(Here’s Part One)
So where did we leave off? Ah yes — filming for The Hotel New Hampshire was over and it was back to real life. I believe Rob uses the phrase “emotionally hungover” and I loved that. Imagine the best job you have ever had — the relationships you built, the fun you had — and then imagine it all ending. Twice every year. That sounds emotionally exhausting, but that is the pace he keeps over the next decade. Two movies per year, some better than others. Brief, heated relationships and then always back to his Malibu home base.
In the summer of 1983 he heads off to New York and spends some time hanging with Andy Warhol and socialite Cornelia Guest. He tells a story of how one evening they head to Central Park to see Diana Ross. Of course it was a career defining moment for Diana Ross, and Rob Lowe was front and center. He seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time to witness interesting moments in pop culture history. I guess that’s why he gets to write a book, eh?
So it’s raining, Andy and Cornelia want to get out of the ugly weather so they end up at a bar that has created this shot called the Kamikaze. Their bartender, while a talented mixologist, ends up following his passion and pursuing an acting career. Their bartender is Bruce Willis. All of these stories end up showing up in The Andy Warhol Diaries, which makes Rob understandably feel awesome.
Hell, I feel awesome when someone links to my blog. I don’t know how I would feel if some 20th century art genius thought hanging out with me was worthy of documenting. So there’s that.
After New York he is off to London to shoot a movie called Oxford Blues. It’s about a young American who spots a foxy British woman that interests him while in Vegas. She ends up being royalty, so he heads to college in Oxford and joins the rowing team to get her attention. Yeah, I don’t know either, and the reviews make it sound terrible. But he tries to get Princess Stephanie cast in the movie because he has the hots for her, and she doesn’t respond. Life doesn’t imitate bad art, apparently. While in Europe he meets Roman Polanski in Paris about a role, and Polanski sounds as sleazy as you think he is. He also ends up hanging out with Bill Murray in a foreign hotel room sort of randomly and it all sounds a little bit Lost in Translation if you ask me, but I guess they hit it off and are professional supporters of each other to this day.
After his European jaunt he goes back the states. He tries out for Footloose despite not being able to dance and tears his meniscus during the auditions. Nice break for Kevin Bacon, I suppose. By the way, to this day Footloose is the only show I’ve ever seen on Broadway. I need to remedy this on a bucket list somewhere, STAT. Instead of doing Footloose he takes on a role in Youngblood which reunites him with Patrick Swayze. Of course Patrick Swayze shows up and kicks ass LIKE A BOSS. I’m dying to read Patrick Swayze’s memoir (of course he wrote it with his wife!) but I checked it out on audiobook at the library a couple of months back and you guys, HE NARRATES IT. Too soon, yo. Too soon. RIP.
Swayze writes a song that he suggests they put on the Youngblood Soundtrack but gets shot down. Good thing the producers of Dirty Dancing are smarter and capitalize on She’s Like the Wind. (OMG, did you know there is some awful Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears duet REMIX of this song. WHOA! How have I never heard that before? You’re welcome.)
While making Youngblood he auditions for a role in St. Elmo’s Fire. During his audition he meets Demi Moore, and well, obvs he has the hots for her. This is kind of a trend. I have a feeling Rob Lowe thinks with his head a lot, if you know what I’m saying, AND I THINK YOU DO. So he gets the role, obviously, and heads to DC where he has a great time embracing his party boy character. I mean, where he very seriously practices method acting. Yeah that’s it. When he returns to LA after filming wraps a spur of the moment dinner party is called with all of the cast mates at the Hard Rock Cafe. Oh, so 80s. My 13th birthday party was at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco and it was BADASS. So were my bangs that year, I promise.
Anyway, a reporter has been following Emilio Estevez around doing a profile for New York Magazine and so they all get together to take the guy out and show him a good time. Of course, when that “profile” of Emilio comes out, it actually ends up being an expose of young Hollywood wealth and excess and Rob and all of his friends are (not so lovingly) coined The Brat Pack.
The Boring Part
My notes from the next part of the book go like this:
- He does some plays
- He gets involved in politics
- He has a pivotal role in Prop 65
You can see where those things rank on my detail-o-meter. BRING ON THE TRASHY CELEB TALES, ROB!
But then he goes back to Europe. He is there to promote a movie called About Last Night and mentions that it was a movie by Edward Zwick and goes on and on about his credentials. All I could think of was — didn’t he produce My So-Called Life? So what you are telling me is that he knew Jordan Catalano. Got it. Why didn’t you say so sooner?
So since Rob is fancy pants and famous, he is assigned a security detail by the name of Glenn Southam. Glenn Southam also does security for Princess Stephanie and her family and asks Rob if he would like an introduction. Rob’s giant impending boner says yes. And what do you know, he and Princess Stephanie start a relationship that is full of glamour and intrigue! When it comes time for Rob to leave Europe, after weeks of living in a Princess Stephanie bubble, Glenn takes him to the airport. On the way home Glenn Southam is shot several times by masked gunmen. Apparently Glenn knew more people than just the royal family. EEP! To this day the murder remains unsolved. Obviously it shook up Rob, and it was foreshadowing of the demise of his relationship with Princess Stephanie.
Steph (yeah, she and I are tight now) comes to visit months later for an event they both are co-hosting for the Princess Grace Foundation but they end up breaking up. He launches right into doing the movie Masquerade which bombs. The writer on that movie gets sort of fed up and decides he just wants to write for TV. Screw all the movies! Good move, Dick Wolf. My addiction to Law & Order thanks you.
Just to clarify, throughout all of this, Rob is still wrestling with some inner demons and drinking heavily.
Ok, carry on.
Happily Ever After?
Rob gets offered a movie called Bad Influence. James Spader is in this movie who I think is totally hot in a creepy way. That has nothing to do with the book. Anyway, he meets his future wife on this movie as she does his makeup. Now that is a good story about how you met your wife: “She was my makeup artist.” Hmmmm. Anyway. They meet, they are friendly. He sort of implies they become friends with benefits, but in a way that doesn’t make it sound like he is saying his wife was kind of a ho, you know?
The press tour for Bad Influence is in Australia and because it will be long, the producers spring for a trip to Fiji for Rob and one guest afterwards. Why can’t my company think like that? Anyway, he brings his future wifey, Sheryl. They have a lovely time and Rob is totally sure it is forever. Until, of course, the night he gets back to LA he gets wasted and invites some booty call over to his house. Obviously, Sheryl dumps him. This may sound sad, but actually it was kind of a turning point.
Rob realizes he needs to go into rehab.
What I do find endearing about Rob Lowe is that throughout this whole book, his voice is very self-deprecating and honest. I found it sort of shocking that he said he loved rehab. Therapy gave him the tools to deal with his crazy life, and he was happy — as a grown man — to finally have someone sit down and teach him, instead of just drinking to numb the pain/stress/mixed-emotions. That makes sense to me. And it also makes sense to me that he is still sober, which is pretty cool.
Sheryl comes to visit in rehab and of course they work it out. In June of 1991 he asks her to marry him, in July 1991 they are married. 20 years, eh? Not bad. On his wedding day Lorne Michaels of SNL Fame calls him to talk about doing Wayne’s World. The 90s are a new chapter for Rob personally and professional. He moves to Santa Barbara and has a family and becomes more of a comedic actor doing movies like Wayne’s World, Tommy Boy (the cow tipping scene was Rob’s idea) and Austin Powers (a role he was offered based on a fierce Robert Wagner impression he did for Mike Myers on the golf course. So LA.)
He ends the book talking about his time doing The West Wing, which is a role he ended up fighting for, doing for a large pay cut, and commuting daily to from Santa Barbara. On the upside, it was a role he felt was written for him and it reunited him with Martin Sheen. It turns out though, that there was a lot of drama on that show with the producers and Rob and these things ultimately ended with him leaving the show. One of these incidents was the producers anger over the fact that Rob agreed to do a photo shoot by himself for the cover of JFK Jr’s magazine George when the show was an ensemble cast. Rob ended up doing the shoot, although sadly the shoot took place the week after JFK Jr’s tragic plane crash.
The book ends on a happy note though. Rob elegantly summarizes that he spent the 80s working on his career and the 90s working on his family — the project he is most proud of. After reading this I honestly felt like he was a far deeper and more introspective person than I ever gave him credit for. Sure the book was a bit of a vanity project — aren’t all celeb memoirs, HELLO! But this one was entertaining, full of great stories, and enlightening in really surprising ways. Plus, the glossy photos in the middle of the book?
I mean, what’s not to love?