Literary Luminaries: Some Surprising and Successful Celebrity Authors

January 8, 2012  |  
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For many of our favorite celebrities, their talent doesn’t just extend to acting or singing, they’re also accomplished authors. Whether they’ve written novels, biographies or children’s stories, these celebrities have found a hidden talent in writing.

Check out these 9 authors that also happen to be some of our favorite actors, TV hosts, politicians and filmmakers.

1. Barack Obama: Of Thee I Sing; Dreams from My Father; The Audacity of Hope

Barack Obama has already established himself as a successful author of adult books with both his memoir “Dreams from My Father” and his political book “The Audacity of Hope” enjoying solid sales around the globe. In November 2010 however, the president makes the leap into the world of children’s books with “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.” Obama’s book for children is addressed to his daughters but dedicated to wife Michelle for her “fierce love and daily good sense” as a mother. Written by Obama before he took office in January 2009, the book celebrates an America “made up of people of every kind,” each bringing their different gifts to the mix.


2. Ellen DeGeneres: My Point… and I Do Have One & The Funny Thing Is

After a long career as a comedian and actress, Academy Awards host and TV talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres now enjoys a large loyal following of middle Americans and respecting colleagues, many of whom tune into her talk show Ellen everyday. Fans love DeGeneres for her quirky, self-deprecating sense of humor and her penchant for poking fun without being cruel. Her two books, My Point…and I Do Have One and The Funny Thing Is were written in 1995 and 2003 respectively, and mirror her signature comedy style. Readers will find jokes and commentary about the humor in everyday life, from parallel parking to the way we act in elevators.

3. Stephen Colbert: I Am America (And So Can You!)

On his TV show The Colbert Report, host and writer Stephen Colbert is a silly anchorman who points out the absurdity of the day’s news. But beyond the jokes, Colbert is an intelligent man who mixes political commentary with comedy. He has won four Emmy awards, as well as other awards for work on his own show and The Daily Show. Colbert is also a New York Times best-selling author, thanks to his overwhelmingly popular satire I Am America (And So Can You!)

4. Ethan Hawke: The Hottest State& Ash Wednesday

During the late 1980s and 1990s, actor Ethan Hawke was slated to be the next hottest thing in Hollywood after appearing in movies like Dead Poets Society, White Fang and Reality Bites. But while the dark, sensitive actor continued to work regularly, he wasn’t interested in being a high-profile movie star. Instead, Hawke chose smaller roles, returned to theatre work, and even wrote two novels: The Hottest State in 1997 and Ash Wednesday in 2002. Both were critically acclaimed successes.

5. Steve Martin: Shopgirl; The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z  and Late for School

Steve Martin has been a part of the entertainment industry since the 1960s, and a very public part since his appearances on TV with The Gong Show and Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. Now, Steve Martin continues to work regularly as a TV and film actor, awards show host, producer, musician and writer. Martin has written several screenplays and plays including 2001′s Shopgirl, which starred Claire Danes.  Martin’s also dibble dabbled in the world of children’s book with The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z and Late for School.

6. Hugh Laurie: The Gun Seller & The Paper Soldier

House star Hugh Laurie has won countless awards, including Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards, for his work on American TV, and he also enjoyed a successful career on stage, TV and in films in Great Britain. The talented actor also experimented with novel writing and even submitted the book The Gun Seller to a publisher anonymously. His agent convinced him to admit that he was the author to help with publicity for the book, a thriller about a retired Army officer propositioned to assassinate an American businessman. Laurie has also written another novel, The Paper Soldier, which is currently unavailable.

7. Martin Scorsese: Casino & Scorsese on Scorsese & A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies etc.

Film director Martin Scorsese is responsible for creating cinematic masterpieces like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, Casino and The Departed, as well as documentaries and several short films. The award-winning filmmaker has also written and compiled several books and collections about cinema history, directing and the entertainment industry. Additionally, books like Casino reveal the original story created before the movie version.  Aren’t the books always better anyways?

8. Quentin Tarantino: Grindhouse & Natural Born Killers & Inglorious Bastards

Another cutting-edge American director on our list is Quentin Tarantino, the creative genius behind movies like Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Reservoir Dogs and the Kill Bill series. Tarantino and his projects have cult followings and have enjoyed widespread commercial and critical success, making him one of the most influential artists of his time. Besides directing films, Tarantino has also written many of his screenplays and book or comic book versions of his movies, like Grindhouse, Natural Born Killers and Inglorious Bastards.

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