Actors turned novelists -- Respect for their writing is what Sylvester Stallone, Joan Collins and other actors want for their books

By Peter Gerstenzang
Updated April 29, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Oh, those crazy actors. They have fortune and fame. What more do they want? Respect-the kind that comes from writing a novel. Will any of these celebrities knock Faulkner off the Classics shelf? Uh, no. Are their books entertaining? Yes-though mostly in ways the authors never intended. If you were Carried away by Ms. Fisher’s latest, or plan to read Meg Tilly’s new novel, check out these other stars, past and present.

Sylvester Stallone Book: Paradise Alley Plot: The three Carboni brothers try like heck to get out of Hell’s Kitchen in the summer of 1946. Literary role models: A dash of Damon Runyon, a whiff of Mario Puzo. Memorable quote: ”’You make me amazed! Here’s a one-way ticket outta this slumbox-where’s ya guts?”’

Joan Collins Book: Love & Desire & Hate Plot: Six shady showbiz types end up working on the same movie. They do not get along. Literary role model: Her sister, Jackie Collins, minus the wit. Memorable quote: ”How could he be with that slut-child who’d slept with half the gestapo in Paris? Surely she wasn’t his fiancee?”

Kirk Douglas Book: Dance With the Devil Plot: Danny Dennison, a hot Hollywood director, is hiding a terrible secret. Does it get out and ruin his life? Yep. Literary role model: Joan Collins. Memorable quote: ”He raced across rooftops, sweating and trembling, and came face to face with Luba, stark naked, laughing in his face, ‘Phony-phony!!!”’

Fannie Flag Book: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe Plot: Old Mrs. Threadgoode recounts her youth to her sad friend Evelyn. Literary role model: Eudora Welty. Memorable quote: ”’Mrs. Threadgoode, did you say that Idgie and Rugh had a little boy?’ ”’Oh, yes, Stump, and you never saw a more manly little fella. Even when he lost his arm.”’

William Shatner Book: Tekwar Plot: Ex-cop Jake Cardigan is framed. He is sentenced to be frozen. When he’s thawed out, is he ever mad! Literary role model: William Gibson. Memorable quote: ”’Beth, I think I should apologize for what I said to you this afternoon.’ ”’For calling me an android? It’s probably a good idea to remind me… so I don’t get delusions of humanity.”’

David Niven Book: Go Slowly, Come Back Quickly Plot: The heroic escapades of Stani Skolimowski, football star, stuntman, photographer, and lover. Literary role model: Noel Coward. Memorable quote: ”’I want to go to Hollywood and be a great big glamorous movie star! Now, stop talking and let me get on top so I can see your face.’ Stani’s next remark was drowned in kisses.”

Peter Ustinov Book: Krumnagel Plot: An American policeman, traveling in England, accidentally shoots a Scot. He then learns about justice-British-style. Literary role model: Kingsley Amis. Memorable quote: ”’See the great helping hand stretched out to the world!’ cried Jock in a hail of saliva. ‘You great gorilla you, farting your platitudes.”’

Thomas Tryon Book: All That Glitters Plot: The rise and fall of five famous actresses who all share the same agent (and the same lover). Literary role model: Jacqueline Susann. Memorable quote: “Wise in the ways of her sex, Vi was neither as surprised nor as shocked as I. ‘Bitches, dear, we’re all bitches,’ she said matter-of- factly.”

Orson Welles Book: Mr. Arkadin Plot: A rich and powerful man who has lost his memory hires an investigator to find out who he really is. Literary role model: Graham Greene, just not quite as good. Memorable quote: “‘That is the real secret, van Stratten. And you’re the only human I have ever told it to. I don’t know who I am.'”