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A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father cast him in a United Way commercial. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny, until one day his father disappeared. Destiny suddenly took a backseat to survival.
Now, in his riveting memoir, Cranston maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life—paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He also gives an inspiring account of how he prepared, physically and mentally, for the challenging role of President Lyndon Johnson, a tour de force that won him a Tony to go along with his four Emmys.
Of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most memorable performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.
Discussing his life as few men do, describing his art as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance. But ultimately A Life in Parts is a story about the joy, the necessity, and the transformative power of simple hard work.
About the Author
Bryan Cranston won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad. He holds the honor of being the first actor in a cable series, and the second lead actor in the history of the Emmy Awards, to receive three consecutive wins. In 2014 he won a Tony Award for his role as Lyndon Johnson in the bio-play All the Way. In film, Cranston received an Academy Award nomination for his leading role in Trumbo. Among his numerous television and film appearances, he was nominated for a Golden Globe and three Emmys for his portrayal of Hal in FOX’s Malcolm in the Middle. He is the author of A Life in Parts.
"Boy, you think you know a guy! I worked six solid years with Bryan Cranston and figured there weren’t any secrets left between us. All those hours I spent watching him wander the desert in his underpants? That alone should make me an expert on the man.
But now, along comes A Life In Parts – and suddenly I’m reading about a whole other Bryan, one who performs weddings in airplanes and camps out at mortuaries. This Bryan bathes in the blood of chickens and stuffs mackerels in air vents. He even accosts poor Alfred Hitchcock.
Yes, it’s all in here. Better still, there’s an exceedingly honest discussion of his craft, which will be a godsend to struggling thespians everywhere. Think your job waiting tables sucks? One of the world’s greatest actors had it worse (what with being under suspicion for murder and all).
I loved this book. It’s just the right mixture of funny, sad and heartfelt. If I’d known Bryan could tell stories this well, I would have had him writing episodes of Breaking Bad."--Vince Gilligan
“This splendid, moving, heartbreaking memoir is doubly triumphant. It regales and entertains while at the same time providing inspiration and practical wisdom. A truly gifted storyteller, Cranston captures the reader's imagination and emotions from beginning to end.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin
“Bryan Cranston has created a cinematic record of how an actor shapes a career and an identity and a legacy all at the same time.” –Tom Hanks
"The highs here—and there are many—are meth-less but addictive."--Kirkus Reviews
"[A] substantial memoir from one of Hollywood’s most introspective stars...anyone interested in acting will devour Cranston’s savvy advice about honing one’s craft and building one’s career."--Booklist
"By turns gritty,funny, and sad, this fiercely intelligent book from the Breaking Bad star defies celebrity memoir tropes."--Entertainment Weekly
"Cranston fuses his personal and professional life in a way that’s nothing short of riveting....an engrossing first-person account by one of our finest actors."--Huffington Post
"[A] must-read memoir."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"A literary cup that runneth over: A candid portrait of a great actor."--Newsday
"Deeply personal...the way in which Cranston's simple, staccato prose invites readers to empathize with every 'character' he's played elevates this autobiography to more than just a look behind the scenes--it's a look behind a life."--Publishers Weekly
"Genial...funny...a book about ambition and persistence."--The Washington Post
"[Cranston] traces his on- and off-screen life with witty, absorbing candor."--Denver Post
"Brilliant...[Cranston] has a knack for describing the ordinary in a way that makes it fascinating."--The Buffalo News
"Cranston delivers crisp stories about his onscreen performances in everything from daytime soaps to “Malcolm in the Middle” to his 2014 Tony-winning portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way.” But he also offers many chapters in which the “part” is his real-life experience as a farmhand, hypnotist, dating consultant or even a murder suspect."--Kansas City Star
“Cranston’s memoir is an illuminating window into the actor’s psyche, as he opens up about his time as Walter White on the show and the fine line he walked playing that character—while looking into himself.”—People
Fascinating...The candor and self-introspection of this book are reminiscent of another unflinchingly honest memoir, the late Katharine Graham’s magnificent 'Personal History.'"--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette