The Washington Post
Full Frontal Nudity: The Making of an Accidental Actorby Harry Hamlin
IN 2008, as he attempted to enter Canada to film a television series, Harry Hamlin—the former star of L.A. Law and once People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive—was detained at the border for unresolved narcotics convictions. And so begins Full Frontal Nudity, a laugh-out-loud-funny memoir in which Harry digs deep into his past to recount the wacky experiences of his childhood, the twisted path that led to his alleged criminal behavior, and the series of fortuitous mishaps that drove him to become an actor.
Harry was reared in suburban California in the late 1950s by a gin-gulping, pill-popping housewife mother and a rocket scientist father with a secret life. On its surface, his childhood was not unlike his peers’, except that he was kicked out of the fourth grade for writing a book report on Mein Kampf and, when he was eleven, his parents gave him a subscription to Playboy for Christmas. Curious by nature, chock-full of boyish charm and good looks, Harry experimented with mystical religion and set off for Woodstock, only to narrowly avoid lighting the whole of Yellowstone National Park on fire. At eighteen, he was ready to matriculate at Berkeley and become the architect he always wanted to be. But fate—this time in the form of a large Hells Angel, a few purple microdots, and an evening in the tree houses of La Honda—got in the way.
Sharp and bawdy, Full Frontal Nudity spans the years from Harry’s childhood through his time at Berkeley (which he was asked to leave after he was accused of running a brothel), to Yale, then on an extended vacation in the Yucatán, and finally to the American Conservatory Theater, where Harry played his first lead role—as the buck-naked star of Equus.
Full Frontal Nudity is an uproarious memoir that captures an era and describes the unlikely origins of a star.
The Washington Post
“Few actor memoirs are as plainly bonkers as L.A. Law star Harry Hamlin’s…his stories are genuinely funny and entertaining—rare enough for an author, much less a celebrity memoir. Hamlin’s good humor and sharp eye make Full Frontal Nudity a nicely unpredictable coming-of-age story.”
The Onion A.V. Club
A comic memoir recounting the obstacles one man endured on his quest to become an actor.
In his debut, Hamlin—best known for his role as Perseus in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans, as well as his stint on L.A. Law—depicts how his lifetime of debacles began at an early age. At four he urinated in the dog dish, and a few years later, wrote a book report onMein Kampf, resulting in his removal from school. On Christmas Day 1962, his parents offered him less offensive reading material—a five-year subscription to Playboy—though this would have an equally disastrous result for the hormone-crazed youth. From Hamlin's first introduction to the female body, the memoir takes a turn, no longer focusing on the innocent trials of a prepubescent boy but rather on the litany of sexual escapades that followed the actor throughout his life. While the author's tales of sexual encounters string the narrative together, his romps are not the focal point. Instead, Hamlin's history with drugs overpowers the other aspects of the story. Though he explains his run-ins with law enforcement in a comical manner, readers will recognize the seriousness of his crimes. The book is rampant with road trips, fraternity debacles and prison sentences, yet when these unoriginal tales are told with hackneyed phrases ("Bring it on, baby!"; "But that's another story"), readers may desire more substance. Nevertheless, Hamlin's story has its charms, and his unabashed honesty provides a clear view of a boy's life in the late-'60s and early-'70s. In one instance, he describes selling himself as a handyman in order to raise money for a road trip to Woodstock. "I highly recommend this strategy of creating an income when you're seventeen and know how to do absolutely nothing but sleep and whack off," he writes, acknowledging his own low expectations for himself in a world that would one day require much from him.
A fairly commonplace tale of one actor's coming-of-age—disappointingly, though, his acting career only makes a guest appearance.
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