By Katheryn Rivas
Celebrities love to multitask and push the envelope beyond their regular day jobs. Movie stars try out singing careers, models become actresses, and all kinds of celebrities seem to want to try their hand at writing books. And while most celebrity-written books just aren’t worth the time, these authors have successfully made the transition from acting, hosting, and directing to writing as well. Here are 10 celebrity writers actually worth your time away from studying.
- Ellen DeGeneres: After a long career as a comedian, actress, Academy Awards host and TV talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres now enjoys a large, loyal following of middle Americans and respecting colleagues, many of whom tune into her talk show Ellen everyday. Fans love DeGeneres for her quirky, self-deprecating sense of humor and her penchant for poking fun without being cruel. Her two books, My Point…and I Do Have One and The Funny Thing Is were written in 1995 and 2003 respectively, and mirror her signature comedy style. Readers will find jokes and commentary about the humor in everyday life, from parallel parking to the way we act in elevators.
- Stephen Colbert: On his TV show The Colbert Report, host and writer Stephen Colbert is a silly anchorman who points out the absurdity of the day’s news. But beyond the jokes, Colbert is an intelligent man who mixes political commentary with comedy. He has won four Emmy awards, as well as other awards for work on his own show and The Daily Show. Colbert is also a New York Times best-selling author, thanks to his overwhelmingly popular satire I Am America (And So Can You!)
- Ethan Hawke: During the late 1980s and 1990s, actor Ethan Hawke was slated to be the next hottest thing in Hollywood after appearing in movies like Dead Poets Society, White Fang and Reality Bites. But while the dark, sensitive actor continued to work regularly, he wasn’t interested in being a high-profile movie star. Instead, Hawke chose smaller roles, returned to theatre work, and even wrote two novels: The Hottest State in 1997 and Ash Wednesday in 2002. Both were critically acclaimed successes.
- Henry Winkler: Happy Days star Henry Winkler continues to appear on TV shows and movies even today, but the Fonz is also a children’s book author. And while lots of celebrities, from Madonna to Spike Lee, have written kids’ books, Winkler drew on his own childhood struggle with dyslexia and school life to create the Hank Zipzer Collection of novels for the nine-to-twelve-year old set.
- Woody Allen: Director, writer and actor Woody Allen’s life has been riddled with controversy and complexity, but he is nevertheless one of the most successful and influential filmmakers of the 20th century. Allen has been working steadily since the 1960s, and has written, directed, and/or starred in a number of films, including What’s New Pussycat?, Play it Again, Sam, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and others. Allen has also written plays and short stories like "Side Effects" and the novel Without Feathers, which spent four months on the New York Times Bestseller list.
- Carrie Fisher: While actress Carrie Fisher was once most well known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies in the 1970s, she is now more often cited as a successful novelist and screenwriter. She has written five novels, including Postcards from the Edge, which was also developed into a movie in 1990. Her sole work of nonfiction Wishful Drinking is an autobiographical story that was turned into a limited-run show on Broadway.
- Steve Martin: Steve Martin has been a part of the entertainment industry since the 1960s, and a very public part since his appearances on TV with The Gong Show and Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. Now, Steve Martin continues to work regularly as a TV and film actor, awards show host, producer, musician and writer. Martin has written several screenplays and plays including 2001’s Shopgirl, which starred Claire Danes.
- Hugh Laurie: House star Hugh Laurie has won countless awards, including Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards, for his work on American TV, and he also enjoyed a successful career on stage, TV and in films in Great Britain. The talented actor also experimented with novel writing and even submitted the book The Gun Seller to a publisher anonymously. His agent convinced him to admit that he was the author to help with publicity for the book, a thriller about a retired Army officer propositioned to assassinate an American businessman. Laurie has also written another novel, The Paper Soldier, which is currently unavailable.
- Martin Scorsese: Film director Martin Scorsese is responsible for creating cinematic masterpieces like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, Casino and The Departed, as well as documentaries and several short films. The award-winning filmmaker has also written and compiled several books and collections about cinema history, directing and the entertainment industry. Additionally, books like Casino reveal the original story created before the movie version.
- Quentin Tarantino: Another cutting-edge American director on our list is Quentin Tarantino, the creative genius behind movies like Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Reservoir Dogs and the Kill Bill series. Tarantino and his projects have cult followings and have enjoyed widespread commercial and critical success, making him one of the most influential artists of his time. Besides directing films, Tarantino has also written many of his screenplays and book or comic book versions of his movies, like Grindhouse, Natural Born Killers and Inglourious Basterds.