Sunday 9 November 2014

Book ~ "Singing to a Bulldog: Life Lessons a Fellow Janitor Taught Me: My Journey from Happy Days to Hollywood and Beyond" (2014) Anson Williams

From Goodreads ~ Growing up in 1950s California, young Anson William Heimlich showed very little promise. Clumsy, unsure of himself, and made to feel like a failure by his disappointed artist of a dad, Anson started working odd jobs as a teenager to help support his family. 

His boss at one of these jobs, an aging black janitor named Willie, unexpectedly became a mentor - and the lessons he taught young Anson proved to be invaluable throughout his subsequent career as an actor, director, and entrepreneur. 

 In "Singing to a Bulldog", Anson Williams (as he came to be known) relates both these lessons and the never-before-revealed stories of the many seminal TV series he has worked on through his 40 years in Hollywood, including:
  • being directed by Steven Spielberg in his first job as an “Equity” actor
  • pitching Garry Marshall on the idea of adding a band to Happy Days
  • getting kidnapped by the daughter of the president of the United States
  • mentoring Shailene Woodley on the set of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"

This entertaining and inspirational memoir has a cross-generational and broad appeal, combining all the fun of a celebrity memoir with the profound impact of a motivational bestseller. 

Like everyone in the mid-70s to mid-80s, I watched Happy Days ... this is the bio of Anson Williams, who played Potsie.

He starts each chapter telling a story of working with Willie, an old janitor, in a furniture store when he was in high school.  It is Willie who encouraged him and taught him him life lessons.

Anson's dream was to be an entertainer and he eventually landed the role of Potsie on Happy Days.  Once Happy Days ended in 1984, he focused more on directing (his directing credits include Melrose Place, Star Trek, Beverley Hills 90210, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Lizzie McGuire and The Secret Life of an American Teenager.  He also founded Starmaker Products, a cosmetics company.

I liked the writing style.  It's always interesting to read an insider's view.  It's written at a high level and doesn't get into a lot of details.  He doesn't reveal a lot of dirt and when he does, he doesn't name names.  He glowingly talks about people he's met and admired like Ron Howard, Frankie Valli, Elvis, Aaron Spelling and Brad Pitt.

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

This sounds awesome. I totally want to read this!