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Celebrity memoirs are plentiful, but they aren’t always good. Just because an actor lived through a particularly salacious event doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll reveal any details about what occurred — though it’s always fun when they do. The best movie star memoirs don’t even have to contain much gossip — often, the most entertaining books are the ones that simply shed light on a star’s experiences and outlook that we’d never get from even the best of journalistic profiles.
That’s why this list of movie star memoirs contains books from both columns — the juiciest and most salacious stories, but also the most revealing and wise — from a wide range of celebs.
“Wishful Drinking” (2008), “Shockaholic” (2011), and “The Princess Diarist” (2016)
By Carrie Fisher
The late actress and writer got plenty personal in her breakout 1987 novel “Postcards from the Edge,” but it’s her trio of memoirs where she gives a true peek behind the curtain of her celebrity. The literary adaptation of her one-woman stage show, “Wishful Drinking,” kicks things off, and the erstwhile Princess Leia closes the trilogy with some juicy gossip about her brief affair with “Star Wars” costar Harrison Ford in “The Princess Diarist.” Reading these will remind you of the great wit and talent gone far too soon.
“They Called Us Enemy” (2019)
By George Takei
The “Star Trek” trailblazer, along with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and illustrator Harmony Becker, documented his imprisonment in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II in this graphic novel that switches back and forth from his perspective as a terrified five-year-old child to an adult looking back on the impact the experience had on him, his family, and the country as a whole.
“A Story Lately Told” (2013) and “Watch Me” (2014)
By Anjelica Huston
The actress’ first book tells the story of her childhood: the Irish estate where her director father would bring film icons between projects, her late teens in London, her mother’s tragic death, and ultimately her move to New York at the start of her film career. In Watch Me, she chronicles her film career — including her 17-year relationship with Jack Nicholson.
“Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years” (2019)
By Julie Andrews
While Andrews’ first memoir, “Home,” recounted her difficult childhood and the early years of her storied career, it’s this second one, co-written with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, where she details her rise to fame, her personal milestones, and the classic films she made throughout her Hollywood career.
By Rose McGowan
One of the #MeToo movement’s loudest voices, McGowan writes about how she was born into a cult (an actual one) and then found her way to the cult of Hollywood (a metaphorical one), and how she was able to dismantle her own internalized misogyny and pivot her career to activism and speaking truth to power.
“By Myself and Then Some” (2005)
By Lauren Bacall
The actress’ 1978 memoir, “By Myself,” gave a candid look at her career — and relationship with Humphrey Bogart — and this 2005 edition comes with new material and an even wiser, introspective look at her life in the 30 years since its initial publication.
“Not My Father’s Son” (2014)
By Alan Cumming
Cumming’s appearance on the genealogy series “Who Do You Think You Are?” in 2010 sparked a series of events that led him on a hunt for information on the fate of his maternal grandfather, and also inspired a breathtaking deathbed confession by his violent father.
“What Falls Away” (1997)
By Mia Farrow
Yes, Farrow’s memoir spills plenty of details about her relationship with Frank Sinatra and her painful separation and custody battle with Woody Allen, plus her childhood as the daughter of Old Hollywood icons Maureen O’Sullivan and John Farrow, but it’s also a well-written, intelligent look at her life as a whole.
“Yes I Can” (1965)
By Sammy Davis Jr
There’s a reason the Rat Pack leader’s autobiography became a bestseller upon its publication in 1965 and has remained so since: Not only does he chronicle his rise to fame, but he doesn’t shy away from the racism he faced throughout his entire career, and the effect it had on his whole life.
“Me: Stories of My Life” (1991)
By Katharine Hepburn
The fact that Hepburn waited until her final act to finally open up about her life story means that she was able to get extra candid in this reflection upon her entire life, including her friendship with Spencer Tracy and her work with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The book also includes 165 barely before seen photos from her personal archives.
“My Life So Far” (2005)
By Jane Fonda
The longtime activist divides her book into three acts, each revealing important truths about her — the first, her childhood; the second, her development as an activist; and the third, her hopes for the future.
“Confessions of a Sex Kitten” (1989)
By Eartha Kitt
Much of the material in this book was previously published in Kitt’s 1976 autobiography, “Alone With Me,” but it still provides a collection of memories from the performer’s career and early life.
By Alec Baldwin
Though Baldwin has been in the public eye for the better part of the past four decades, he reveals plenty about his private life and his early political aspirations in addition to behind-the-scenes stories from his time working in Hollywood.
By Tina Fey
The very funny, very sharp Fey documents the inner workings of a theater kid-turned-comedian in her influential 2011 autobiography, which also help paved the way for books from her fellow women in comedy, like Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler.
“In Pieces” (2018)
By Sally Field
Though Field has given ultra-open, emotional performances on film for many years, she gets even more vulnerable in her memoir, which documents her lonely childhood, her development as an actress, and how those experiences shaped her roles as a daughter and a mother.
“Stories I Only Tell My Friends” (2011)
By Rob Lowe
The Brat Packer’s book can definitely be placed in the “dishy” category of celebrity memoir, as the now-sober actor gets brutally honest about his most debaucherous days of excess (yes, including his sex tape) through a very self-aware lens.
“Little Girl Lost” (1990) and “Wildflower” (2015)
By Drew Barrymore
A stage parent’s worst nightmare, Barrymore’s first memoir, about her descent into drug and alcohol addiction, came out when she was just 15. A few decades later, she looked back on her showbiz life with an older, wiser, but still sunny perspective.
“Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty” (2014)
By Diane Keaton
The actress and sartorial icon provides insight into how her bold personal choices (unique style included), her illustrious career, and her relationships with men like Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Sam Shepard have all shaped her unique perspective on life.
“Inside Out” (2019)
By Demi Moore
File this under the “buzzy” category too: The star reveals plenty of juicy details about her relationships with Emilio Estevez, Bruce Willis, Ashton Kutcher, and even Jon Cryer — she writes that she took his virginity, though he clarified after the book’s publication that although inexperienced, he wasn’t a virgin at the time — as well as her struggles with addiction and disordered eating and her lifelong body image issues.
“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” (2015)
By Issa Rae
The year before the multi-Emmy nominee debuted “Insecure” on HBO, she published a memoir named after her successful web series that inspired the show. The book is a conversational, relatable take on everyday struggles and the importance of finding your own voice.
“Lucky Man” (2002)
By Michael J. Fox
Two years after publicly revealing his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Fox got even more personal with this memoir about his life in Hollywood, his personal struggle with the disease, and his newfound passion to spread public awareness about the degenerative neurological condition.