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Life's That Way Paperback – Bargain Price, April 6, 2010
Life Stories to Inform & Inspire
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From Publishers Weekly
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More About the Author
Beaver was born in Laramie, Wyoming, the son of Dorothy Adell (née Crawford) and James Norman Beaver, Sr. (1924-2004), a minister. His father was of French and English heritage (the family name was originally de Beauvoir, and Beaver is a distant cousin of author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and Pennsylvania governor General James A. Beaver), and his mother is Scots-German-Cherokee and a descendant of senator, governor, and three-time U.S. Attorney General John J. Crittenden. Although his parents' families had both been long in Texas, Beaver was born in Laramie while his father was doing graduate work in accounting at the University of Wyoming. Returning to Texas, Beaver Sr. worked as an accountant and as a minister for the Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas, Crowley, Texas, Dallas, Texas and Grapevine, Texas. For most of Jim Beaver's youth, his family lived in Irving, Texas, even while his father preached in surrounding communities. He and his three younger sisters (Denise, Renée, and Teddlie) all attended Irving High School (where he was a classmate of ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard), but he transferred in his senior year to Fort Worth Christian Academy, from which he graduated in 1968. He also took courses at Fort Worth Christian College. Despite having appeared in some elementary-school plays, he showed no particular interest in an acting career, but immersed himself in film history and expressed a desire for a career as a writer, publishing a few short stories in his high school anthology.
Less than two months after his graduation from high school, Beaver followed several of his close friends into the United States Marine Corps. Following basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Beaver was trained there as a microwave radio relay technician. He served at the Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms and at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton before being transferred to the 1st Marine Division near Da Nang, South Vietnam in 1970. He served as a radio operator at an outlying detachment of the 1st Marine Regiment, then as supply chief for the division communications company. He returned to the U.S. in 1971 and was discharged as Corporal (E-4), though he remained active in the Marine Reserve until 1976.
Upon his release from active duty in 1971, he returned to Irving, Texas, and worked briefly for Frito-Lay as a corn-chip dough mixer. He entered what is now Oklahoma Christian University, where he became interested in theatre. He made his true theatrical debut in a small part in The Miracle Worker. The following year, he transferred to Central State University (now known as the University of Central Oklahoma). He performed in numerous plays in college and supported himself as a cabdriver, a movie projectionist, a tennis-club maintenance man, and an amusement-park stuntman at Frontier City. He also worked as a newscaster and hosted jazz and classical music programs on radio station KCSC. During his college days, he also began to write, completing several plays and also his first book, on actor John Garfield, while still a student. Beaver graduated with a degree in Oral Communications in 1975. He briefly pursued graduate studies, but soon returned to Irving, Texas.
Jim Beaver made his professional stage debut in October 1972, while still a college student, in Rain, by W. Somerset Maugham at the Oklahoma Theatre Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After returning to Texas, he did a great deal of local theatre in the Dallas area, supporting himself as a film cleaner at a 16 mm film rental firm and as a stagehand for the Dallas Ballet. He joined the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas in 1976, performing in numerous productions. In 1979, he was commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville to write the first of three plays for that company (Spades, Sidekick, and Semper Fi), and was twice a finalist in the theatre's national Great American Play Contest (for Once Upon a Single Bound and Verdigris). Along with plays, he continued writing for film journals and for several years was a columnist, critic, and feature writer for the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures magazine Films in Review.
Moving to New York City in 1979, Beaver worked steadily onstage in stock and on tour, simultaneously writing plays and researching a biography of actor George Reeves (a project which he still pursues between acting jobs). He appeared in starring roles in such plays as The Hasty Heart and The Rainmaker in Birmingham, Alabama and The Lark in Manchester, New Hampshire, and toured the country as Macduff in Macbeth and in The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia. During this period, he ghostwrote the book Movie Blockbusters for critic Steven Scheuer.
In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles, California to continue research on his biography of George Reeves. He worked for a year as the film archivist for the Variety Arts Center. Following a reading of his play Verdigris, he was asked to join the prestigious Theatre West company in Hollywood, where he continues as an actor and playwright to this day. Verdigris was produced to very good reviews in 1985 and Beaver was signed by the powerful Triad Artists agency. He immediately began to work writing episodes of various television series, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents (he received a 1987 CableACE Award nomination for his very first TV script, for this show), Tour of Duty, and Vietnam War Story. He also worked occasionally in small roles in films and television.
The 1988 Writers Guild of America strike fundamentally altered the freelance television writing market, and Beaver's TV writing career came to an abrupt halt. However, a chance meeting led to his being cast as the best friend of star Bruce Willis in Norman Jewison's drama about Vietnam veterans, In Country, and his acting career suddenly took up the slack where his TV writing career had faltered. (Beaver was the only actual Vietnam veteran among the principal cast of In Country.)
Subsequently he has appeared in many popular films, including Sister Act, Sliver, Bad Girls, Adaptation., Magnolia, and The Life of David Gale. He starred in the TV series Thunder Alley as the comic sidekick to Ed Asner, and as homicide cop Earl Gaddis on Reasonable Doubts. He was also French Stewart's sullen boss Happy Doug on the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.
In 2002, Beaver was cast as one of the stars of the ensemble Western drama Deadwood in the role of Whitney Ellsworth, a goldminer whom he often described as "Gabby Hayes with Tourette syndrome". Ellsworth went from being a filth-covered reprobate to marrying the richest woman in town and becoming a beloved and stalwart figure in the community. (Originally Ellsworth did not have a first name, but when it became necessary to provide one, Beaver requested he be named Whitney Ellsworth, after the producer of George Reeves's Adventures of Superman.) He continued his long research for the Reeves biography, and in 2005 served as the historical/biographical consultant on the theatrical feature film about Reeves's death, Hollywoodland.
Beaver in 2006 joined the cast of the HBO drama John from Cincinnati while simultaneously playing the recurring roles of Bobby Singer on Supernatural and Carter Reese on another HBO drama Big Love. He then took on the role of Sheriff Charlie Mills in the CBS drama Harper's Island, which aired from April 9, 2009 to July 11, 2009.
His memoir of the year following his wife's 2003 diagnosis of lung cancer, entitled Life's That Way, was purchased in a preemptive bid by Putnam/Penguin publishers in the fall of 2007. Prior to publication in April, 2009, it was chosen for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program for 2009.
Beaver studied acting with Clyde Ventura and Academy Award-winning actor Maximilian Schell.
During college, Beaver married a fellow student, Debbie Young, in August 1973, but the couple separated four months later (though divorce did not occur until 1976). For several years after his move to California, Beaver shared a house with character actor Hank Worden, who had been a friend since Beaver's childhood. In 1989, following a four-year courtship, Beaver married actress/casting director Cecily Adams, daughter of Get Smart star Don Adams. Their daughter Madeline was born in 2001. Cecily Adams died of lung cancer March 3, 2004.
Top Customer Reviews
For anyone dealing with love and loss, this book has hope to offer and lessons in life to teach, all without a word of preaching. If you've loved and lost someone - parent, spouse, child, friend, lover - you've felt what's in this book, and reading it might help bring you healing, if only by letting you know that you are not alone in what and how you feel and by giving you the means and words to talk about it. I'm watching my mother being stolen by Alzheimer's, and this book speaks to me even in the midst of ongoing loss. Read it, and take comfort.
I thought this book would be sad,but i wasn't expecting the moving love story. It was the most beautifully written,love letter to his dear Pie. It was sad,but uplifting in that no matter how much we grief we still LOVE. It was a true tribute not only to her,but to their love.I know through this book his daughter will gain the greatest insight into what a beautiful woman his dear Pie really was.
It was also very heartfelt in how he dealt with not only the cancer but in being a single parent. I know any parent reading this book will understand the great love and fear he had for his daughter and in his ability to be the parent she deserved.
This book should be in everyone's home!
This is what Jim Beaver, a character actor, playwright and author, and his wife Cecily Adams, an actor and casting director, hoped for after she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2003. Unfortunately, despite a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and homeopathic remedies, the spread of Adams' cancer could not be checked. She died on March 3, 2004, leaving behind Beaver and their two-year-old daughter Madeline Rose, as well as their family and many friends.
Beaver began an email journal when Adams was diagnosed. At first, it was simply a way of communicating the facts of Adams' condition with many people at once, but it soon became a forum for Beaver to speak freely about both his and Adams' emotions. The resulting year of emails has now been published as Life's That Way. It has been abridged, but its power is intact.
Our society has a tendency to view actors as superhuman, as if their fame lifts them above such petty things as grief and pain and despair. Beaver's every word debunks this myth.
He admits that, while Adams was alive, she often read the emails he sent out, so he self-edited to keep the worst from her. But after her death, he is unflinchingly honest with his readers. He admits to feeling moments of debilitating grief, and moments when he'd never felt more blissfully free.
He also admits to being frustrated by friends' attempts to comfort him by conventional means (for example, resorting to clichés like "she's in a better place," "she had a good life," etc...Read more ›
Two days after Cecily's initial diagnosis Jim began writing a nightly email to update friends and family on everything that was going on. This email started going out to a little over 100 people but within a month or so was being recieved by more than 4,000 people across the country, some whom Jim had never even met. Life's That Way is an edited collection of those emails, telling the story of that year of their lives as it was told during that year. As Jim tells the reader in the introduction, these emails were only edited for length and relevance; there was no hindsight added after the fact. They are Jim's thoughts and words as he wrote them at the time.
As you can imagine, at times this book was difficult to read and there were many tears shed as I was turning the pages. But this is truly a beautiful story. Jim opens up his heart and shares many of his deepest thoughts, fears, regrets and joys during this time period. I am extremely grateful he chose to publish them this way, five years after the death of his beloved wife.
This book isn't just the story of losing a loved one to cancer. Jim continues the nightly emails until exactly one year after he began writing. In the months following Cecily's death, you see Jim and Maddie embark on their new life together, Jim's struggles with being a single father and working a job that has him away for long days and just coping with simple day to day changes in their life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Touching, hilarious, horribly sad, wonderfully uplifting--Jim is a captivating writer. This memoir of his journey of family life is a worthwhile read and makes you want to call... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Allana Langen
I just finished the book and I love it. One of the best books I have read in a long time.Published 3 months ago by Amanda Jarman
Bittersweet tale by a caring, intelligent person. I haven't finished it yet. While inspiring, it's also depressing at the same time. Read morePublished 4 months ago by J. Hulliberger
Beautifully written and very touching. The rawness of some of the entries makes you feel like you know these people just a little more and you get a little sad to know you will... Read morePublished 6 months ago by K. Powell