Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PASTA
When stars of long-running tv series finally play their last scenes, they often enlist posthaste in another show, try for a feature film career or become mainstays of made-for-TV movies. But Michael Tucker, 50, who starred for eight seasons as the adorably nebbishy tax specialist Stuart Markowitz on L. A. Law, took another route, the one leading north out of town, and wrote his first book, I Never Forget a Meal, a wryly charming autobiography with a side order of recipes. "A year or so before LA. Law was over, I decided that becoming rich and famous was great but that maintaining fame and fortune was the worst job in the world. I'd rather clean toilets," says Tucker, who now lives with his L.A. Law costar and wife of 21 years, Jill Eikenberry, in Mill Valley, Calif., near San Francisco, with their son Max, 13, in a 1920s cottage "with no architectural integrity whatsoever," but with a dandy new kitchen featuring a six-burner stove. "Fame was all very heady," admits Tucker, who has one child from an earlier marriage. "But as my daughter Alison says, 'It was never you guys.' We're really old hippies.' "
I Never Forget a Meal grew out of Tucker's scribbled memories of a spectacular crab feast from his Baltimore boyhood. He showed it to a New York agent who held on to it for a month, then phoned and proclaimed, "Michael Tucker, you're a writer."
"I cried," confessed the author, who while well into his second book (topic: love, sex and life after fame) hasn't given up acting. He'll be making occasional guest appearances on the new HBO series Tracey Takes On and is now appearing in the American Conservatory Theater's production of The Tempest. And, of course, he's doing two or three dinner performances a week—generally French and Italian—in front of his stove. "Cooking," says Tucker, "is a lot like making love. It just takes a little longer to clean up."
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