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There Are Worse Things I Could Do Paperback – April 3, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barbeau hits 60 fabulously in this straightforward, muscularly written memoir of the acting life. The Maude star proves herself a writer with flair, as well as a passionate singer, though she gained fame as a stage actress in New York City once she left her San Jose, Calif., home at age 19 in 1964. The daughter of Armenian parents, Barbeau was often typecast in ethnic parts thanks to her dark, bosomy good looks; working as a go-go girl, she got her first break in Fiddler on the Roof. After the nude musical Stag Movie and the hit Grease, Barbeau flew to L.A. to audition for Norman Lear's '70s spinoff to All in the Family, Maude, starring Bea Arthur. To Barbeau's astonishment, she was hired after an extensive search to play Maude's feminist daughter, Carole, and she stayed for all six years the show ran. Suddenly a recognizable star, she dated a string of sexy men including Burt Reynolds; she married director John Carpenter, who cast her in his forgettable suspense films. Barbeau found happiness in a second marriage with Billy Van Zandt, and motherhood, with twins, at 51. Endearingly, Barbeau never considered herself a sex symbol and only wanted to be loved for her singing. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Film, television, and Broadway star, Adrienne Barbeau's career spans forty years and is still evolving. A Tony nomination for her creation of Rizzo in the original Broadway production of Grease led her back to California and the role of Bea Arthur's daughter, Carol, in the hit series Maude. Adrienne's numerous films for television include the Ace Award winning Double Crossed: The Barry Seal Story opposite Dennis Hopper, Scott Turow's Burden of Proof with Hector Elizondo, and most recently, The Santa Trap with Stacy Keach and Robert Hays. Audiences will also remember her from Drew Carey as Oswald's mom and her starring, as Ruthie in HBO's fascinating series Carnivàle. Film audiences know her best from The Fog, Escape from New York, Swamp Thing, Cannonball Run, Creepshow, Back to School, Two Evil Eyes, and The Convent. Soon to be released is the feature comedy A Wake in Providence. Adrienne was recently seen starring in the Off Broadway show, The Property Known as Garland, written by Billy Van Zandt and directed by Glenn Casale.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786719303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786719303
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adrienne began her career in 1963 with the San Jose Civic Light Opera. After graduating high school, she traveled with a musical comedy revue, entertaining our servicemen on Army bases throughout Southeast Asia. In 1965, she moved to New York where she made her Broadway debut as Tevye's second daughter, Hodel, in Fiddler on the Roof. A Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award for her creation of Rizzo in the original Broadway production of Grease led her back to California and the role of Bea Arthur's daughter, Carol, in the hit series Maude.

Since then she has become a best selling author, a recording artist, and the star of numerous features, films for television, concert performances, musicals and plays.

Movie fans know her best for her performances in The Fog, Escape From New York, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, Back to School, and Cannonball Run. Her recent films include Reach for Me, with Seymour Cassell and Alfre Woodard and the award winning "zombie film" Alice Jacobs is Dead. She can currently be seen in Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

Adrienne has a Golden Globe nomination and over 450 screen performances to her credit. Drew Carey fans know her as Oswald's mom. She starred as Ruthie, the Snake Dancer, on HBO's fascinating series, Carnivale. Her recent appearances include Son's of Anarchy and Dexter and nine months on ABC's General Hospital, her first foray into daytime television. She also portray's Victoria Grayson's (Madeline Stowe) mother on ABC's hit series Revenge.

After appearing in over 25 musicals and plays, among them the West coast premieres of Women Behind Bars and Drop Dead; the Canadian premiere of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers; and the world premiere of What the Rabbi Saw by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, in 2006 she returned to New York to garner standing ovations as Judy Garland in The Property Known As Garland. Summer of 2012 found her returning to her favorite musical Fiddler on the Roof, playing Golde this time, not Hodel.

Off camera, Adrienne is the voice of Catwoman in Batman, The Animated Series, Ms. Simone in Scooby-Do on Zombie Island, and Scooter's Mom in the 3-D animated film Fly Me To The Moon. She can be heard in a myriad of video games: God of War and Halo 4 among them.

Adrienne is the author of three books: the best-selling memoir There Are Worse Things I Could Do; Vampyres of Hollywood; and the most recent Love Bites.

In March of 1997, Adrienne gave birth to identical twin boys, William and Walker Van Zandt, m age 51, "the only woman on the maternity ward who was a member of AARP". She lives in Los Angeles, but travels to Japan whenever she can to visit her older son, Cody Carpenter.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By MediaYogi on July 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Adrienne Barbeau's "There are Worst Things I Could Do" is not your standard kiss-and-tell Hollywood memoir. Although she writes wittily about her affair with Burt Reynolds, her marriage to cult filmmaker John Carpenter, her liaisons with various Hollywood personalities, and behind the scenes mayhem during the filming of "The Fog", "The Swamp Thing", "The Cannonball Run", and her hit television sitcom "Maude", her memoir is more about her personal journey as a wounded woman who ached for peace and joy in her relationships with men.

Her candor is refreshing. She does not flinch from sharing with the reader intimate details about sex, psychics, gurus, and her quest to heal the trauma of being abandoned by her father when she was still a child. The forty or so chapters around which she has arranged her material reveal a vibrant woman who wanted to experience life fully, to learn from her experiences, to heal her wounds, and to grow as an actress and woman.

Though she deals candidly with "heavy" subjects, her style is never maudlin or judgmental or self-pitying. She is able to find humor and farce even in the most intense situations of life.

So read this book as a Hollywood memoir full of juicy revelations if you wish. But the pleasure I got from it was not reading about her career arc but her personal journey as a woman through the rapidly shifting zeitgeist of the past five decades.

In time, her well-rounded memoir will grow in stature.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sally O. Fallis on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Adrienne Barbeau has written a completely delightful autobiography. I loved it, and only put it down when I had no choice. Her life is fascinating, and her writing style is funny, touching, and endearing. The description of her wedding had me laughing uncontrollably, while parts about losses in her life had me almost in tears. I have been busy since I finished this book recommending it to everyone I know who reads! I sincerely hope Adrienne Barbeau will not stop now, but will write, and write, and write.

Sally Fallis
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By l.l. black on July 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Adrienne Barbeau's first book is a wonderful testament to a life lived. Good, bad or indifferent she propels her readers to LIVE.

Memoirs are always tough, and Barbeau nailed it! Even if I did not know her voice, from the many films, plays and TV shows she has been a part of, her written voice comes through so clearly. It is simultaneously kind, comic and sad without ever being maudlin.

Barbeau has a wonderful ability to take the reader in as if writing each reader a note about the day to day, and then she turns things that note around. You are reading a note from a friend and then realize that: Yes she was married to one of the most notable directors of horror in the U.S, yes she had an affair with Burt Reynolds. And yes she has had many loves in her time. Wow! But rather than delivering a tell all revealing the warts of others - although we do read a bit about those warts - Barbeau manages to undauntingly keep the focus on herself. While laughing at herself, and her foibles as a person with loves gained and lost, she takes the comic and imbues it with such heart the reader can visualize how double sided comedy is within each us; as when we laugh at ourselves, there tends to be some sadness lurking - conversely she explores her own tragedies such as the passing of her mother and her best friend, and reveals hope.

When reading this book, I was reminded of being lost on occasion. In THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO, the reader, along with Adrienne, takes a journey. Barbeau reminds us that when we are lost we seek acceptance, regardless of what that acceptance might mean. But as we lose ourselves amidst gaining acceptance, we discover how within that losing, we can all find ourselves anew.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By STEPHEN PLETKO on October 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover

"I went from being a musical comedy performer to a sitcom actress to a scream queen to a mother and a TV talk-show host and a book reviewer and a voice-over performer, and then back to the stage and back to musical comedy and back to television and concert halls and more films, and even into the recording studio for a CD and into my office to write this book."

This is an excerpt from this page-turning autobiography by Adrienne Barbeau, a candid, funny, and self-deprecating autobiography that covers sixty years of her life. It is based on the journals she kept which she "began in 1955." She "wrote every day for the next forty years."

The above excerpt tells you generally what the book is about. Along the way, Barbeau tells us about "relationships and love affairs, emotional highs and lows, friendships and loss."

Highlights of this book include talking about her two hit TV shows ("Maude" and "Carnivale"), her major movies ("The Fog," "Escape from New York," "Swamp Thing," and "Creepshow"), her relationship with 1970's superstar Burt Reynolds, and her two marriages (the first to horror and science fiction director John Carpenter).

The title of this book is the title of a major song Barbeau sung in the original Broadway production of "Grease" which was "a major turning point in [her] life."

This autobiography is well written. What I especially liked was Barbeau's directness and the fact that you could easily follow the timeline of her life story.

Included in the book's approximate center are over forty black and white photographs. My favorite is the one that has her character in the movie "The Convent" gunning down nuns (or as she says "blowing away nuns").
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