With a title like Stories I Only Tell My Friends, you expect dirt — you know, the good stuff. And Rob Lowe, the genial TV mainstay (Parks and Recreation, Brothers & Sisters) whose three-decade showbiz career stretches back to Brat Pack stardom and beyond, is happy to oblige. The 47-year-old actor’s autobiography is full of dish about his rise to heartthrob status in movies like 1983’s The Outsiders (where he bonded with Tom Cruise); his flings with Demi Moore, Nastassja Kinski, and Princess Stephanie of Monaco; his struggles with alcoholism and womanizing (”I’ve taken to using MTV as a sort of home-shopping network,” Lowe writes of his Reagan-era dating tactics, ”and it’s not beneath me to call up to get the contacts of the sexy dancer in the latest Sting video”); and tension with his West Wing costars. In snappy, present-tense prose, Lowe name-drops a Hollywood who’s who, though the book’s most heartfelt passages focus on his troubled mother and his two sons with his wife, Sheryl.
But now let’s talk about the elephants in the room — because Lowe sure won’t. In 1988, the actor pioneered the modern-day celebrity sex tape when a video of him and a friend with two girls — one of whom turned out to be 16 — went public. The scandal, which changed the course of Lowe’s life and career (not to mention tabloid culture), is glossed over in just four nonchalant paragraphs. His 2008 nanny scandal — involving sexual harassment and blackmail accusations — is missing altogether. Those glaring omissions cast a pall over the book. In the end, despite its pretense of inner-circle honesty, Lowe’s memoir turns out to be a bit like the public persona he has so diligently cultivated in his TV and movie work: affable and surprisingly smart, but often just a little too slick for his own good. B
Rob Lowe’s A-List Anecdotes
In his new autobiography, the actor shares memories about dozens of Hollywood stars, both past and present. Here are a few of the more notable ones.
Francis Ford Coppola
”’You know, Rob, to me The Godfather is like that lamp,’ he says, pointing. ‘It exists. It’s right there. People have opinions about it…. The real Godfather for me is the experience I had making it.”’
”I do manage to spend time with Cruise, who is shooting Risky Business in town…. But since both of us are so busy, it isn’t the same. Also, Tom has a new perspective on his acting style, telling me, ‘I want to spend time hanging with you but Joel [his character] doesn’t.”’
”The man has a shot of espresso before every close-up…. Farley eats two giant porterhouse steaks… [placing] an entire square [of butter] on top of each bite of both his steaks…. He giggles like a baby. ‘It needs a hat!”’
”I am deeply infatuated with her, but she informs me that she is a virgin and is saving herself for Jackson Browne, whom she has never met…. I swallow my disappointment, tell her she’s chosen well, and wish her Godspeed.”
”In Cary Grant’s bedroom, as the credits roll [on the 1980 TV movie Schoolboy Father], no one says a word. Then finally, from Cary, ‘Young maaan, you’re quite goood. You remind me very much of a young Warren Beatty.”’