger roles. And yet, I have the sense if he had, he'd be a much different person than he is today-and not nearly as interesting. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if he agreed and I suspect he wouldn't necessarily change anything in his life. He seems sincerely happy and contented with how his life has turned out. I look forward to hearing, seeing and reading more great things from and about Mr. Tambor in the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janette

    There are certain people in life who are just repellent on a gut level, even though I've never met them and don't personally know them. I usually don't initially know why I feel that way until details later emerge to confirm to my conscious mind what my subconscious was apparently trying to tell me all along. That is certainly the case for me when it comes to Jeffrey Tambor. I've never met the man, but have seen him in a few things and have always, always felt an intense dislike. So when I saw t There are certain people in life who are just repellent on a gut level, even though I've never met them and don't personally know them. I usually don't initially know why I feel that way until details later emerge to confirm to my conscious mind what my subconscious was apparently trying to tell me all along. That is certainly the case for me when it comes to Jeffrey Tambor. I've never met the man, but have seen him in a few things and have always, always felt an intense dislike. So when I saw this book in the library, I decided to check it out and at least find out about his life to either justify or dispel my feelings. But slogging my way through this autobiography finally shed light on why this dude has always repulsed me. In a nutshell, this book is little more than self-absorbed drivel generously littered with F-bombs, ridiculous liberal tripe, and pathetic virtue signaling. Since I don't mind giving credit where it's due, I will admit that there were a couple of funny stories; however, they weren't so hilarious that they were worth enduring the rest of this garbage. Actors are a dime a dozen and the way some--like Tambor--pontificate about their "cr-ahft" as if playing make-believe were akin to splitting the atom is just absurd. There's absolutely nothing worthwhile here and, frankly, I deeply regret wasting valuable time on it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    There are lots of reviews of this so no reason for me to try to say much on this one. I found this interesting even though I suspect I am one of very few readers who had not watched the television programs that made him the most well known. Like most memoirs, the structure starts out chronologically but eventually it jumps around more by topic, which works well in this case. He leaves discussion of this most well known TV work until towards the end, in three separate chapters (one per program) th There are lots of reviews of this so no reason for me to try to say much on this one. I found this interesting even though I suspect I am one of very few readers who had not watched the television programs that made him the most well known. Like most memoirs, the structure starts out chronologically but eventually it jumps around more by topic, which works well in this case. He leaves discussion of this most well known TV work until towards the end, in three separate chapters (one per program) that I thought were less interesting than a lot of the rest of it. As with other modern memoirs of sports figures or actors, he is more critical of others in discussions of earlier parts of his life, although at least he is generally not critical of his earlier two wives. And he certainly says many screwy things about himself. Occasionally one is amazed by how much he gets done, but then there are reminders that his life is not our life (or anyway, my life) when he mentions his personal assistant. Yes, if I had a personal assistant I suspect I would feel I was getting a lot more done. Even though I don't identify much with the author, this was very readable - in fact, I got through it over a weekend. In places it is funny, in places thoughtful.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Davida

    p. 172 "A friend of mine used to begin his day by saying, 'I'm going to work to get fired today.' That was his version of muttering through the peephole. He assumed an attitude that said, 'Fuck it. Fire me if you don't like it.' It freed him to do his work unfettered by fear." p. 174 "But that's the thrall, baby, that's how it works its spell: it picks the schmuck, then you end up trying to please him. Finally, I got so sick of being in thrall, I got to 'fuck 'em.' 'Fuck 'em' says, 'I don't care if p. 172 "A friend of mine used to begin his day by saying, 'I'm going to work to get fired today.' That was his version of muttering through the peephole. He assumed an attitude that said, 'Fuck it. Fire me if you don't like it.' It freed him to do his work unfettered by fear." p. 174 "But that's the thrall, baby, that's how it works its spell: it picks the schmuck, then you end up trying to please him. Finally, I got so sick of being in thrall, I got to 'fuck 'em.' 'Fuck 'em' says, 'I don't care if you like me, here I am. This is all of me. I'm going to give you everything, because I don't care what you think. This is how it goes.' When I first did commercials, I used to walk in and pick out the person who voted against me. There would be eighteen smiling faces and one asshole frowning, the one who had said, 'I don't like that guy.' I would pick that guy out and I would ruin my whole day trying to get that son of a bitch to like me. Guess what? It never worked. It wasn't me, it was him. That guy was already broken; there was nothing I could do to change it. So fuck 'em. " p. 175 "Con = with; fidence = loyalty to oneself. Loyalty to oneself. Fuck 'em." p. 181 reference to Steve McQueen The Great Escape

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway! I like to think that Jeffrey Tambor, avid reader and co-owner of a bookstore, hand-picked me to win because he thought my to-read list was respectful and interesting. Hi Jeffrey! Alas, thank you to Goodreads and Penguin Random House! I love Jeffrey Tambor, so it's no stretch for me to give a five-star rating. Oh but he earned it. Right off the bat he got me feeling so so good with his story of the Red Bow Tie. It made him tenderhearted and real, and he rem I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway! I like to think that Jeffrey Tambor, avid reader and co-owner of a bookstore, hand-picked me to win because he thought my to-read list was respectful and interesting. Hi Jeffrey! Alas, thank you to Goodreads and Penguin Random House! I love Jeffrey Tambor, so it's no stretch for me to give a five-star rating. Oh but he earned it. Right off the bat he got me feeling so so good with his story of the Red Bow Tie. It made him tenderhearted and real, and he remains real throughout the book. You'll learn the good and the bad of his childhood and the amazing story of his own family, his love of fatherhood. His career experiences are always interesting, while his name-dropping is never indulgent or overdone. Everything a skit, a story, a lesson. And this is my favorite: To be clear, dear reader, the phrase is "fuck 'em." It's not "fuck them." It's not "fuck you"- especially not "fuck you," never "fuck you." It's "fuck 'em." It should really be written fuckem, actually. It's an attitude - not of hatred or aggression - but of freedom from self-censorship and the need to please.

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