The Leader of the Pack

I’ve been on a biography kick lately. Celebrity autobiographies are my favorite. It’s like reading an extended version of People magazine. I just finished Rob Lowe‘s Stories I Only Tell My Friends and loved it. It was a blast from the past, featuring big name actors before they were famous. Lowe’s vignettes are enjoyable, surprising the reader at the end of a story with the actor’s name he was talking to. Join me for a walk through the 1980s and meet some colleagues that helped pave the way to Lowe’s stardom. He gives Kevin Bacon a run for his money with the six degrees of separation!

Rob used to make movies in the streets of Malibu with Sean and Chris Penn. Chris directed the movies using equipment he got from his father who was a director/actor. This is where Rob learned the “ropes” of listening to a director and doing whatever it takes to get the shot. The Penn brothers went on to become Hollywood kings with films such as Mystic River and Reservoir Dogs.

Rob and Chad Lowe used to hang out at the Sheen’s house. Rob used to read lines and prepare for roles with Emilio Estevez, while Chad used to take batting practice with Charlie Sheen. Chad and Charlie wanted to be professional baseball players. In later years, all four would end up making movies for a living. Charlie broke out with hits like  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Platoon, and Wall Street. While Emilio and Rob became great friends, competing for roles. Ultimately Emilio won the role of Andrew Clark in The Breakfast Club. Later, the two of them would work together in St. Elmo’s Fire and be dubbed as the Brat Pack.

Lowe sat next to Robert Downey Jr. in history class and bonded with his unique sense of humor. Downey started his career with a fellow Brat Packer, Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science: a comedy in which two high school teens create a computer-generated perfect woman. He went on to more serious roles, including Chaplin in which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Lowe began a friendship with Patrick Swayze when they first met on the set of The Outsiders. He learned a lot from fellow castmates on his first major film. He learned how to pick up women from Matt Dillon, how to take his job and status seriously from Tom Cruise, and how to truly act from C. Thomas Howell.

He chronicles his adventures past the ’80s and discusses his battle with alcoholism, how he met his wife, and how he broke into comedic roles. He adds at the end of his memoir that there just might be another book in him. I hope there is!

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian whose next show to watch will be The West Wing.

2 thoughts on “The Leader of the Pack

  1. Very interesting look into the core of the Brat Pack. I like Lowe in Parks and Recreation, it’s a good role for him.

  2. I had thought this book wouldn’t interest me, but you sure make me want to read it! Plus you put Patrick Swayze in your notes – Dirty Dancing is a fav of mine after all these years!

    Ashley Judd’s book is very good, IMHO, and I hope you give that a try. Country music fans will see lots of differences of opinion there (somebody in that family isn’t telling the truth!) , learn a lot about her work with women in poor circumstance (that’s an understatement), and there isn’t too much name dropping.

    This would be especially interesting as Wynona’s series has been on the OWN channel for a while.

    So glad the book vending machine is nearby – even with its quirks, it’s nice to get a movie at 7:00 a.m.!


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