Picks and Pans Review: Tell Me More
It must be hard to be a talk show host: You spend your whole life interviewing other people, drawing them out about their lives, their feelings, their accomplishments. For all the work you do, you barely talk about yourself at all. You must feel lucky, then, to have gotten famous enough that you're finally getting the chance to relate your anecdotes, indulge your political opinions and generally ruminate in your very own book. And the fact that you have gotten to do it more than once (this is your second memoir, right?) must mean you're really, really successful and popular.
We're all interested, Larry, in hearing about the funny-interesting-unpleasant-but-almost-always-famous people you have encountered along the way. And your self-deprecating style—that you "never pretend to be what you are not"—is nice too; most of the time you sound just like the star-struck kid from Brooklyn, N.Y., you say you always were.
But tell us about those other people, Larry. That's what we want to know. Okay, so you have theories about there being two kinds of actors (method and seat-of-the-pants). It's certainly fine that, for you, "meeting a movie star is a much bigger kick than meeting a major political figure," even though the "ultimate celebrities in America are the President and First Lady." But Larry, give us the dirt—not about your health problems, your daughter and your ex-wives, including the breakup of your most recent, brief fourth marriage; tell us more about all those celebrities who have made you a celebrity.
When you do, it's great. Like that story about Frank Sinatra getting his Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity through the mob (a story that was dramatized in the famous horse-head-in-the-bed scene from The Godfather). It's terrific that you found out that it wasn't true and that Sinatra got the part because the producer's original choice, Eli Wallach, bowed out in favor of a role in the Broadway production of Camino Real. Actually, the best part is that Sinatra, forever grateful, always sends Wallach opening-night flowers with a note that says, "You dumb actor. Thanks, Frank."
That's the kind of thing we want to hear from a man who has met 'em all, Lar. Tell us more like that. (Putnam, $21.95)