Dysfunction, addiction, courage and hope: A Hollywood story with a happy ending
The hardest part of a glamorous life, of any life, is to find your feet and stay standing.
North of Hollywood dips under the surface of showbiz and the usual celebrity encounters to unreel the story of a dysfunctional young actor who becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams.
When Rick Lenz is plucked out of Broadway as the only member of the original cast of “Cactus Flower” to star in its film version, he finds himself opposite gilded screen names like Ingrid Bergman, Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn. The film’s smashing success finds a new star in Lenz and leads him to a smorgasbord of television and film roles acting opposite Peter Sellers, Jackie Gleason, John Wayne, and many more.
Somewhere within this bewildering sweep of success, Lenz’s life flies apart. His third child is born. His second marriage ends. He makes a handful of lunatic career decisions and he finds himself standing alone and naked on the stage of a tiny theater. At that moment, Lenz’s life has dropped out of frame into a helpless freefall.
Written with piercing honesty, North of Hollywood unwinds as a psychological cliffhanger, but between the tragedy and comedy the reel dips even deeper into a love story. When Lenz discovers astonishing courage and compassion in a woman named Linda, he begins to find the strength to face his life’s biggest plot twists yet: the fallout of his personal and professional fiascoes, his sister’s battle with cancer, and his daughter’s life-and-death struggle with addiction.
As one critic puts it, “If you want to believe happy endings are possible in real life, even when real life is show business, take a look at North of Hollywood.”
See why this touching, bittersweet remembrance resonates with readers and critics.
- 2012 Winner of the Foreword Book Reviews Book of the Year Award, Performing Arts
- 2012 Winner of the Los Angeles Book Festival Award, Memoir
- 2012 Runner-Up in the London Book Festival, Memoir
- 2012 Runner-Up in the Beach Book Festival, Memoir
- 2012 Runner-Up in the Hollywood Book Festival, Memoir
What readers are saying about North of Hollywood:
“Most people don’t know the simple truth that Lenz reveals in this captivating autobiography: Actors are real people, and acting is a real job… Lenz helps us focus on the real point: The hardest part of a glamorous life, of any life, is to find one’s feet and stay standing.” – US REVIEW OF BOOKS: A Recommended Review
“An essential book for anyone who has ever said they want to be an actor and anyone who was lucky enough not to.” – MICHAEL KAHN, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theater in Washington D.C.; former head of drama at The Juilliard School
“…an often funny, sometimes gut wrenching, and immensely engaging true tale of one actor’s journey… If you want to believe happy endings are possible in real life, even when real life is show business, take a look at North of Hollywood.” – TOMMY KENDRICK, ACTORS TALK podcast
Also by Rick Lenz: THE ALEXANDRITE: A TIME-TRAVEL NOIR
A time-travel noir that slips between the shimmering worlds of modern and mid-century Los Angeles.
Available in e-book and paperback now