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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bio Hazard: Lowe Down

Posted by D.K. Holm on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

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For the past three years, the off-Broadway production Celebrity Autobiography has staged live readings and reenactments of celebrity memoirs. Passages from books by Suzanne Somers, Tommy Lee, Loni Anderson, and the Jonas Brothers are read by the likes of Craig Bierko, Rachel Dratch, Sharon Gless, and others; the point of the show, apparently, is to surprise audiences with the reality that celebrities really put all this shit into print.

It is unlikely that Rob Lowe's life story will fit into this template. Stories I Only Tell My Friends (Henry Holt and Co.) is an account so dull as to make drying paint yawn. Celebrity watchers might enjoy its cameos of the famous people Lowe has run into from time to time, from Cary Grant to Sting, and aspiring actors will glean lessons from his account of a typical Hollywood career. But Lowe's career is mostly interesting for its scandals, lightly treated here.

High points of Lowe's life include his big break in The Outsiders, fame as a brat packer, dating Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, and the success of The West Wing. Low points include dancing with Snow White at the 1989 Oscars, boning an underage girl during a Democratic convention, creating the first of the celebrity sex tapes, and litigation with family nannies. His ex-girlfriend's account is dishier: In her autobiography, Melissa Gilbert wrote about revenge fucking John Cusack after finding Lowe in the sack with Nastasia Kinski. Later he dumped her for Princess Stéphanie, but they got back together, with Lowe finally dumping her permanently when she became pregnant (she later miscarried). Lowe doesn't go into equal detail.

Insights include:

• Lowe pére was equally handsome and something of a ladies man, thus showing the tree not that far from the fallen apple.

• In Dayton as a 11-year-old, Lowe crashed Liza Minnelli's hotel room and talked to her for an hour. No, Lowe isn't gay.

• Lowe had his first French kiss at the age of 10 backstage at a school production of The Wizard of Oz.

• Lowe enjoyed his first fuck at Paradise Cove, Malibu, with an older girl, his little step-brother's 16-year-old babysitter.

• Because of his closeness to the Sheen family privately and professionally, he has inside scoops on Apocalypse Now, including learning about "Francis replacing Harvey Keitel supposedly because the actor bitched about not having a trail." Coppola seems trailer obsessed. On the set of The Outsiders, he blew up within Lowe's hearing over a trailer situation.

• Roman Polanski gave him advice on how to get laid in Paris.

• Lowe was almost collateral damage in a hit on Stéphanie's bodyguard.

• In the '80s, the actor used MTV music videos and CNN as an eHarmony catalog, which led to a date with Fawn Hall. Nevertheless, his life of drinking, drugs, and chicks makes him feel "empty."

• Lowe was on a flight that was a dry run for the 9/11 attacks.

The longest passages of Stories I Only Tell My Friends deal with The Outsiders and The West Wing. The anecdotes are occasionally interesting from a sociological or business angle, but there's a sense that Lowe isn't being as forthcoming as he could be, perhaps to protect his image for his family. Probably only a rebel like a rock star can be frank about what it's like to be famous and have access to drugs and sex; movie stars are too image conscious.

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