Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life
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Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life

by John Leguizamo

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Fans of John Leguizamo's smash-hit one-man shows (Mambo Mouth, Spic-o-rama, Freak, and Sexaholix) have already gotten a glimpse into his life, but this book tells the whole story, carrying readers along on a wild journey from his childhood in Queens to his current home at the top of the Hollywood pyramid. An acclaimed director, producer,


Fans of John Leguizamo's smash-hit one-man shows (Mambo Mouth, Spic-o-rama, Freak, and Sexaholix) have already gotten a glimpse into his life, but this book tells the whole story, carrying readers along on a wild journey from his childhood in Queens to his current home at the top of the Hollywood pyramid. An acclaimed director, producer, and play-wright, and one of the highest-paid Latin actors in the world, Leguizamo shares the stories behind his many roles—what inspired them and what transpired as he created them—while dishing on his personal relationships with his family, friends, and celebrity colleagues. Here is both an intimate self-portrait and a unique behind-the-scenes look at the magic and chaos of stardom, a keenly intelligent and insanely funny book that celebrates a remarkably talented artist's greatest achievement: growing up Latino in America and succeeding on his own terms.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
“The high point: his breezy honesty.”
USA Today
“Leguizamo is one of the most excting talents to come along in some time.”
“[Leguizamo is] a remarkably mature writer . . . Astonishing.”
The New York Times
“Brutally funny.”
The titles of John Leguizamo's hit one-man shows reflects the earthiness of this Colombian-born actor/comedian: Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, Freak, and Sexaholix. That street-sassy candor also comes through on every page of this rapid-fire autobiography. Leguizamo's riffs and anecdotes about his childhood in Queens and his acting career display the writing skills that helped make him famous.
Publishers Weekly
In this brash autobiography, comic Leguizamo recalls a life lived "on the fine line between acting and acting out." Readers who know his celebrated one-man shows, Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama among them, will recognize some of the same people and topics: the doting mom, authoritarian father, brother Serge and the author's perpetually adolescent fascination with sex. Familiar, too, are the chameleonlike shifts of tone and theme- Leguizamo's trickster charm and outspoken ethnic pride can morph to candid yet searing takes on money, fame and the acting life. Mostly, Leguizamo tracks his maturation and unlikely rise from a smart-ass acting tyro born in Colombia and raised in Queens, N.Y., to an award-winning actor, director and family man. As he puts it: "I'm a horrible example of how to have a successful career." Yet Leguizamo makes this story full of behavioral quirks and professional beefs memorable. Whether he is being tough on Latin stereotypes or describing his sexual conquests, the text is hilarious-propelled by jokes, quips and situations in which the author usually finds himself driven to reaction instead of reflection. This mix of the glib and the sometimes glam presents a refreshing cultural tonic. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Leguizamo's autobiography is as singular as the man himself. Written in a carefree, personable style, it provides an intimate peek into the loco cabeza ("crazy head") of one of America's most talented actor/writer/producers. This is a no-holds-barred retelling of his tightly held Latin roots (he was born in Colombia), his everlasting competition with his father; his struggles with the Hollywood scene, and his honest perspectives of himself, his family, and his "homies." It is no wonder why he's chosen to play characters as diverse as Dr. Victor Clemente (ER), Miss Chi Chi Rodriguez (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!, Julie Newmar), and Sid the Sloth (Ice Age). His realistic take on life comes through in his behind-the-scenes stories about the development of his stage and TV productions (e.g., Freak and Sexaholix). We can only hope this multitalented artist will write a sequelography. Leguizamo uses very matter-of-fact language (that is, he often uses the F word), so the book may not be to every reader's taste. Recommended for public and academic libraries, this quick read is its own reward.-Richard A. Dickey, Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hyperactive monologist and character actor Leguizamo provides the narrated tour of his life. It's difficult to reconcile this plain and tired string of well-rehearsed anecdotes with the livewire, mercurial actor who can always be counted on to spark up the screen or stage. Maybe he just put so much into his legendary biographical one-man shows that there was nothing left. Born in Bogot to high-drama parents whose ethnic blend included Italian, Colombian, Native American and Lebanese, Leguizamo grew up in Queens and knew early on that he wanted to be a performer. As just one of many class clowns in high school, Leguizamo had to work hard to stand out-there was so much competition to sit at the funniest cafeteria table that he would start writing jokes the day before. A couple plays at the renowned Public Theatre led to a stereotypical part as a gangster on Miami Vice, just one of many compromises the aspiring actor had to make in the '80s, a lean time for Latino performers: "You'd see the same guys at every audition: me, Benicio del Toro, Benjamin Bratt, Luiz Guzman." More roles followed, as well as Leguizamo's one-man show, Mambo Mouth, the first of four semi-autobiographical shows that incorporated satirical skits and traded heavily on family drama. For fans, there is interesting material related to behind-the-scenes melodramas on movies like Moulin Rouge and Summer of Sam, and even bombs like Super Mario Brothers. But most of the engaging stuff has already been covered in his quartet of live shows, and there's little left to go over but some dully related and thinly conceived pronouncements on film and life that wouldn't sound out of place on a DVD commentary. Sedate stuff from anactor and writer who is normally anything but.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends

My Life
By John Leguizamo


Copyright © 2006 John Leguizamo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-06-052071-X

Chapter One

For me, there's always been a fine line between acting and acting out. Like this one afternoon me, English, Xerox, and Fucks Funny are riding the 7 train, the elevated subway that runs from Manhattan way the hell out into Queens. I see that the door to the conductor's booth at the front of the car is open, and no one's inside. And I get this sudden idea for my first public performance. Call it guerrilla theater, except at the time I was a clueless youth and thought guerrilla theater was a show they put on in the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo.

I was fourteen. That's thirty in ghetto years, so you might say I was a late bloomer, but I'd had other things on my mind before then. Like girls. And dodging my old man's fists. And girls. And dodging my old man's fists. And girls.

English, Xerox, and Fucks Funny were my homies, my half-assed gang. We called ourselves the Sexaholix. We hadn't had any sex yet, except the kind you have by yourself in the bathroom with the door locked, but we already knew we were addicts. Fucks Funny's nickname was a takeoff on Bugs Bunny; we called him that because he had big rabbit ears and a bent dick. Xerox said everything twice, everything twice. He repeated everything everyone else said, too. English was a second language for English, like it was for the rest of us, and he stilldidn't really have the hang of it yet. Past tense always screwed him up.

"Yo man, I haded a quarter but I losteded it," he'd say.

And Xerox would say, "He losteded it. Losteded it. Word."

So we're heading home on the 7. The 7 train is like an artery pumping little brown, black, and yellow people into the city every morning, where they do all the work the white people don't want to do, and then squirting them back out to the vast urban sprawl of Queens at night, so the white people don't have to eat and sleep with them. Queens is the modern-day Ellis Island, where all the immigrants from all over the world are dumped when they come to this country. There are more ethnicities and nationalities crowded together in Queens than anywhere else on the planet, and there's always some new ethnic group piling on. Like lately they call the 7 the "Mariachi Line," because it's full of Mexicans. Before that it was the "Curry in a Hurry," because of all the Pakistanis and Indians riding back and forth to Jamaica, the New New Delhi. And before that it was the "Whiskey Train," because of all the Irish people from Sunnyside.

I see that empty conductor's booth and get this idea. English, who was kind of an Eeyore, always worrying, sees me heading for the booth and moans, "Yo yo, man, whatchoo doon? You gonna get us busteded."

"Word," Xerox nods. "Busteded."

But I didn't let them stop me. I was born to be on stage, baby. Even if the stage was a rickety subway car and my audience was sleepy janitors and maids.

In the booth I find the conductor's microphone. This is it. My moment to shine. "You'll be great, you'll be swell." All the clichés. I switch on the mic. Showtime.

And because I'm fourteen and don't know shit about theater, I just do all my impressions of cartoon characters from TV.

First, Foghorn Leghorn bursts out of the speakers in all the cars on the train. "Boy I say boy c'mere a minute son I wanna talk to ya."

Then I do Snaggle Puss. "Exit, stage left."

Then Popeye. "Ack ack ack, touch me love muskle."

Oh I've got them now. Those maids and janitors are rolling in the aisles of every car. (Actually, they're just looking confused. Most of them don't speak English.)

"Hey there boo boo. I'm smarter than the av-er-age bear."

Then I leave them with a song, like a little brown version of a Borscht Belt comedian. A Cuchifrito Belt comedian.

"Aaaaaah'm bring-in home a bay-bee bum-ble bee ..."

And for my finale, a transit cop grabs me by the nape of the neck and drags me out of the booth.


My first bad review.

I only spent a couple of hours behind bars, but that was enough. There were some scary, degenerate guys in there, and I was young, Latin, and friendly. I could see myself losing my virginity in a couple of ways I didn't want to lose it. I was saving myself for marriage.

This one huge, greasy gorilla had his eye on me. I couldn't quite tell which eye, because one of his eyes was higher than the other, like Quasimodo. But I could tell he liked me. You could see he'd spent a lot of time in prison, because he was built like a weightlifter, and he had tattoos all over his body. I mean his fingernails, his earlobes, his lips, and his gums were tattooed. When he grinned and licked those lips at me, I could see he had more gold teeth than Harlem.

"Mmmm, look at that tasty little motherfucker," he cooed. "I want that ass. Yum yum yum."

I knew I had to turn the situation around fast, or I'd be celebrating my fiftieth birthday as Lola the prison bitch. So for my second acting job of the day, I became the baddest, hardest punk alive.

"Who's gonna be my bitch?" I strutted. "I said who's gonna be my bitch? Cuz somebody gonna have to suck my dick. Oh yeah."

Now I got the laughs.

My father came down to the precinct to pick me up. But before he was going to pick me up, he was going to beat me up. Cuz that's the sort of dad he was.

He's swinging at me and I'm ducking behind this big Irish cop.


Excerpted from Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, and All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends by John Leguizamo Copyright © 2006 by John Leguizamo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

John Leguizamo was born in Colombia in 1964 and immigrated to Queens, New York, with his family when he was four years old. He began his career as a stand-up comedian in various New York clubs, and has gone on to critically acclaimed performances on film, television, and Broadway. He lives in New York City.

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