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Most of us are used to turning to our parents for help. But what happens when they need to rely on you? If you're John Lithgow, you take some time out from your acting career - and take stock of your own life.
John didn't just feel the normal obligations we have to our moms and dads for raising us; his parents' influence on his career was profound: His dad, Arthur, was a theatre director, and John practically grew up on stage. Family story time was a sacred tradition, and in fact, it was one of those golden stories, P.G. Wodehouse's 'Uncle Fred Flits By', that helped John nurse his dad back to health after recovering from surgery a few years back. And in the retelling, John wondered not just about the healing powers of imagination, but ultimately, what's life all about?
The journey led him to reminisce about the formative years of his own decades-long career - his first steps on stage as a child, his early theatre triumphs (like winning a Tony for 'The Changing Room'), his movie work, earning Oscar nods for roles in 'Terms of Endearment' and 'The World According to Garp'. It wasn't always encores and curtain calls, however: the nomadic existence of an actor took its toll on his first marriage (and oddly, Toronto would play a role in that break up).
Today, Lithgow's captured the experience, his life and his questions, in a memoir appropriately titled 'Drama: An Actor's Education'.