All in All: An Actor’s Life on and off the Stage

Select media coverage: New York TimesLos Angeles TimesLos Angeles Daily News

Stacy Keach All in All“One of the true wild mustangs of theater history…through his work, Keach inspires, teaches and welcomes all at once. How rare! … I wonder if he realizes his effect on other actors.”—Alec Baldwin

“I’ve thought, ‘What this guy has forgotten about the craft of acting is more than I’ve ever learned.’ But this book reveals he’s forgotten nothing. Wisdom and great stories from a true master of our trade.”—Edward Norton

“A deeply moving and inspiring story that transcends a traditional Hollywood memoir in both candor and grace. Bravo!”—Martin Sheen

“Filled with Hollywood moments and reflections on his craft, Keach’s memoir presents a poignant personal account of his acting insecurities, relationship struggles, and cocaine conflict.”—Publishers Weekly

Celebrating Nebraska’s six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, with a closer look at Nebraska cast member Stacy Keach, author of ALL IN ALL: An Actor’s Life On and Off the Stage, published by Lyons Press (978-0-7627-9145-3; $26.95 hardcover).

Beloved by millions for his portrayal of ’80s detective Mike Hammer and Sargent Stadanko in the Cheech & Chong films, award-winning actor Stacy Keach is revered by industry insiders as a master of his craft… though he’s far too modest to ever tell you that himself. In ALL IN ALL, he offers readers an uncommonly candid look at the decisionsboth prescient and disastrousthat shaped his career, and provides new perspective on some of the bold-face names who shared a part of his path along the way.

In 1969, Stacy Keach was fired from Catch-22 by Mike Nichols after three days on set. Nearly suicidal with disappointment, he returned to his first love, the theater, and within six months had earned a Tony nomination for his portrayal of Buffalo Bill in Indians. It was one of many occasions Stacy would have to rebound from disaster to new heights.

The hard knocks and redemption, perseverance and dedication to craft that fill the pages of All in All make it a must-read for fans of theater and film, aspiring actors, and anyone interested in the heartbreak and triumph that comes from defining success on your own terms.

Though Keach went on to find commercial success as star of the hit TV series Mike Hammer and cult icon status as Sgt. Stedenko in the Cheech & Chong movies, he is the first to admit, with humor and grace, that he’s made his share of flops as well. In his own words: “Big stars get to be choosy; the rest of us get out there and hustle…in most cases I enjoyed the role I was playing, and I learned something about myself in the process.”

He also accumulated a treasure trove of memory and experience. Keach’s stories about backgammon showdowns with John Huston and his passionate relationship with Judy Collins are more than mere surface anecdote. When he talks about working with giants of American culture like Joseph Papp, George C. Scott, James Earl Jones and Oliver Stone, he gives readers a deeper understanding of each person.

As his memoir unfolds, we also see Keach come to a deeper understanding of himself. The opening scene shows the actor falling from the height of fame and fortune as star of a hit TV show to the depths of ignominy, a cocaine addict sentenced to six months in prison. He is startlingly honest about how true love and his time in prison saved him from himself.

Like Christopher Plummer and Sidney Poitier, Keach is an “actor’s actor” who has earned the respect and intimacy of his colleagues over a long career. His remembrances and reflections are a contribution to America’s cultural history, and his personal story shows what it takes for an actor to find his way – both professionally and personally – in a fickle business. The concluding “Curtain Call” offers practical advice to young actors, including lessons learned and workshop notes on Stacy’s own portrayal of five major Shakespearean roles.

Stacy Keach (Jr.) has won a Golden Globe and multiple Obie and Drama Desk Awards, and been nominated for Emmy and Tony Awards. His films include Nebraska (nominated for six Academy Awards), The Long Riders, American History X, and The Bourne Legacy. TV credits include Mike Hammer and Titus. He narrates CNBC’s American Greed. Mr. Keach is playing Falstaff in Henry IV for the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

 

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