Actor Alec Baldwin, who turned 59 on Monday, is giving us a present for his birthday. Baldwin’s new memoir, “Nevertheless” (Harper, $28.99) — his second — hits bookstores Tuesday. The book traces Baldwin’s path from Greatwater Avenue in Massapequa to the set of “Saturday Night Live,” stopping to share his famously strong opinions along the way. Here’s a peek at what we learn.
The South Shore looks better in the snow. Baldwin grew up in cramped quarters on a down-at-the heels block. But in a blizzard, the rundown 9-hole public golf course across the street was transformed into a lovely, snowy plain with a crust like crème brûlée. He loves winter to this day.
Baldwin’s dad taught at Massapequa High for 28 years. The history teacher/coach/dance chaperon was completely devoted to his career — resulting in a large key ring and a slim wallet. When the family of eight went to Jones Beach, they stopped at the public showers in Marjorie Post Park on the way home to save money.
He was Xander before he was Alec, and he almost became a priest. The oldest son of an oldest son in an Irish Catholic family is often pegged for the priesthood, and young Alexander Rae Baldwin III considered it. But “one look at Miss Cebu, who taught sixth grade at Unqua Elementary” convinced him celibacy was not his path. “Xander” was ditched when he got his first TV role at 22, on a soap called “The Doctors.”
Baldwin has been sober for more than 30 years. Though Baldwin attributes some early mistakes to alcohol and cocaine abuse, by the time the really big scandals came around — the infamous 2007 voicemail left for his daughter, the 2012 attack on a Daily News photographer — he wasn’t drunk or high. Just very, very angry.
He loves his daughter, Ireland. And mentions it every chance he gets. Probably because of that voicemail thing.
Donald Trump has been his redemption. After ongoing missteps and outbursts caused Baldwin to be vilified in the media as a racist and a homophobe, redemption arrived from an unexpected quarter — his portrayal of Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” “The ‘SNL’ Trump sketches prompted people to approach me, thank me, and beseech me to ‘keep going’ more than any other portrayal or piece I have ever performed,” he says. “It was ironic to say the least.”
He doesn’t like many other actors. “I have never had many actors as friends,” Baldwin admits. This won’t surprise you after you read his comments on, say, Harrison Ford, who took over the Jack Ryan franchise after Baldwin starred in “The Hunt for Red October” (1990). Ford is “a little man, short, scrawny,” whose “voice sounds like it’s coming from behind a door,” Baldwin writes. Those colleagues who have made the cut are itemized in a four-page “Actors Index” at the back of the book.